Posted by Tom French |

Whole Lotta Soul

I haven't really recapped Soul yet. So I figure I will before I go to bed. I really am very tired right now. I haven't recovered yet, and I've been sleeping in my own bed since Saturday night.

But what was I saying?

Oh yeah. I reckon I'm gonna write in categories. That'd be new and interesting.

Youth

Taking a bunch of youth away on camp for a week is a scary, silly idea, and a lot of fun. I always complain about having to go and camp in St Ives. "I mean who camps in St Ives?" that's my line. But still I do it. We camped on the oval this year. That was good, flat soft and the domain of roaming dogs and their poo. Oh yeah and bees. For some reason there were heaps of bees at our campsite. But they only stung once so we coped.

Anyway, so I spent the week camping with 26 people from my youth group and we were joined by more each day. And it was all a lot of fun. I do like seeing young people regularly. Spending a week with some of my favourite people was cool. Even if every night that I sent people to bed I was told "You used to be cool Tom." Although I guess I should be flattered that I was ever considered cool in the first place.

It's also great to see them getting challenged and inspired. I guess that's a lot of the reason why we were there.

Probably the biggest disappointment of the week, youth wise, was on Friday night when I promised everyone they could stay up as late as they wanted. I got all rugged up for a long cold night, and sat down in the middle of the oval ready to stay up till 3 or 4am and we got kicked off the oval by a security guard at 1am. How sad is that? Last year when we stayed up it was one of the funnest nights of the conference. But this year, well, no fun. And then I felt like a bad person because I'd promised everyone they could stay up then had to send them all to bed. Plus everytime people got annoyed at me for sending them to bed on the other nights I just said to myself "It's ok, I'll be nice to them on Friday night". But it didn't work like that. Oh well. I'll figure out a way to fix that next year.

Donny Jaffa

Every year we push the envelope with Donny, and this year was no exception. This year I had lots of people coming up to me saying "Were you allowed to say that?" But I guess that's half the fun of Donny, doing what you shouldn't be doing.

I think this year was the Donny Jaffa Show's best year. It was the year I felt best about. There is always huge pressure to "be funny" but I think I'm learning how that best happens. I haven't got it figured all yet, but I think I've learnt over years. Who would have thought I'd end up doing a comedy show? I must be nuts, I'll get high cholesterol.

The guests this year were all superb. Matt was very smooth and helped me out of a tough spot or two. Ali was funny and played the whole "Donny crush" thing real well. Mike was great. It was very hard to remain straight faced working with Mike. Ben was great. For a quiet Canadian he really packed a punch. I think he beat Uncle Jaffa. And Suzie was funny. She did really well especially since she wasn't playing herself and only had about 30 minutes notice.

For one of the nights I played Uncle Jaffa, Donny's atheist Uncle. Basically Uncle jiffy was an excuse to have a deep voice and to sing an atheistic worship song. And that's about all he was. People liked the song, but there wasn't much more to him other than that. It was wonderful when Ben tried to convert him because it put me in the difficult position of not being able to betray the character by becoming a Christian, and not wanting to disappoint the crowd by refusing. In the end I stormed off the stage opting for character over crowd appeal.

The UK crew are really good to Donna. They're fans and very supportive. Especially when I realised that many UK people don't seem to get the jokes, so it's good to have them supporting me, encouraging me and "getting it".

Donny did take a lot away from the conference for me. I didn't get to any seminars because I was burning DVDs the whole time. And whenever I met someone who knew I was Donny all they'd talk about was Donny. It made me feel rather self-obsessed because I kept having to have conversations about me, Donny and the show. I had to work to change the conversation to other things. Oh well.

"Wisdom with Tabitha" was good again. Jem's real tops, she plays Tabitha well. Tabitha always outshines Donny and rightly so I guess.

This year's new video "Amy's Video Diary" was definately the find of the year. I didn't know Suzie, who played Amy, from a bar of soap at the beginning of the conference. Actually that's not true, if you put her and a bar of soap in a room together I reckon I could tell them apart. Unless of course the soap was made into a really life like statue of Suzie and she stood really still. Anyway that's all beside the point. I was a little worried taking on a stranger to do 4 nights of video segment, but she did great. She was funny and good at working without a script. It was cool.

Um yeah. So that's Donny. Someone got their photo taken with me this year. I felt famous.

Meetings

The main meetings were good fun. Matt got different people to speak at every meeting which was interesting. There was a guy called Jim Yost who's one of those crazy, full on missionary guys. He was real cool. He challenged us in how we did evangelism and took risks. I liked having him verbally kick my spiritual butt.

We had a different worship leader most days too. I liked that. I think I liked the variety they all bought to their stuff.

I'm not sure I have much more to say about the meetings. The ministry times weren't as full on as other years. But that's neither here nor there. God still did stuff.

All up

I had fun this year. I didn't feel like it was a really spiritually significant week. But I did enjoy having plenty of time to spend with God even if it wasn't all life changing. I had good times singing and good times sitting alone reading my Bible. Plus there are heaps of cool people at Soul. People a good. I'm very glad I went. I'm even glad I camped. But still, who camps in St Ives?

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