John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

Catalyst Conference Update

So, the Catalyst Conference got into full swing today. Here's my take: Andy Stanley is so consistently good. At a conference like this, he's like watching Barry Bonds take batting practice. Without all the steriods and terrible attitude.

Louie Giglio has one message: God is so big, and we are so small. That's it. Change the title. Change the Bible verses. Change his shirt. It's always the same message. But it's always fun to listen to.

Don Miller was better than I thought he would be. Still, it was a rambling and scattered mess. He's better in person than his books. He even managed to reference The Divine Conspiracy, which I think is one of the best books ever written on spiritual formation. He gained points for doing that.

Lanny Donoho and Reggie Joiner were...well...they were Lanny and Reggie. They're like an old married couple.

The band opened with "Fix You" by Colplay. They were great as usual, but the acoustics in the room aren't very good. Strange hums and buzzes abound. Still, that band can play just about anything. And they did.

The musical highlight had to be the set-up for Donald Miller. He wrote the book Blue Like Jazz, and the production team went with that as their theme. The session opened with "All Blues" from the album Kind of Blue by Miles Davis (the greatest jazz recording of all time). Then they showed a Nooma video featuring Rob Bell. After that, my friend Jen Carrozza came out with her band and did a couple of standards -- one jazz and one blues -- complimented by an incredible tenor saxophonist. Anybody get that guy's name?

Oh, and then Jeff McBride blew the roof off the place with a crazy, fall-on-the-floor rendition of "Georgia On My Mind". It was so good that no one noticed he didn't get any of the words right. Like Lanny said, "I don't know if that was jazz or blues; it was just darn good."

The capper was when they showed us the trailer to the upcoming movie Narnia. They showed the theatrical trailer. They showed the behind-the-scenes thing that's been playing a few places. And then they showed us footage that has never been seen before. Stuff that came directly from Disney's studio overnight -- literally. Someone convinced them to release unfinished footage, got on a plane with a dvd and arrived at Catalyst with it this morning.

The footage looks really good, and I'm not one to gush over movies. This looks like the real deal -- it looks every bit as good as Lord of the Rings. Not being a fantasy guy, The Chronicles of Narnia is actually among my least favorite writings of C.S. Lewis. I much prefer The Great Divorce or The Abolition of Man or even The Screwtape Letters. Still, I got kind of excited about seeing this movie.

So, there's my Catalyst Update. I'm on a plane first thing in the morning for Michigan City, Indiana. The high temperature there will be 57 tomorrow. The low over the weekend is supposed to be 38!

Once I get there, I'll tell you how people decided which books got into the New Testament and which ones didn't.