Thursday, July 19, 2012

Main Stage Speaker, from behind the stage

It was fascinating to watch the aftermath of the first night of the youth gathering. Nadia, my tremendous wife, was the main speaker for that one night, and the work she did to create her presentation (based on the reaction from the gathering) was well worth it. I've been to a few of these gatherings, and the speakers are always good. She seems to have had a more significant impact, though, than many of the other speakers I've heard over other years.

Obviously I may be biased, and I'm certainly not trying to take anything away from the other speakers from other years. I've always appreciated what they've had to say. What I notice, though, is that the youth who are at the gathering felt more of a connection with her more than they did with other people.

And I think I have an idea why. I could be wrong, but I think I have at least part of an idea why.

Nadia's not afraid to tell the truth. She's not afraid to tell the truth about the world, about herself, and about G-d.

In addition, she has a compelling and engaging way of connecting those three things together.

It seems to me that one of the things that young people (who are trying to figure out where they belong in the world) need and desire is adults who will tell them the truth. But it's not enough to tell the truth ~ young people also need adults who will listen to the truth about who they are, to the truth about what it means to be a teenager in their location in the world today.

In the wake of her talk last night, Nadia has been continually approached by youth and adults who have shared with her how much she meant to them. I didn't argue with any of them, but I'd be willing to bet that they're less moved by Nadia and more moved by their encounter with G-d.

Because that's what I experienced from the event last night ~ the speaker on the stage telling young people the truth about themselves, and the truth about G-d, in a way that gave them enough permission to be able experience Holy Spirit as more than the excitement of a huge gathering ~ and which gave them the vulnerability to allow Holy Spirit to have an impact on the deepest parts of their being.



  1. I agree completely with everything you say! She was tremendous as she was not afraid to speak the truth about everything. I was especially glad that she took on the controversy that stirred a bit of mud about her being allowed to speak to the group. I couldn't be more grateful for the words she shared about that. My skeptical son even texted that she was "awesome!" I hope the speakers the rest of the week can keep up the acceptance, welcome, forgiveness, and excitement that was in the Lutherdome last night!

  2. My daughter was in that crowd last night. I sat in Iowa this morning watching your amazing wife. I cried and I feel blessed that my daughter got to watch a woman who may not fit the "Lutheran" stereotype but can be so in love with the Lord. When I asked Lily what she thought of Nadia she said, "She was funny!" What a blessing for our youth.

  3. Gloria Bauer IshidaJuly 23, 2012 at 3:35 AM

    I wrote more on Nadia's Facebook Wall, but seeing previous online criticisms, I have to smile. Luther's language was also down to earth - to put it nicely - and Jesus was a spiritual rebel in his day.

  4. It was such a blessing to be in the Lutherdome with all those kids praising G-d and Nadia challenging them and lifting them up. The kids in our youth group represent 17 different high schools (and of those who could come to NOLA, 12 different high schools among our 42 kids). They are out in the world daily with different religions or nonreligious folks and Lutheran "culture" isn't prevalent here in this Catholic city (Cincinnati). To be in a crowd hearing why Lutheran theology is significant was powerful and when Nadia spoke, they really had a group "AHA!" moment. Thank you so much for that.