In the weeks leading up to Hutchmoot 2012, I grew tired of answering the perennial question, "What's a Hutch Moose?" One of my Facebook friends said an acquaintance of hers had called it a "Hooch Mooch," which I guess would be worse than a Hutch Moose. But not quite as bad as "That Hoochy Mama thing you go to," which is what yet another friend's friend calls it.
Anyway, I started vaguely referring to it "a conference" or "a gathering of Christians who like art." This seemed like a lie, since it is much, much more than those things. In fact, a Hutchmoot is such a special, unique thing that I'm not sure any definition could capture it correctly. A top-ten list, however, might come closer... so here goes:
Ten of My Top Experiences at Hutchmoot 2012
(Ordered Chronologically, Since I Loved Them All So Much; Also, I Am Probably Forgetting Some, So I Will Not Call This The Top Ten)
Thursday Night: Square Peg Alliance and Friends Concert in the round. This is always a lot of fun, with many very talented artists participating. This year, many of the usual suspects were present: The Andys (Peterson, Gullahorn, and Osenga), Jill Philips, Eric Peters, Randall Goodgame, Jason Gray and Ron Block. (Ben Shive, however, was sadly absent because he had to hit a record production deadline.) One fun surprise was the Chaffers (remember Waterdeep?). If I had to pick a favorite, it would be Jason Gray, who is extremely skillful at transmogrifying performance into worship.
Friday Afternoon: Talking with N. D. Wilson about his fantastic, mind-bending work of apologetics, Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl. I was concerned with his approach on a couple of points, and I wanted to hear what he had to say. Nate was very real, very considerate, and very generous with his time. I left not convinced of his rightness, but more understanding of his approach. He is a stand-up guy and you should buy each and every one of his brilliant books.
Saturday Morning: The Ragamuffin Legacy Session. Rich Mullins has always been one of my favorite musicians, and it was amazing to hear Andrew Peterson, Ben Shive, and many others talk about his background, his music, and his effects on both Christian Contemporary Music and the lives of his listeners.
Saturday Afternoon: Singing with saints. While waiting for the dinner bell to ring, a group of folks sat around and jammed together. This soon turned into one of my favorite hymn-sings in a long time. I forgot how much I love being able to lose myself in the harmony of a familiar song.
Saturday Night: Joining in service with others. There's something very therapeutic about cleaning. When my mind and heart are full, as they were by Saturday night, I was more than ready for straightening, sweeping, and mopping. It did my heart good to work alongside some of my favorite people on earth with the common goal of setting the place in order.
Sunday Night: I was really excited to continue a tradition we started at Hutchmoot 2011 with some new lifelong friends from San Diego. We had a good dinner, honest conversations, and a sound pint at a local burger place, and then sought out the sweet strains of Bluegrass. Last year, it was Layla's Bluegrass Inn with a young but very talented band. This year, it was a jam session peopled by a number of very talented folks at the Station Inn.
All Weekend Long: Evie's (and Lewis's) amazing food. I cannot say enough about the simple culinary delights of the fare we shared, so I won't try.
All Weekend Long: The people I stayed with. I didn't know Mark and Wendy before Hutchmoot, and they weren't even part of the event (they're my brother's friend's friends), but they were nothing but gracious, inviting, and caring all weekend long. They tolerated our irregular hours, gave us great meals, and provided wonderful conversation. They obviously believe in the Romans 12 type of hospitality.
All Weekend Long: Hanging out with my big brother. Andrew has always been one of my heroes, so it makes me happy to spend time with him. From the time he picked me up on Wednesday night to the time he dropped me off on Monday morning, he was encouraging, kind, and really fun to be with. His enthusiasm is contagious, and he is extremely patient with my lack of navigational skills. Together, we saw the Parthenon, the Farmer's Market, a WWII landing craft, and some of the greatest people you'll ever meet. All this and more made me delighted to be able to spend the weekend with him.
From Now On: The life-changing consequences of this amazing event. It would be a shame to be there and see all the effort, love, and caring that people invested, and come away unchanged. The Lord used this weekend to teach me some important things. Hopefully, He won't have to re-teach them to me again very soon. (See Hutchmoot 2012 (Part 1: The Spiritual Stuff).)