Friday, March 6, 2015


Katoomba Christian Conventions figure strongly in the experience of many Christian young adults. In my mid 20s I attended a few KCCs, where incidentally, I met one of my most enduring friends (30 years now). The Jensen boys were speaking at the first one I attended. I later attended the church where they served.

At that time the Convention was wonderful: the sheer numbers were impressive, about 5,000 were there, I think. There was a little of the herd feeling given the size, and a superficial uniformity that reached into 'serious' conversations. Even those could be superficial, but I did meet genuine people as well. It was almost cult-like in some respects. By 'superficial' I mean they conformed to an expected pattern, and the conversations were almost predictable. All except for the friend I'd met whose conversations were penetrating, critical and informed. What a relief.


I attended a Convention some years after this and discovered that my first impression had matured--at least the accommodation at The Grange was pleasant (before it belonged to Barker); memorably I met a young woman there who had just had surgery for a similar hand deformity to me! Thrilling! (Don't worry, its a bone growth that is not visible to you)--but I was now righter than before: even within broad evangelicalism, there was a lack of critical thinking through the Scriptures due to the dead hand of Calvinism, and while it was thought provoking in certain ways, it finally left me cold.

[I had a similar experience when I re-read something by Pannenberg that I'd read at L'Abri many years ago. It was of that time not of this one! Moltmann's work has a similar effect, although I do like some of his thinking.]

My most recent adventure at Katoomba was a men's convention I attended with others from St Swithun's, a church that wife and I really felt a part of but had to leave to better accommodate the needs of young children.

A group of young women was prowling with a video camera between sessions, in fact after a session when the speaker had been telling some very unfortunate jokes, the butt of which was women! The jokes were dreadful, and I wrote to the organisers to complain. [The speaker later divulged a past 'problem' with pornography...its doleful effect distorting his view of women was clearly enduring.]

The youngsters were asking what I thought of the convention. I told them I didn't think much of it because I found it objectionable that the church split along sex lines and I found the jokes in the previous session to be simply bad; very bad. Oddly, my comments weren't shown on the big screen! Typical.

I've not been back.

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