Everyone wants to be in the in crowd.
First there is the natural desire to belong, to be included, and to be wanted. There are also perceptions of power and position associated with various groups.
I have noticed a similar pattern of reactions with emerging/missional conferences and events. First there is the reported excitement and camaraderie of those who were able to attend. This is often followed by criticism or comments by others about the resulting dynamic of the group.
Too young and hip.
Too old and boring.
I have mixed feelings about conferences and events. On the social side of things I would enjoy getting to meet others on this journey. However I still feel hesitant about the idea that conferences will define and shape the movement, that it will become centralized around a few dominant voices.
At what point do conferences and events, by nature, add to the perception of who is in and who is important in the conversation? Are we still attempting to gather around the experts? Is there a presumption that those gathered will become the voice for the many?
I am referring to conferences in general. At what point do we go from gathering to learn, support, and encourage to reverting to old, familiar power structures?
I know that many of my own feelings and reactions have less to do with gender, which I believe is a valid reaction also, and more to do with my aversion to hierarchy and the centralizing of movements.
To be honest, I don't know how I feel about the whole thing, conferences themselves and the reactions to them.
That's where you come in. Tell me what you think.