After packing, driving a few hours, and checking into the hotel, our first stop was the Mennonite Scholars and Friend’s ‘Meet and Greet’ gathering.
This is one of my favorite events, as it is one of the few ‘officially social’ gatherings of the weekend. But, it is still tainted by the professional angst of being ‘official’. It can be awkward. I love chatting with anabaptist professors, but I am easily summed up as a professional nobody and a lurker. The simple reality is that most folks are there to make those critical business connections that could lead to job offers and publications.
So, while I love re-connecting with a few old friends and hearing about the latest works from these wonderful folks — for the most part, I try to stay out of the way.
Nonetheless, at the center of the event, the one formal ritual transpires. A designated leader or moderator gets everyone’s attention and all conversations stop as everyone forms a huge circle around the room. The moderator then welcomes everyone and begins ‘introductions’ as each person around the circle gives their names, where they’re from, and announces any related announcements about presentations, publications, events, etc…
It’s kind of humbling to hang out with these folks. They’re a humble bunch of incredible people, and I love hearing from them. It’s very exciting, in a calm and relaxed anabaptist fashion.