Looking over the schedule for EC13 I encountered a term I've seen a couple of times before but never really knew what it meant or for that matter how to pronounce it. It was called Pecha Kucha and, being southern, in my mouth that sounds a whole lot like Pikachu. So the Pikachu presentations they became.
I had a horrific headache by the afternoon of day one, I hadn't slept well the night before, pre-conference excitement, and so when the first set of Pecha Kucha presentations began, I was dozing in the lobby and missed many of them. I woke when I heard my friend Jay Bakker's voice as he started to give his and moved quickly into the cathedral to support him as he spoke and see what he had to say. I can't capture it any better than this blogger did but I will say that the tight format of 20 slides, 20 seconds each worked beautifully. We are hoping to explore this method in the Mississippi River Outlaw Preachers group soon. Anyway, I was awake to hear Jay, Doug and one more which I have now blanked and then to see several of the presentations the second day. I'm hopeful that they will somehow be collected and share either via youTube or somewhere.
In a lot of ways I think the Pecha Kucha is an ideal medium for the message of emergence. We are, to some degree, a product of the digital age and either early adopters or natives of the digital world. Our attention spans aren't quite what they probably should be and if you don't grab our attention quickly you've lost us. 20 slides, 20 seconds each, total talk time 6 minutes and 40 seconds. Its a sermon for the twitterverse...not that that is a bad thing. The beauty of these little gems is that they do lend themselves so easily to our internet world. Also they require us to keep the main thing the main thing. If you only have 6 minutes and 40 seconds there isn't a lot of time for rabbit trails.
Distilling the messages of Emergence: Inclusion, Hospitality, Love, Compassion...into those not quite 7 minutes requires thoughtfulness and focus in order to be done well. Like the 140 character twitter limit requires conciseness of thought in order to communicate effectively. Is it surprising that these are the mediums we find carrying the message of Emergence out into the digital universe?
If nothing else, Emergence Christianity has a higher than usual number of creatives and geeks among its ranks and these Pecha Kucha things appeal to both sets. I got more of a boots on the ground vision of what was going on in the Emergence world through the "Pikachu" presentations than probably anything else the weekend of EC13. The focused passion of the presenters stood out to me. I think we might need to see more of that kind of thing in the future.