Even though The Basement was packed out with our 100 creatives from around the world (which made it hard to meet and greet) Jars of Clay was magical in the ambience and mystique of that fabled Nashville nightclub. Frontman Dan Haseltine (@scribblepotemus) started our #recreate14 journey out right with this quote: “Mystery is to be enjoyed…to be relished…even though it is sometimes hard to do…” And the cello solo on an updated rendition of their mega-hit “Flood” was magical. It was great for re:create to team with Jars and provide a gift copy of their amazing new album “Inland” to every registrant.
When it’s all said and done the global creatives—hailing from regions as far away as Cairo, Egypt; Lima, Peru; and London, England—comprise the soul of our re:create gathering. We are a tribe. A growing and vibrant tribe. The “youngest” of us was a sixteen-year-old student/scholar from Ada, Oklahoma and the “wisest” was our conference pastor from Angel Fire, New Mexico. The times getting to know one another around wonderful food and drink are transcendent and sacramental.
Micah Bournes, a spoken word poet from Los Angeles, was mesmerizing and thought-provoking every time he took the stage. It was so awesome to have Micah among us the entire week. He will be back next year for #recreate15 with not only his spoken word poetry, but he will also present a talk: Engaging Culture with Holy Art. Here are a few words by Micah that rocked me: “We are not anything, but what we are now. I am not the future, I am not the past. I am the present.” “I urge you to introduce yourself to your template…Jesus Christ.” “I’m created in the image of God, people didn’t give it to me and they can’t take it away.”
Melissa Greene, Pastor of Worship Arts at our host church GracePointe in Franklin, first led worship, reminding me that God’s love never gives up on me (whew, I’m thankful for that), and then gave a talk “Surprised By Joy” interspersed with music (performed by a marvelous band and singers from her church) and stories from her history. It was captivating and redemptive. She featured a beautiful reading, a translation of a poem by Spanish poet Antonio Machado. Melissa is our experience director (our curator) for the week and does an extraordinary job.
Another moment in time occurred when Margaret Becker, Ashley Cleveland, and Kim Hill performed a singer/songwriter acoustic trio. These three ladies have more Grammy’s, Dove awards, and #1 hits than some countries. A couple of especially transcendent moments happened during this time when Ashley did a reading from her new book, “Little Black Sheep, A Memoir” and when Kim asked Margaret to sing her hit song, “Say The Name.” Margaret’s vocal and guitar skills are remarkable—such control and supple power. Lyric: “May I never grow so strong, that my heart cannot be moved.” You could have heard a pin drop.
That evening we experienced one of the most powerful moments in re:create history. As we gathered to celebrate Holy Eucharist, the Lee Singers (from Lee University—my alma mater and the first guest choir in re:create’s 14 year history) quietly circled us and began an acapella rendition of the old hymn “Abide with Me.” The hair stood up on my neck as their perfectly trained yet passionate voices reverberated throughout the auditorium. It was one of the most memorable evenings of my life. A special thanks to Dr. Brad Moffett for his incredible leadership of the Singers. Rev. Melissa Greene led us in the celebration of the Eucharist and Rev. Mike Woolley gave the homily. It was as if an aura surrounded them both and then permeated the Singers during their concert afterwards. An amazing night that none of us will soon forget.
The Awaken Movement (Rob Peabody and Joel and Mark Warren) were joined by Stu G (formerly of Delirious), David Leonard (All Sons & Daughters) and Butterfly Sparks. The worship was beautiful and moving and the story of Awaken Movement was compelling as they told of their work with Title I schools and their movement to create culture.
Artist/entrepreneur Derek Webb talked to us about the phenomenon called NoiseTrade and took Q & A. His dream turned reality of a business to provide quality music (and now books) for the masses was inspiring and hope-filled.
A first (and now to be a tradition) for re:create was a Karaoke night with a live band at a local bar & grill. Everyone had a blast and we were able to see some usually quiet and reserved re:creators rock our worlds on stage. It also proved to be an unexpected but much-needed emotional release. Who will ever forget Mark Roach, Dale Douglass, Amanda Sims, Chase Gassaway, Joei Whisenant and many more as they regaled us?
New Curb recording artist Ryan Corn gave a concert previous to the Karaoke. He was amazing and classy—the bar was open to the public and quite rowdy during his set, so I have asked Ryan to join us at GracePointe for next year’s gathering and lead worship there in a “controlled” environment. His song “Wonderful Things” is simply amazing!! Thanks to Curb Records and Keith Stancil of Artist Garden Management for making Ryan’s appearance possible. He is also a worship leader at a church in Missouri and told me he will do his best to register and attend #recreate15. His new album will release fall of 2014. Watch for it!
The next day editor Alice Sullivan presented an amazing talk called “Book Is Not A Four-Letter Word,” and took Q & A. At re:create we want to prepare our registrants with tools to create culture and influence others. Writing well is a crucial part of the ability to diffuse ideas. Dr. Lou Markos, professor of English and Film at Houston Baptist University, presented a talk called, “Christianity and the Arts.” It was a sweeping, intelligent and passionate overview of the history, the incarnation, and words of the arts. “The arts at their essence are incarnational because arts, at their highest, bring together the physical and the spiritual.” “The incarnation changed everything-suddenly earthly matter (the physical) can contain divinity.” “If the marker of success is a really big church, then Jesus did a really bad job.”
Country artist Bryan White provided the country aspect of re:create and sang some of his hits as well as some powerful new songs.
Our final evening was one none of us will ever forget. After a late start due to the cellist falling temporarily ill, we began a musical odyssey at the hands of Eric Owyoung, formerly the frontman for Something Like Silas, now known as Future of Forestry. Eric, along with the afore-mentioned cellist and two young ladies playing violin (all virtuosos) presented his new artistic creation “The Piano & Strings Sessions.” It was one of the greatest musical performances of my life. Tender, passionate, compelling, healing art. Exquisite, unique and excellent art. It is really hard to put into words the power of Eric’s art. I really don’t think any of us that personally witnessed these compositions with its beautiful harmonies and melodies will ever be the same.
We were able to capture all this in beautiful High Definition and an impeccable audio feed from our amazing media team from AE Global Media. You can see all the above and much more from #recreate14 and previous years by subscribing to our Vimeo Digital Video Channel HERE.
You can also join us in Nashville, TN Feb. 2-5, 2015 for our 15th anniversary gathering of creatives. Limited to first 150 registrants. Register HERE.