I have been patiently waiting for people to update their mind pages regarding the All-Campus Retreat but no one has, so I publically demand David Hong, Henry Hsu, George Chong, and Andrew Wong to update your thoughts on this.
Thanks Dave for updating. It’s now 2:50 AM and I have a presentation to do tomorrow, so what better time to update my mind?
I think it is only proper and fitting that I talk about the All Campus Retreat, as it’s a duty of us to share blessings with others. And I was really blessed. I mean, it was really awesome. I think everyone that went would say this, and it really, really was. For some odd reason though, in person, I don’t like talking about it. I just say it was awesome and leave it at that. But I can talk about it here. I think it’s because in person my feelings are mixed with bitterness, but I’ll talk about that later.
First off this may be inappropriate, but I want to give credit where credit is due and thank Paul Lee for this weekend, because his spirit of servanthood this weekend was astounding. I made the bold claim (ooh, shades of Mark Wang) that Paul Lee did the most service this weekend at the retreat than anyone else. If not, he was top three. Anyway, Paul is the rock on which I stand. He seriously did everything this weekend, setting up, mixing, taking care of much logistics, and putting up with my weaknesses, no small task. If the worship did minister to people, Paul contributed a great deal in every way. So props to you, Paul. Thanks, bro.
Anyway, the retreat was awesome. There are many things I could talk about, it’s hard to choose one. First, let me say the grace of God was evident this weekend. I suppose most of my faithful readers didn’t have access to the things happening in the background, but it’s amazing that this retreat actually came together at all. The way it was organized; well let’s say it wasn’t. My opinion is that one of the worst concepts to enter this campus is that of the “facilitator.” It just means not taking responsibility, and things get done more painfully. Anyway, at one early planning meeting, I remember it was tense, like who’s in charge, then one person finally said I guess I’ll facilitate, and that says a lot about how the retreat was planned. Anyway, no one was really in charge, just different responsibilities were parceled out to different people, and they were pretty much left to do their own thing. For example, the worship team was by and large left to do whatever, and didn’t really know what was going on with the rest of everyone else (until like really soon before it happened). So there was definitely a lack of communication. I know for a fact that very few people really knew what was going on with Worship Team (by the way, if I ever refer to Worship Team as ‘Wo Team,’ kick me in the butt), and we sure as heck didn’t know what was going on with other people. So like we got there, and I was scared out of my mind that things weren’t going to fall together, because the MCs didn’t know what was exactly going to happen because they weren’t in charge, the people in charge of certain things didn’t know what the MCs were expecting, and how the worship team fit into all of this was also a mystery. I had a lot of fear going into the retreat.
But you know what? It all worked out really well. I mean, as well as could be hoped for, and much better than (at least I) expected. And I can’t trace that smoothness to anything except the grace of God. I hope that people who didn’t realize this didn’t think that it was smoother than it should have been, because they saw from the first that things went well. But that it did was a blessing for me, as it was a manifestation of the grace of God.
One of the joys of my life was seeing John Yoon after I woke up in the morning and was heading to the bathroom. What I mean is, it was just a great feeling being on retreat with these people, just hanging out together. I spent a great deal not talking to people but watching people and it was awesome seeing the people that were there. Like John Yoon, Jenny Huang, the Donner Party, my frosh small group, and all these people that I really do like but never get the chance to fellowship with. That we were all together in this place was just amazing. I mean, it was just a good feeling being there together. Because we are one body, whether we like it or not. So we are unified, whether we like it or not, and if the unity of the body is never on your mind, that’s sin.
Leading worship at the retreat was an experience I shall not soon forget. First of all, I think the team really had a good time together. I mean, everyone, when we got back, said how much fun it was hanging out together. People actually enjoyed being around Henry! The power of God! Seriously, Michele Chung said even if she didn’t meet a single new person at the retreat, she would have been glad to have gotten to get to know Henry Hsu. That girl needs to get some friends. But seriously, we had a good time.
One of the greatest blessings of leading worship is that you get to watch the body of Christ worship. And this is a really cool things. I feel a little uncomfortable naming names, but there were specific people that I watched that particularly encouraged me. Paul Taylor was almost constantly looking around and smiling. I liked watching the Lawry’s worship together. And especially watching the Wilkes’ worship. They just totally get into it, and it’s really cool to see.
I’m not really sensitive to the Spirit, but I really felt like there was a special spirit as we worshipped together at the retreat. I mean, there was just something really special about it. I know I give this “freedom in worship” schpiel a lot but I really did feel this sense of freedom as we worshipped together over the weekend. Just a lot of freedom, like a sense that people were really giving over their hearts in worship. I think Pastor Wilkes sensed it too, and commented on it. But it was awesome.
I feel bad mentioning this because I don’t want people to think they missed out or anything, but perhaps the best time was at the campfire. I’m a dork, right? so I had to sing a couple of goofy songs there so we sing “Making Melodies In My Heart” with all the dorky Thumbs Up, Elbows Out body motions, and “Deep, Deep” with all the “Do you love your Jesus” stuff. I just wish everyone could have been watching from the stage with me, because people were seriously getting into it. Making Melodies was just great, seeing all these different types of people doing lame body motions together. It was great stuff. You had to see it to understand. But people were really really into it. Very cool.
The campfire was good too, although very cold, and at the end we all sang, Come by here my Lord, come by here, and then people would shout out verses to sing. Like “Someone’s hurting Lord, come by here.” This went on for a while. It gradually morphed to “You are here.” One of the highlights for me was when Mark Wang yelled something out. I forgot what it was, but I could tell he meant it, and that deeply touched me. It really did.
Another side note – we really sang a lot over the weekend. At the end, I was exhausted and was almost like, I don’t want to sing anymore. Because it’s stressful choosing on the fly songs that you hope most people know, because there are just so many considerations and stuff, like theme, but commonality, and other stuff. It gets tiring. But it worked out ok.
Anyway, at the end of the campfire, Tim says, that’s it, but people seem unsure, and are just kind of milling around, so I figure it would be good to sing a song and then signal that’s it’s over. So I sing I Give Thanks, and people are really really into it. That was another memory I won’t soon forget. Maybe this has to do with my insecurities as a worship leader, but it makes me feel good when I see people get into things. And people were totally into it, almost going crazy, dancing, and really being into things. I finish, and people don’t want to leave, and it’s tense because people are yelling things like encore, which is not comfortable, so I decide to sing one more song. We end up singing an Arise / Show Your Power medley, and people were just crazy. I wish you could have seen it. The sight of all these different people really worshipping (I hope) together with a real sense of fellowship was one of the greatest feelings of my life, and that’s not just a Kisoo-esque hyperbole. As a worship leader, I think the best thing you can experience is the people of God truly worshipping as one, and I think that’s kind of what happened that night. Truly incredible.
People still didn’t want to leave. If you were there, let me explain why I stopped; I wanted to be sensitive to the programming and other people. If I kept going, I thought people who kind of wanted to leave would feel like they had to stay, and it was getting late and I didn’t want people to miss the morning stuff, so I stopped it so that it wasn’t officially still going on, and I figured people could individually stay if they wanted to. Well that was my reasoning.
Another aspect of worship that pleased me was the ability of people to pick up on new songs. I think many songs were new to people, including I Rejoice In Your Love, Your Beloved, Celebrate Jesus, Here Am I, Power of Your Love, and others. But it went pretty well. That made me happy.
I just came away from the retreat very happy that I had been given the opportunity to fellowship with the people there and convicted that the Christian life necessarily calls us to have a deep concern for others, both the body at large and the world. One cool thing was just this feeling of connectedness that everyone shared, I think. Not that we all knew each other but that we were all somehow connected. At the last service, they had all the seniors come to the front and then everyone else prayed for them. And that was kind of cool too. Just a feeling that our class is connected to the younger classes. A cool feeling.
I really got a great deal from Pastor Wilkes’ sermons. I love the British accent. The sermons I’ve heard recently from people with British accents have all moved me. Like Oz Guinness and the Music and Truth Veritas guy. I took a lot of notes but I think I have to go over them before I can really say what I feel about it. But I was especially attracted to his spirit. He just seemed like a cool humble guy to me. Maybe it’s just me. But his whole character, down to the way he stood and worshipped and dressed, was just cool. Good stuff.
Also it was good to be with white people. I really do mean this.
It was interesting also the perspective of a Cornerstone guy I met. I get this sense like some Christian groups on campus feel like we’re kind of marginalizing Cornerstone. I think from the inside, they worry (well at least some of them) that they’re isolating themselves. This was just an interesting perspective to me.
Unfortunately, now I have to switch to my negative mode. So if you want to avoid judgmentalism, switch off now and leave. I mean it. Consider carefully before you read on, gentle reader.
One thing I realized about unity is that it’s less something that needs to be built and more something that needs to be affirmed. Meaning, as Christians, we already are unified in Christ, and building the body really means affirming that unity we already have. As such, I hate to say it, but I was terribly discouraged by people who did not go to the retreat. Because we are one in Christ, and these people (you?) are part of the body, and at least in my mind, the absence was noticeable and saddening. In fact, I’m kind of angry at people who didn’t go, not because they were busy, because this is more than legit, but because they didn’t even think about it. Or didn’t even care. This really really makes me angry, and this is kind of a stumbling block for me right now. I heard the standard line, that you know, we’re seniors, and the theme of unity doesn’t seem relevant for me right now. What a bunch of baloney. Can’t you see that the retreat was in part an affirmation, a recognition of the unity we have in addition to an attempt to build it? I was especially disappointed because many of these were my friends. And I was excited about the retreat because it was a chance (finally) to fellowship with friends, part of the body that I didn’t normally get to fellowship with. It’s like at Stanford, freshman year we all acknowledged that we were a body and fellowshipped together, and then suddenly we decided that the body was only our campus fellowship group. I would think that we would all be excited by the opportunity to fellowship again. But I discovered that people really don’t care. Even to a large extent those who are leaders in their fellowships. It just shocked me that people weren’t as excited as others. And quite frankly, deeply disappointed and discouraged me. I’m a little bitter about it. Ack, last night I read a passage on forgiveness but this is holding me back. Pray for me.
Let me interject here that I have a lot of respect for Campus Crusade / Great Commission Movement. First of all, because those people there are really a bunch of quality people. And secondly, because the people there seem to care more than any other fellowship on campus about the body at Stanford and the campus as a whole. I mean, their emphasis on outreach is amazing. And at every Christian unity activity there is, the members of CCC/GCM are always actively participating. The retreat was no exception, and I was blessed by that. What a great group.
Anyway, a lot of my friends just didn’t care, and I am really really deeply discouraged by that. I’ve been thinking a lot lately and it’s astounding how many of my friends don’t really seem to care a lot about other people in general. In specific cases, yeah they do, but a lot of times, they could care less about people in general. What I’m going to say here is a little dangerous. But I don’t know how much I can really be friends with people that don’t care at all. It’s just too discouraging for me. And it doesn’t encourage me with my own not caring tendencies, which are admittedly high. And I need to care for others. And be encouraged to. Anyway, some of my “friends” are staying next year, and I’ve been thinking, and I won’t be too surprised if who my friends are next year are decidedly different than who they are this year. Because I refuse to be a grad student who just lives in his own sphere of friends and has his comfortable little world. I will care about my fellowship (and I do feel an ownership for it) and hopefully more. Speaking of which, I have a lot of hope for FiCS. Stick around; it will be good. Because God is good. Anyway, I’m tired of my friends. We will always be friends of course, and hang out and stuff. But there are these fundamental issues of what we care about and what motivates us and what is on our minds that I think will keep us from really being deep friends. As I see it, I have almost 2 tiers in friendships, which is kind of weird. On one tier, there are my friends who I hang out with. And not that we’re totally superficial, but I do think that most of the time it’s superficial, and that’s the basis of most of our friendship – hanging out. Mostly that and less more. Then there are my other friends, who I consider pretty deep friends, that ironically I rarely hang out with. But I feel like fundamentally we feel the same way, and when we talk it’s good, and that’s what makes us deep friends, not because we hang out, because we don’t. But I’m cool with that. And hopefully the reasons that we don’t hang out are the same. It’s bad when we do because we’re too similar and that closes us off from people which is bad. Anyway, it’s a weird situation. Note that the above all deals with males, because no matter what Dave thinks, I do believe that guys and girls can’t be friends. Me and the females I talk to are something, but it’s not truly friendship.
I am especially discouraged by people who were going to come and didn’t. Again, I know there are people (I am thinking of a few people specificallly) who did this and had legit reasons for doing it, and I am explicitly not talking about you. But the others, that just really sucks. There’s a parable in the Bible about a guy who asks two people to work or something like that. One says he will and the other says he won’t. But then both change their minds, and the first ends up not going and the second ends up going. Jesus asks which is the better man. Ouch.
Anyway, just don’t get frustrated if you’re not experiencing spiritual growth, because it’s not like God is not presenting opportunities for you. It’s there, you just either out of laziness or apathy ignore it. Anyway, I just can’t understand why you would repeatedly back out of things God gives to you. It’s like you refuse to grow. Just don’t be confused at why your spiritual life may be stagnant. You refuse to grow.
And I apologize if this is discouraging, but I’m just plain angry at those people who just didn’t feel like going or it wasn’t on their hearts. It’s just really lame. I mean, at least be able to give me a coherent reason for not going besides I don’t feel like it or I didn’t even think about it. Even the money thing is a better excuse than that. Especially the seniors. Way to set an example. But hey, if you don’t care, you don’t care. It’s just that God will move on this campus. It is a certainty because people are praying, and God will be faithful to those prayers. And you will find that there is revival on this campus, and you won’t be part of it, because you’ve closed yourself off to the body at large and the campus in general, content to be with your own little ministry. I just don’t want you to get left out.
That all was way too negative, huh? Maybe I approached it wrong. I just wish everyone I knew could share this heart for others, because the blessings are great. And I came from the retreat feeling like God is really going to do a great work at Stanford, and I want everyone to participate. And the senior class is on my heart because I really feel like the beginnings have been built on stuff that happened with us. Like the unity thing; I truly feel like it was built on stuff that happened with our class. Read Dave Hong’s thoughts. That we were all in IV frosh year (sans Jenny and Andrew) is no mistake, and there is work being built on this. Other stuff too. I feel like God is building on the stuff we (maybe unwittingly) did, and it’s just sad that now many of us don’t care about seeing the fruits of it. But it will happen. Take heart! God is moving at Stanford! Love your neighbor! Pray!
In fact, I am encouraged by the progress we’ve made since freshman year. My claim is that there is a lot more interfellowship communication than there was frosh year. I am encouraged deeply by RPGs, by the people with a passion for it, and seeing how it is succeeding in various degrees where previous attempts while we were here failed. We have a Unity in Christ group where none existed before. That’s encouraging. We had the first Interfellowship Retreat in 15 years. That’s amazing. And there are people that care about it all, and that’s also encouraging. You would have to be blind or deeply cynical to say that God is not beginning His work. So be aware what’s going on! Care about the rest of the body because that’s how you’ll see how God is moving at Stanford! It’s cool stuff!
I love the stream of consciousness of my thoughts. It’s great stuff.
Dave is right, by the way. MemChu is a terrible place to have All Campus Praise. I have thought for a while now that it should be somewhere like Cubberley or Dink, if we could fill it, or the largest place we could fill. This is just from a logistical perspective. I know cost among other things are a consideration, but that’s my $0.02.
It was weird that the worship team for Easter Sunrise Service was all white, and the team for ACR all yellow. I wonder how that happened.
I actually think I learned a lot about worship this weekend. One was really encouraging, that I can’t manipulate people emotionally as well as I think. I mean, regarding worship, I have done it long enough to know there are certain tricks you can do that make people get into it more emotionally. It’s always been a struggle for me, and I won’t get into that in detail, but I eventually decided emotions are a gift from God, and can lead to genuine repentance so it’s not to be avoided, although it still bothers me. Anyway, I sometimes feel like I can pick whole sets that are primed to get people emotionally in it. Which is almost scary. But I was encouraged because there was little relationship between what I felt was the emotional power of the set and the actual spirit of the body as I felt it. There were certain sets I thought were really great that were just OK when we did them, and sometimes people got really into things I didn’t anticipate, and certainly didn’t plan for. This was encouraging, seeing that people are moved by the Spirit and not by my emotional tricks I know. If this doesn’t make sense to people, suffice it to say that it’s encouraging when you see the Spirit move independently of your works.