Deeper Still (from the very, very cheap seats)


I almost bought a ticket for the LifeWay Deeper Still event in Birmingham.  It took place this past weekend, and I had the time and money to go.  I was thiiiis close to going to withdraw money from my savings account to buy myself a ticket.  Then I had to consider whether or not it was really worth it to me.  The ticket, gas, and food, when all totaled, would amount to about $120 IF I only bought lunch for myself on Saturday.  We’ve got our Lottie Moon offering coming up and end-of-the-year giving to our church, so I decided no.  I could not justify it.  Because, to be honest, I wouldn’t be going for the same reasons as most of the attendees.  According to #deeperstill, women wanted to “hear a word” from their “Siesta Mama.”

Yes, I followed the deeperstill twitter hashtag all weekend.  Is that not totally lame for someone not interested (from a pure motive) in going to the event?

You see, I have no desire to get a word from her, or Priscilla Shirer, or Kay Arthur.  I can read and meditate on the scriptures without her help, thankyouverymuch.  In fact, my quiet times this past week have been extra…terrible.  One morning last week, I dreaded opening God’s word because I knew what I was going to find: Ezekial.  And, y’all, that’s just not a happy book.  And after a month in Jeremiah, (sigh) I just haven’t been all that joyful in my approach to God’s word.  Many mornings I’ve winced as I opened the cover.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I love God’s word.  But those books are heavy with judgment for sin, images of the terrible sin found among God’s people.  And I could see myself all too clearly.  As a result, I’ve been asking the Lord, What do I do about it?  The answer, of course, is the gospel.  I don’t do anything; my efforts are unacceptable self-righteousness.  But, instead of joy and gladness for God’s salvation, I’ve been frustrated.

This frustration has been a great spiritual service to me, though.  I understand the sinfulness of it, and not wanting to become hardened by it, it has forced me lower and lower, further uprooting the self-righteous desires and inclinations which lie deep in my heart.  It has not been pleasant to realize the depth of my sin and weakness, but walking from darkness into a brighter light is good.  Plus, moving on from Ezekial to Hosea lightened up my spirit a bit.  Amen?

Where was I going with this?  Oh, my real motivations for wanting to attend Deeper Still had more to do with observing the event.  God told Ezekial to go to the temple, peek through the hole in the wall, and see what His priests were doing.  Well, I’m not Ezekial, and I can’t peer behind the walls of women’s hearts to see who or what they really worship (indeed the exercise of peering into my own heart showed me enough), but I wanted to see if God was really there…to see what He’s doing at those events.

But I didn’t go; therefore, I don’t really know what happened.

I continue to follow, however, #deeperstill on twitter (I use tweetdeck, btw).  This provides, maybe, a balcony view of its fruit.  And I’m concerned.

What I didn’t see: the name of Jesus, mention of the gospel, scripture quotes.

What I did see: lots of tweets about how much the tweeters love Beth; lots of excitement about meeting Beth and her daughters; tweet upon tweet of loving so-and-so or meeting so-and-so and loving her; lots of tweets about Kay Arthur’s age; “bringin’ it”; tweets about how hilarious it is that all of the restrooms have been converted to women’s restrooms; several women sharing that they were weeping; tweets about cute clothes and hair; tweets about note-taking; tweets about finding margin; tweets about cupcake wars; tweets about sex.  One tweet, probably most surprising, said that she hoped Jesus didn’t come back before Beth was able to finish her session.  Really?

Now, tweeting is tweeting.  I shouldn’t expect to get much info from tweets.  So, I’ve been watching for the blog posts.

What I’ve seen so far: the main theme seems to be the excitement of meeting a fellow blogger in real life or seeing/hearing Beth Moore live and “Wow, she’s so anointed!”  I have yet to read a post with some biblical content.  I have no real clue about what was taught (except I know Kay Arthur taught the book of Matthew, but I don’t know what she said about it).  The blog post making the biggest ripple in the blogosphere is the one written by Jon Acuff about being a man at a women’s conference.

So, c’mon, Conference Attenders!  I want to know what you learned from the scriptures at this conference.  I’ve read that it’s going to take a while for the ladies to “process the weekend.”  I hope I don’t have to wait for LifeWay to publish it.

I’m seriously considering attending the next (final?) Deeper Still event in Louisville next year.  Anyone want to sponsor me?

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10 thoughts on “Deeper Still (from the very, very cheap seats)

  1. Leslie,
    I am identifying with what you are saying here. I did go last weekend. But only after spending a great deal of time being disenchanted with the whole Beth Moore craze from the giggly-slumber-party girls who seem so obsessed with her….Because I went to one of her events in San Antonio with great expectations of a “word” and of meeting some of these people I had chatted with through blogs. I found it very empty and I ended up just being thrilled that my husband was back at the hotel – I skipped out on some of the event to hang out at the Riverwalk with him instead because I was disgusted with the whole thing. This year I happened to be given tickets by a friend whose husband works at WDJC, and was picked up by some down-to-earth friends from church. I never read the blogs or kept up with anybody else’s party. I suppose I enjoyed the conference this time because I was out of the loop with all the craziness and therefore, enjoyed an actual “word”. But I totally agree with you —> these conferences can not compete with studying for ourselves and with our small groups.

    Sorry for the long comment, but I’ve been chewing on this for a bit. 🙂

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    1. I set up a Google alert for blog posts regarding Deeper Still. There are a lot more bloggers than tweeters, so I’ve been able to read more about the subject matter for the weekend. It’s hard to know what it was really like, but details help more than tweets.

      I did read one sad post in which the blogger was a little depressed because she didn’t meet up with the other “siestas” and she didn’t get to meet Beth. It let it ruin her whole weekend. That’s so sad.

      I’m glad that didn’t happen to you this time, and that the Lord spoke through them to you.

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  2. Ezekiel: Tough stuff. I moved from Hosea to Joel. Tough stuff there too. Those prophets, they didn’t mince words. Sin is serious business there in the Old Testament and makes for uncomfortable devotions, to be sure. I’d much rather read something other than sin and judgment yet, as you said here, it reminds me of my sin and that it too is serious business and that I too have no plea before the Lord’s wrath and judgment…except for Jesus, except for the cross, except for the glorious gospel that Jesus Christ saves sinners like me!

    Great post. While not necessarily in regard to Deeper Still per se (I just haven’t paid that much attention this time around), I have observed much the same as you describe here. True, it’s a view from the cheap seats, but I maintain as you do that if Jesus is a critical part of the event we will talk about Him. The same goes for my blog, for my conversations with my friends, for any and every area of my life. Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. May we (may I, please Lord) be women serious about the Word of God, eager to speak of our Savior, and full of passion for His glory in all things! As you say, we cannot see into anyone’s heart, conference attendee or otherwise, yet I know my own heart and the idolatry that lies there…

    Sorry to hijack your comments. Stepping aside…

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    1. “if Jesus is a critical part of the event we will talk about Him.”

      True, and convicting. My prayer for the last several weeks has been that his name would be on my lips more and more in my conversations.

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  3. In all kindness, Leslie, I attended and wrote about Deeper Still Denver here:
    http://blogs.lifeway.com/blog/womenallaccess/2010/06/heaven_came_down_at_deeper_sti.html
    http://blogs.lifeway.com/blog/womenallaccess/2010/06/heaven_came_down_at_deeper_sti_1.html
    http://blogs.lifeway.com/blog/womenallaccess/2010/06/heaven_came_down_at_deeper_sti_2.html

    Jesus’ name was high and lifted up. Not one of those speaking or serving with the team want anyone’s worship. Friendship? Yes. Love? Of course! But people will and are wont to worship people. It’s all over Jeremiah and Ezekiel–idolotry.

    But I guarantee you, of the 14,000 women attending the conference this weekend, the one’s looking for Jesus, found Him. They heard about Him. And they were marked by Him. I hope if you go next year, you will be blessed in the name of Jesus.

    With Joy and Love,
    Holly

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  4. Hi Leslie! I think you are being a little harsh on the conference thing. Not all of us are on the same level. These conferences are good for those that don’t know how yet to read their Bible and meditate but they want to get there. I don’t think that you can use tweets to judge the spiritual content of the material. Who says anything profound in a tweet? (It’s a tweet!!) I certainly understand what you are saying about the conference thing but I think that they can be very helpful to some women.

    I started in Bible studies about 10 years ago. I did not really know what was out there until then. I had just left the “outside the home” workforce which freed me from the keeping house and job frenzy. I have probably done over 20 different studies and really enjoy the Beth Moore ones the best. They have the most “meat” to them and I am most likely to finish them. Beth has a great way of connecting the Old and New Testaments and bringing out things I have never seen before. Due to the studies, I began my own daily Bible reading about six years ago. I so enjoy reading my Bible!! I would never have gotten to this point though without those studies.

    Not everyone appreciates Beth Moore studies as much as I do. She is very entertaining to me with her quirky personality. I find her to be very humble. She is deeply committed to God and wants others to find what she has. I have found that her conferences tend to cover some of the same material as her studies which is good for those women who are not ready for the time it takes to do a “homework” study.

    You are probably beyond needing a Bible study like that to help with understanding the Bible. I amazed at your insight when I read your blog. I find something new and fresh with every Beth Moore study. I do not use that as a substitute for my own reading and reflection time though. BTW, I have found the book of Ezekiel to be the most difficult to read. It is very depressing and filled with so many strange things that I just don’t get!

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    1. Hi Shawn, This post isn’t intended to make a definitive statement about Beth Moore or her studies (I know LOTS of women who’ve benefited from them tremendously — like you said, one of her studies is what got them started reading their Bibles regularly — (I like “Jesus, the One and Only” myself)), just giving my impression of the conference (that included two other main session speakers) from very far away…very, very far away. I agree with you: they’re just tweets! I also realize that Beth cannot control how people respond to her. That said, I do “red flag” when I see that kind of response over a person. It wouldn’t hurt us women to be careful about the affections we have for our favorite teachers, myself included.

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  5. Holly and Shawn, I appreciate your viewpoints. Gives me a good new way to think about the conference….because I have struggled with this. Thanks for posting this Leslie. 🙂

    Yes! I appreciate them, too. And you’re welcome, Stacey. 🙂 ~Leslie

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