Remember Phil Chalmers?

Public Speaker Phil Chalmers talks to Bowie Junior High seventh-graders about the consequences of bullying, Feb. 2, 2012, at the school in Odessa, Texas. Heather Leiphart/Odessa American/AP

I used to debate Big Phil at the National Youth Workers Convention, at least until the year that a member of his posse started shouting at me and grabbed a chair like he was going to throw it. I don’t think Phil got asked back after that.

Well, now Phil is the self-purported “leading expert on school shootings,” although he lacks any formal training…in anything. Self-promotion, however, is still in his wheelhouse, as Newsweek reports,

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On My Return to Youth Specialties

What does a trainwreck look like? Like Tony, Mark, and Doug attempting to reprise the Church Basement Roadshow at the National Youth Workers Convention in 2008.

Tomorrow will mark my return to Youth Specialties as a content-provider. And I’m thrilled.

My publishing career began under the tutelage of Mark Oestreicher, who was then the publisher at YS. He signed me to write my first and second books, and he advocated for me to speak at the National Youth Workers Convention. Tic Long, who I’m guessing was as uncomfortable with my evolving theology as his peers at the heart of the YS world, invited me to speak at the convention for ten years straight, culminating with my crash-and-burn experience on the Big Stage.

Since that fateful day, I have not been asked back to speak at the NYWC.

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Save $100 at the National Youth Workers Convention

I spoke for 10 straight years at the National Youth Workers Convention, culminating with my massive trainwreck on the main stage in 2008. After a few years off, Mark Matlock has invited me back to present a couple of workshops — one on the atonement, and one on Christianity and culture. So, I’ll be doing that in Dallas, the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Well, whether you’re considering attending in San Diego, you can save $100 by entering YS12JONES in the “Special Pricing Code” box when you register.

Hope to see you there!

A Thought About the National Youth Workers Convention (#NYWC)

I attended the National Youth Workers Convention over the weekend in Atlanta.  I’ve been going for many years — first as an exhibitor (for YouthWorks, who now owns the conference), then as a speaker for 10 years, and now as an exhibitor (again).

I went to a couple sessions this year, in addition to having many meetings.  The new Theological Forums were a great addition, in my opinion.  They’ve got to mature a bit, I think, but they’ve got real potential.  I was supposed to be on some panels this year, but my name was removed from the list (more on that below).

Tony Campolo

Another session I attended was Tony Campolo‘s, “Recasting Theology for Postmodern Students.”  Tony premised his remark on what I have called evangelicals’ “Paulophlia.”  Evangelicals, he argued, see the gospel exclusively through the lens of Paul — specifically through the first eight chapters of Romans.  Not coincidentally, this is also the conflict at the beginning of Scot McKnight’s The King Jesus Gospel, which I’m reading now and will blog about next week.

Campolo used this problem to introduce his concept of “red letter Christianity,” in which the words of the New Testament that are attributed to Jesus take precedence over the rest of the text.  This is a hermeneutical principle that Campolo is introducing, and as a hermeneutical principle, it’s got some problems.

But that’s not what I’m thinking about today.  I actually have a sociological observation, instead of a theological one:

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