There is No Green Room at Hutchmoot

*please forgive all of the botched paraphrased quotes, I did my best to catch the essence.

After Hutchmoot 2012: Day 3

If New York is the place where everyone is really an actor, and just a waiter “on the side”, then Nashville is the town where every other person is a graphic designer, but what they really want to do is play music professionally.  By this I mean that it’s a city of ambition.

One would think that if one attended a conference with musicians, songwriters, and authors, in Nashville, it would be one big schmooze fest of making contacts and getting oneself noticed.  (I’ll admit, I wouldn’t have minded getting noticed.)

When I came here I introduced myself by my professional name, but by day two I found myself introducing myself as Matt.  I realized I was not making business contacts, I was making friends.  When N.D Wilson introduces himself here he introduces himself as Nate, Andrew is AP and, Pete (the Moot Master) is just Pete.”  These are the words of one Rabbit on the last day of Hutchmoot and they’re a great introduction to the atmosphere of this gathering.

“There is no backstage, we’re all out here together,” declared Andrew Peterson and his description was not just a pretense of humility.  All of the musicians and writers were standing around in the general hubbub and there was no special table for Charlie Peacock or Steve Talyor, director of the recent film Blue Like Jazz.  Is this possible in Nashville, where every artist has a clause for the kind of drink or furniture he wants in the green room?  There is no green room at Hutchmoot.

In the same way that Jesus knelt down to wash the dust and grime for His weary disciples’ feet, I saw the leaders of Hutchmoot serving the guests.

I want some water,” I said to my husband, getting ready to look for a cup of refreshment. Pete, who is not just a Head Rabbit but also the author of two outstanding books, apparated from somewhere to the space beside me and asked, “You need water?”  How had he gotten there and why was he concerned for my needs out of the other 180 attendees?  I tried to reassure him that, yes, I did indeed need water, but that, no, I did not need him to retrieve the beverage for me.  He pointed me toward three locations where fresh water was available, then apparated to the bathroom to refill the toilet paper.

Didn’t these leaders find their self-worth in the artistry of their books, songs, and films? Weren’t we supposed to lift them up and remember that we humbly come with nothing but hearts to learn from their wisdom of the ages?

In session after session I received this heart-probing message,”Go use your skills, but don’t define your worth by what you do.”

In the theater session, a profession that begs for praise and adulation, Stephen Trafton reminded the room, “Your worth and identity come from God and will never come from anything you make or create.”

And in Phil Vischer’s testimony of broken dreams he quoted C.S. Lewis, “He who has God plus many things has no more than he who has God alone.”

The capital “R” rabbits were also quick to share their weaknesses.

In my first session, one of the pastors confessed readily that he struggles with the longing to boost up his vanity at every Hutchmoot as the other staff have books and cd’s to show on the tables but he doesn’t. “I don’t mean I used to struggle with this, I mean this morning, about 4 hours ago, I struggled with it.”

One musician shared openly about the many dark places of his depression, and  all around I heard men and women release their breath as they realized they didn’t have to hide the mess in their lives to be accepted or prove their artistic significance in order to start using their gifts.

This is a new kind of community, or maybe, a very old one.


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