The Rabbit Room started in September of 2007 as an experiment in community. I didn’t know what it would grow into, if it grew into anything at all. I knew that my life had been impacted on a deep spiritual level by the works of artists and writers who were Christians, and from what I could tell those artists and writers were fashioning those works in community.
They not only cared about the excellence of their work, they understood, on some level, that they needed each other. So they met every week in the original Rabbit Room and shared a pint by the fire. They nourished friendships, they celebrated one another’s gifts (and since they were men, and British, I’m sure that means they also made fun of each other), they wagged their jaws, and they shared their writings. They may have even chortled.
We’ve tried to emulate as much of that as possible via the wonder of the Interweb, but the time has come to step out of cyberspace and into the real world. I’ve met many of you at shows, and I’m always humbled, excited, and grateful (read: geeked out) to hear this place has been a blessing to you. It thrills me to interact with the folks whose screen names show up here on a regular basis. I’m fascinated by that mysterious ingredient in the books/films/music we discuss that drew you, of all the billions of people in the world and of all the zillions of websites in the world, to the Rabbit Room. That ingredient is, as far as I can tell, Story. Story with a capital S. It’s the stories we tell, the stories we sing, the stories we live, and the Story we’re invited into by the Author of our faith.
So the next chapter in the story of the Rabbit Room is Hutchmoot 2010. “Hutchmoot?” you ask? Well, you can blame it on Sarah Clarkson’s dad. He suggested the name, sort of kidding, and we laughed. Then we sort of stole it from him. It may sound weird now, but once you’re used to it you’ll be on board. On the bandwagon. In the hutch.
It’s scheduled for August 6-8 in Nashville. Here’s the scoop:
Q: What’s a Hutchmoot?
A: It’s a gathering. A meeting. A retreat. A conference. A powwow. A shebang. An entmoot, without the ents.
Q: What happens at a Hutchmoot?
A: Food. Good food, prepared by our resident Rabbit Room foodie Evie Coates. Quality time among fellow Rabbit Room readers with whom you’ll develop friendships that will last until you’re 87. Two concerts (one by yours truly, the other a private in-the-round concert with members of the Square Peg Alliance). The book release of Jonathan Rogers’s The Charlatan’s Boy. Sessions led by Rabbit Room contributors (pretty much all of us will be there). Panel discussions on writing, songwriting, and film. Nightly conversation with dessert and coffee.
Q: Why should I go?
A: Because you must.
Q: No, really. Why should I go?
A: We want you to come and enjoy a weekend of music and conversation about the stories all around us in song, film, books–and most importantly the story being told through our lives; our own story–what it means to get to the holy hidden heart of it, how to tell a better story with the days we’re given, and how our stories intersect each other’s and connect to the Great Story.
See? I told you so. You must.
Q: Who’s going to be there?
A: Andrew Peterson (me), Jason Gray, Eric Peters, S.D. Smith, Pete Peterson, Evie Coates, Jonathan Rogers, Ron Block, Randall Goodgame, Andrew Osenga, Russ Ramsey, Travis Prinzi, Curt McLey, Stephen Lamb, and Thomas McKenzie. There are probably more that I’m forgetting. Oh, and YOU. (Because you must.)
Q: What do I need to do?
A: Click here to visit the official Hutchmoot 2010 website, where all your dreams will come true. You can read about the schedule, browse and buy the recommended reading for the retreat, and register.
That’s it. That’s the plan. The event will be held August 6-8 at Church of the Redeemer in Nashville. I really think there’s something to this story-meets-community idea. I know it’s enriched my understanding of the Gospel, deepened my imagination, and blessed me with dear friends. We’re excited about this next phase in the experiment, and look forward to mooting with you.