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I am not at all surprised that students were receptive to your ideas and comments. I think you may have encountered your own stereotype of "conservative" or "evangelical". Its a much bigger umbrella than conservative political mouthpieces would have you believe. I know when I worked in the U.K. I was fascinated to see how the media portrayed our (U.S.) politics and religion. As is often the case it was more of a caricature of reality than anything else.

Fair enough Matt, only thing I'd say is it was not my stereotypes (I come from a Conservative Evangelical background so am aware of the breadth of understanding), it was more to do with what I had been told to expect by Texas folk and representatives of the College - as the event was advertised along the lines of "come to meet some emerging church leaders", perhaps the most 'conservative'/'fundamentalist' folk stayed away... BTW what I heard from Americans whilst there was not radically different to the way the Evangelical Church is portrayed in our media, and the vitriol that a number of those I met had recieved (and in some cases still recieving years after the fact) from their former peers and colleauges did nothing to reassure me that it was just media exageration. One caviat might be that Texas is more 'Conservative' than most states?

Just got off the phone with one of the folks in the crowd at HBU. He was thanking me for bringing you guys in to open up his world. Miss you much and am grateful you've already posted so much. Brad, Shannon, Jeff and I are trying to work on notes today. Wish you were here!!!!!

P.S. Sorry you had to see an Aggie loss. But the tailgate should have provided enough libation for solace . . . or else it wasn't a proper tailgate.

o.k. point well taken Mark. You are right regarding the demographic issue. The most conservative probably did stay away. Texas is as the Texans say, "God's own country". I confess that most of my evangelical forays were in California which is an odd bird in terms of its progressiveness. There is a great deal here that would fly amongst "evangelicals" that would not fly in Texas. I am just always blown away that when my stereotypes (or those provided to me)and hypotheticals meet actual people they quickly become caricatures of reality rather than the things themselves. But, now that I think on it you probably were right to be surprised. I am glad it turned out so well. I hope that there were a good deal more folks who were silently cheering or were at the very least, intrigued and challenged. A dynamic theology rather than a static one is always healthy.

Matt, many thanks mate... and yes, you are right many of my stereotypes/presumptions were blown away... not in regard of the Church, but simply the people... I do tend toward a negative view/image of the US... and here I was in Redneck country, playing poker with some of the reddest necks around... and I loved them! The hospitality was incredible, the welcome beyond belief... I found myself almost hoping that they never came to the UK because there is no way that the general openess and warmth we recieved would be replicated by the general population!

Thanks Karen... you have no idea how hard it was to leave what feels like a new family!

Thanks Mark, for your post and comments. To be honest, I certainly think there would have been plenty of opportunity to receive a different kind of reception. The people with whom we spent most of our time (those already interested in the ideas of those in emerging churches and students) are going to be more open than others. I would also say that Houston in general and UBA in particular provides a context for very open conversation which you would certainly not find in much of the state. Just come with me for a ride in East Texas, mate. :-) It's all about context, isn't it.

Hi Mark

Really appreciated the reports from Houston and the interview with Ken Shuman of Wellspring. It's so good to hear stories which resonate - strong grace to them! The most radical things God is doing with me are the most 'ordinary'. And it's good to have you back - hope to see you this weekend?

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