I'm afraid we're going to have to write off our experimental 1-day "Introversion Crash-Course Cure" after yesterday. This was a course dedicated to real introverts - not just those church-going people who answer all the questions "right" to be INFP because they think that makes them all precious and sensitive. Especially when they're ministerial types who go on to rule the Church Committees with rods of iron - and claim they're just expressing their Extroverted Tyrant secondary attribute because that's what a patriarchal society expects them to do, and they'd much rather be skipping around thinking Sublime Thoughts on a heath somewhere. But I digress.
The idea was that, by bombarding the shy-boys and girls with outward-focussed stimuli, we could drive them into a state of cognative dissonance which would heal them of their scaredy-catness. To that effect, at the Coffee Reception, the rule was that you couldn't have a biscuit unless you revealed two things about you that nobody else knew. Which, on the bright side, means we still have an intact packet of Hob-nobs.
Then the Opening Worship was meant to bring divine assistance into the meeting. So we started by asking people to introduce themselves to the person sitting next to them. Then gave everybody a solo line during the song "If I was a Butterfly (Undignified)". Then asked them to come up the front in turn, to act out their favourite book through the medium of Morris-dance.
The Plenary at the end of that session was interesting. I asked if anyone had any questions or experiences to share, and nobody had. I've not sat in silence that long since we had that "Finding Common Ground" meeting with the Fundamentalist Baptists and the Gay Evolutionary Biologists Alliance.
Then everybody was happy for a bit when we asked them to go and record their thoughts of the course so far on their Electronic Journals - a nice bit of kit Young Keith knocked up which are basically Android tablets that give the appearance of complete confidence and security. But everybody gets a (hopefully therapeutic) shock when we reveal they're all wirelessly connected to the "Thoughts Unveiler", from which we display everything they've recorded during the Shouting from the Rooftops session.
Many people were aghast at their own thoughts being displayed for all to see. But I was more stunned by what Mr Marsden was thinking. Most disturbing.... I had to go and sit further away from him.
I was most grateful to our volunteers during the "Interactions Session". This was training for when people come up to you with a forced grin, and start telling you how much God has done for them this week. I say volunteers - actually, I'd just told the members of Drayton's church that they had a chance at some prime evangelism.
The next worship session was particularly powerful. The worship-leader was one of those who constantly interferes with the flow of worship by issuing instructions such as "Now the men: Now the women: Now this lady with the teeth in the front row..." And then the sermon was a masterpiece by Sherington. Constantly using embarrassing illustrations from unlikely life-experiences. Such as "So you know it feels when you've been strip-searched by Taiwanse customs, accused of trying to smuggle a stuffed dodo into the country while accompanied by a Thai "friend"?" And then gazing around at the congregation, looking them in the eyes until he got a smile of recognition. In the event, what he got was of course a nervous giggle from a male delegate. At which Sherington smiled back and said, "so, my friend - how would you describe it?"
Then we had the session that everybody had been dreading - the "Hugathon of Peace". I announced a "five minute comfort break" just before this. By the time the Hugathon was to start, every delegate had shot out of the car park and headed for the M1. I swear the gravel's still rattling about the place now.