Faith and Culture Writer’s Conference 2013


My heart is full. Grateful and encouraged. Challenged and motivated in a new way. The world needs my unique voice. I can’t believe I just wrote that. Because until this weekend, I didn’t truly believe it. Fear of failure, fear of unabashed authenticity, and the cloying suspicion that I am a fraud lingering on the fringes of the real writing community have been running a protection racket on my heart, promising that if I keep my writing safe and neutrally palatable, they won’t let any critic hurt me.

The Faith and Culture Writers Conference, held at Multnomah University, let open the flood gates this weekend, washing away those inhibitions.

It was filmmaker Dan Merchant who said, “Be fearless, tireless, excellent: opportunities are created, access is possible.”

So, when Wm. Paul Young, author of The Shack gave me that genuine, godly hug, the stranglehold of doubt began to lose its potency (more on that in a moment).

When Ken Wytsma took a moment to share a greeting and discuss his book, Pursuing Justice, I remembered that I can be part of the larger conversation.

When the many volunteers, leaders, speakers and fellow attendees of the conference showed me kindness, it made me feel like part of a much larger, diverse family.

The general session presentations by Wm Paul Young, Ken Wytsma, Paul Louis Metzger, Phil Long, Brian Doyle, and Dan Merchant were amazing.

The worship was genuine and uplifting. That is, it was about God, and taking us into God’s presence.

The three workshops I attended were practical and insightful. Thank you Cornelia Seigneur, Jenni Burke, and Matt Mikalatos.

My very brief mentoring appointment with Ana Brors opened up a world of possibilities.

And when Cornelia Seigneur invited me to enjoy lunch with her beautiful family, well, that spoke volumes.

I promised I would return to my encounter with Wm Paul Young. After our hug, I told him I had a confession to make. “I’ve not read your book. I’m probably the only person on the planet not to do so…” He just shrugged and grinned as if to say that’s okay. I then added, “It’s one thing to hear second hand from people who have formed assumptions about you from their reading of the book or reviews of it. It’s quite another to meet you in person and hear your heart, and experience your genuine care.”

And that’s the essence of what I’m taking from this conference. Is there room for improvement? Of course. The biggest need for improvement is your participation next year.

Are you in? Let’s talk…


10 thoughts on “Faith and Culture Writer’s Conference 2013

  1. You and I had similar experiences at this conference. :)
    I have not read The Shack either… but Paul Young changed my life this weekend (more on that in my own post tomorrow). He gives the best hugs, doesn’t he? Like you’ve been friends forever.

    Would have been a pleasure to have connected with you, Glen. Perhaps our paths will cross another time. :)

  2. Leanne,

    I agree! It’s hard to put into words the experience of meeting him. All i can say is he is the real deal.

    I sincerely hope we can connect down the road. I will be keeping an eye on your blog to read your insights. Thanks so much for dropping by mine. It means a lot to me.

    Praying for you as you process your experiences and discern God’s way forward for you!

  3. Glen- You followed right up to write this blog as you said you would! Thank you so much. I am encouraged by your words here- It means a lot after working for months on a conference to hear such specific feedback! This is what it is all about. The connections, the inspiration. The movement of God! I love your genuine heart- stay connected- thanks for joining us and for writing- until next time- blessings, cornelia

  4. Cornelia,

    Thank YOU for being such a wonderfully gracious and hospitable conference leader, host, and speaker. Based on what I’ve been reading on twitter, many lives were powerfully impacted. It’s one thing to go to a conference to learn writing and publishing insights and techniques. It’s another thing to have God show up in the midst of the conversations, and in fact set the tone for them.

    For those reasons and others, I’m an enthusiastic supporter of next year’s conference. And yes, I do plan to stay connected! :)

  5. I got to witness that hug with Wm Paul Young! So glad to have met you, Glen, and look forward to reading more of writing! Thank you for the friendly Portland welcome!

    Melissa Otterbein

  6. The privilege was mine, Melissa! Thank you for the gracious conversation. I’m glad I had the opportunity to represent for Portland. :) Drop by my blog anytime. And keep following hard after Jesus. I look forward to learning from you as you continue your writing journey. Keep following the dream. God will open up awesome opportunities for you as you continue to put yourself out there.

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