Keeping it Small: Hutchmoot and Tacos

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There’s this restaurant in East Nashville called Mas Tacos, right down the road from Cason Cooley’s home studio. Ben, Gully, Cason, and I walked there for lunch several times during the Light for the Lost Boy sessions, and I can tell you it’s some of the best Mexican food in Nashville. I can also tell you it annoyed me, for a couple of reasons.

First, they don’t take credit cards. These days—when even Waffle House takes credit/debit cards, when most folks I know don’t bother to bring much cash, when even regular dudes like me can take credit cards at my merch table—why in the world wouldn’t Mas Tacos? There are fees associated with it, sure, but isn’t it an inconvenience to the customers? Several times we wanted to eat there but couldn’t because I was footing the bill and didn’t have the cash. Your loss, Mas Tacos.

Secondly, their hours are a little weird. Like many of the restaurants in East Nashville, they’re closed on Sunday and Mondays. Due to invisible forces in the universe, this creates a fierce craving for Mas Tacos on Sundays and Mondays. Almost every Sunday after church I find myself thinking, “Oh! We should totally go to Mas Tacos—ugh. Nevermind.” There have also been several times when I wanted to take Jamie out to a simple, small dinner and headed towards Mas Tacos before I remembered that they’re only open for lunch (except on Fridays).

Because I’m a spouter, I spouted off about it to Cason. “Why wouldn’t they want to take credit cards and make it easier on me, the Almighty Customer, to pay for my food? If there’s a demand for business, why on earth wouldn’t they add to their hours?” Cason gently pushed back, as is his way, and said, “But the owners are interested in keeping their food local, in having their own lives, in keeping their business simple. What’s so wrong with being small?” Mas Tacos serves excellent food. Maybe part of the way they keep their food great, not to mention part of the way they maintain good customer service, is by virtue of their simplicity. Maybe their commitment to buying local vegetables and meats requires that they resist the American urge to grow, grow, grow, GROW. Maybe the very thing I like about that place would disappear if they gave in to my grumpiness, at which point I would be the first guy to say, “It’s too bad. Mas Tacos used to be great.”

I tell you this story in order to apologize to the many of you who didn’t get into Hutchmoot this year. As you may have read, we’ve determined over the last three years that part of what makes the weekend special is its smallness. If we grew too much we would forfeit the peaceful location at Church of the Redeemer in that leafy Nashville neighborhood, not to mention the potential for real, unhurried conversations to take place. “So why not do two?” some of you have asked. Good question. The truth is, Hutchmoot is an exhausting weekend for us. It’s all we can do to plan one a year, and the thought of doing it all twice might make Pete’s beard fall out. Doing a second one in a different city doesn’t work either, because so many of the speakers and artists live (literally) just down the road that it’s the only way we can afford to have the roster we do.

All that to say, we’ve thought about this quite a bit and have decided that, as with Mas Tacos, there are more important things than growth, more important things than profit. (Of course, there are Biblical principles such as tithing, sabbath, and jubilee which back up this idea.) I used to be irritated at Mas Tacos, but now I admire them for it. With every delicious bite I reap the benefits of their unconventional values. So as for Hutchmoot, we’re keeping it small. That doesn’t mean we don’t care about the good folks who couldn’t get in. We do, trust me. We’re excited and grateful that Hutchmoot and the Rabbit Room has resonated with so many, and we’re trying to sort out ways to serve everyone. But in the meantime, I want to preserve what makes Hutchmoot special. The Shire wouldn’t be the Shire anymore if they put in a McDonald’s. The last thing I want is for us to change everything to accommodate more people, then to read a comment card that says, “It’s too bad. Hutchmoot used to be great.”

Thanks for being patient with us. The Rabbit Room has been such a pleasant surprise at every turn, and we realize that none of this would be happening if not for you, dear readers. Thank you. God bless us, every one.

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In the meantime, there are areas where we hope to grow. We have some fun stuff in the pipeline, which we hope will be a blessing to you and us both. If you wanted to come to Hutchmoot this year but didn’t get a ticket, don’t forget to sign up for the waiting list (by sending an email to orders@rabbitroom.com); every year there were enough cancellations that quite a few on the list made it in.

 

Profile photo of Andrew Peterson

As a singer-songwriter and recording artist, Andrew has released more than ten records over the past fifteen years. His music has earned him a reputation for writing songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. He has also followed his gifts into the realm of publishing. His books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga.


52 Comments

  1. Chris

    I agree Andrew. I didn’t get in this year, but I don’t want Hutchmoot to change. To paraphrase Frodo, “I feel that as long as Hutchmoot lies behind, safe and comfortable, I shall find wandering more bearable; I shall know somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again.”

  2. CyndaP

    As another wannabe attendee, I also agree. It’s too special by far to allow it to become “super-sized.”

  3. Lori

    Lovely. And having just moved back to the small Virgnia town I grew up in, I completely understand that bigger isn’t always better.

  4. Dan R.

    A thought struck me the other day. I was thinking that no matter how many years I have actual schedule conflicts with Hutchmoot, a part of me always wants to try to go anyway, and feels like I’m missing out. It was that part that was saying things like ‘maybe this was your year,’ and ‘man, getting registered this year would have been so great and so unlikely it would’ve been like winning the lottery!’ And that’s when it hit me: have you all ever thought of doing some sort of lottery for Hutchmoot tickets? It may not improve the overall chances of any given person of getting in, but somehow it seems like a better alternative than leaving it up to the chance that the internet will work in your favor (which, it seems, was the state in which many people ended up this year). I’m sure this solution would have its own host of issues to deal with, but it seemed worth a suggestion.

  5. Amy L

    We might like the lottery idea, too. As long as we wouldn’t be left awkwardly deciding which of the two of us would get the ticket! So, if you go that route, make sure you can lotterize in pairs. We have a record of ten consecutive ties at rock-paper-scissors.

  6. aimee

    Now I definitely have a craving for the yet unknown taste of Mas Tacos, so the subliminal message of this post has succeeded. Dinner, whoops, lunch date with the husband at Mas Tacos. (seriously)

    Thanks to both you and Pete (and all the others) that you do what you do. I resonate with Chris’s quote from Frodo. The Rabbit Room community as a whole (all the bits and pieces and ways it’s trickled and flooded into our life in the last two years) has been transforming. And even though we didn’t get into Hutchmoot, it’s mostly nice to know that you are all out there, loving God and loving GREAT art, it took many lonely years to find out there were others on the same journey.

  7. Michael Crosswhite

    Totally agree. Stay small. Big stinks. However, don’t stay so small that you don’t take credit cards. That’s ridiculous.

  8. Jaime Gjerdingen

    I totally support keeping it small and am willing to step aside for a few years to make room for new people to experience this gift.

    One of the first thoughts I had on experiencing Hutchmoot was, “I hope they don’t grow big.” This was not so that others couldn’t be there; but just for the reasons that Andrew lays out in this article. I believe that the pull for ‘bigger is better’ ruins so many parts of our lives.

  9. Dan Foster

    Andrew, excellent post, not just as a defense for Hutchmoot, but also as a defense against the “grow” mindset which is so easy to imbibe in our culture (“this is good, if it gets bigger then it will get better!”). Yep, I find myself thinking that.

    By the way, kudos to Mas Tacos for closing on the Lord’s Day.

    I agree with your approach to Hutchmoot. I just want to say that I suggested the lottery approach in an e-mail to Pete more than a year ago, but I see now that when someone else named “Dan” suggests it, it’s a good idea 😉 I’m still in favor of that idea. If it works for the Boston Marathon (another small-by-design event), it can work for Hutchmoot.

    There’s other options too: maybe restrict folks from attending two years in a row (to give more people opportunities); maybe save out a few spots for people who win the “write an esssay on why you should come to Hutchmoot” contest.

    When I attended Hutchmoot 2010, I wondered how you could keep something so great from becoming huge and not so great. I guess the answer is, very intentionally, and not without pain.

  10. Loren Warnemuende

    Chris’s Frodo paraphrase is perfect, and was one of the reasons I felt peace about not registering this year. I see my world expanding before me, and so much is due to the value of a Hutchmoot and the ongoing Rabbit Room.

    And I was thinking of the lottery idea, too. A family camp we try to go to every Labor Day functions on that principle. It’s another of those beautiful, spiritual places that would be awful if it grew.

  11. Suzanne Tietjen

    I agree with small. I’ve only attended last year’s accidentally supersized Hutchmoot and the only improvement I could think of during the weekend was that it was too big (of course, I was part of that problem). I didn’t get to talk to as many people as I wanted to and we were smooshed up against each others the merch area. Otherwise – a taste of heaven.

    I’m looking forward to this year and will prayerfully consider future years. Don’t want to be a Moothog. I’m sure your team will come up with solutions that work.

    Blessings from the land of deep snow and deeper beauty.

  12. Jennifer

    I know what you mean….the forces invariably make me crave Chick-fil-a on Sunday afternoons.

    I had suggested a larger venue in an earlier post. I now officially retract it. “If it ain’t broke…” – you get the idea.

  13. Jake

    I also agree with maybe having a limit or 2 out of 3 years for a chance for new people to attend. It is frustrating for people that have never been able to go, while others have attended every year single year. I’m hoping to one day be able to make it out. I hope, due to the internet problems, that a lot of new people are able to attend this year!

  14. Libby

    I’m glad it’s staying small. One day it’ll be my turn and when it is I will be thankful for the opportunity for community has been preserved.

  15. Micah

    I’m actually kind of surprised that “Sharkey” didn’t try to open a McSauron’s franchise in Hobbiton. All those hungry Hobbits – location, location, location!

    And dittos to Chris et al. Even if I never ‘Moot again, knowing that such a thing exists will still bring a quiet, secure sweetness to my soul.

    Thanks, AP, for providing such a clear and compelling explanation of why it is the way it is.

  16. Peter B

    Yes, yes, and yes. Like Suzanne, we weren’t able to get in until last year, and somehow we got on the list again — and we so look forward to experiencing the less-crowded Hutchmoot we’ve heard about in years past (not that 2012 wasn’t amazing and life-changing, because it was).

    There are so many ways in which this big little community encourages me to grow and move into the wide, hurting world… if I never get another HM after this one, I will still rejoice with those who go and long to moot in eternity.

  17. April Pickle

    This makes my heart happy.
    And while Hutchmoot, like the number of some particular mugs I’ve seen pictures of, is remaining small, I’l like to note that the Rabbit Room is wonderfully and beautifully growing. This past year, with the addition of Rabbit Room Radio and the availability of podcasts (including Hutchmoot seminars) via itunes, it’s been more convenient than ever to enjoy just about all the tacos this place has to offer. So very grateful for the smallness, and the big-ness. Blessings on you guys who work so hard at both, and praise to the One from whom all these blessings flow.

  18. Brian

    Although I have never attended Hutchmoot(sniff, sniff) I totally agree on keeping it small and well… “moot”ish. One thing that would ease the pain and that others have suggested is to make more recordings available after the event. I know that logistics would prevent that in some cases but if only the main speakers were recorded it would be worth it. I would even pay cash for such a thing. 🙂

  19. KJ

    So.. really it’s ‘Les’ Tacos. Now I’m craving milky white nacho cheese on stone-ground corn chips fried to perfection.. oh, and the lottery idea is cool and when you enter, you just specify 1 or 2 tickets. If you win, no rock-paper-scissors to decide which one goes.

  20. Chinwe

    This post and the funny/supportive comments are why I love this community!

    @Suzanne: “Moothog” What a great word! 🙂

  21. Jud

    Well said, Andrew.

    Might I throw out there a bit of geographic factor in the selection process if a lottery-type system goes into effect? Admittedly I’m biased in this respect, but here me out. For those of us who (now) live far away from Nashville, Hutchmoot is the one chance we have per year to actually hang out with this community. For example, it’s virtually impossible for me to see BtLoG anymore because the show doesn’t make it to California and when Christimas comes my priority is family.

    Basically what I’m saying is that folks who live in proxmity to Nashville have numerous opportunities to do Hutchmooty things with Hutchmooty people throughout the year, so it sorta kinda feels like those who are far away should get first dibs.

    Just thoughts.

  22. Jon Sparks

    Alright, I love you Andrew and I love this community but I strongly disagree with this post. I understand that this is a mammoth undertaking and can’t imagine how exhausting it is for you to do but I don’t feel like the blessing should be limited.

    I am not an artist. I don’t even pretend that I have such ability. And so trying to get to Hutchmoot wasn’t for me, although I’m sure I would be blessed, but for my sister who would have been greatly encouraged by attending. But I do understand being renewed. Being with people of like mind and hearing God through the voice of others. Man, when that happens… my soul is fed. I pursue those times in a variety of ways for my career, my family, and my relationship with God. But hey, I’m a teacher/coach and those opportunities are much easier to find.

    Some of the best concerts I have ever been to have been the ones where there were very few people attending. The initimacy was fantastic. And after every one of those small coffee shop or empty bar shows, I remember saying to my absent friends “Oh you missed it. I was changed.” I didn’t hide the news to keep it small nor prevent the artist from gaining a bigger following. I couldn’t, I was emaninating a kind of energy. In fact, I’ve been back to see those same bands in much bigger venues with many more people and although it wasn’t the same, it moved me and blessed me in a different way. This is not a ticket to a ball game that we are trying to make scarce and therefore drive up the value. Hutchmoot isn’t Mas Tacos that is trying to create demand for its product and keep costs low. This isn’t something that you look back on and say, “I was there before they were big. I’ve been a fan since the beginning.” It’s about blessing people, renewing their fire. I want that opportunity for as many as can.

    I hope that it is a great time and I believe I will indirectly, via reading this site or experience the art that is inspired through Hutchmoot 2013, be blessed as well. It is a great and noble undertaking.

  23. Kristin Taylor

    I had breakfast with a friend this week and tried to sneakily pick up the bill while she went to the restroom. Trouble was, once I got the cashier, I forgot the restaurant didn’t take credit cards, so when my friend came back from the bathroom, I had to ask her to borrow $7 for the meal I was treating her and her daughter to. That’s real-life friendship right there.

  24. Leanne Bruno

    Dave and I ate at Mas Tacos last year when we were in town for Hutchmoot. Twice. In four days. It was that good. Nearly as good as the lovely friendships we’ve been able to make due to the Hutchmoot smallness.

  25. Tony Heringer

    “Frustration leads to discovery.” I heard that phrase many years back. In the case of Hutchmoot, my prayer is that this short experience would propagate itself beyond a single long weekend. That conclaves of like minded folk would gather in other places in a similar fashion all over the place. The fact that Hutchmoot was born out of the wonder of this online cyberpub makes me think that this is occurring and will continue to occur with each successive Hutchnoot. Thanks to Pete and the other folks who put on Hutchmoot, not only for the event, but more importantly the inspiration to go beyond it.

    Cheers!

  26. James Witmer

    Andrew, thanks for this post.
    Chris, I love that quote. It’s perfect.

    Jon, thanks for your graciousness in dissent. My job involves going to multiple (business) conferences every year, so I’m going to presume to weigh in, hoping it’s a useful perspective.

    I believe you agree that Hutchmoot would change if it were larger, but you don’t think it would matter. Here is why I think it would:

    I have been to excellent conferences. Delicious food. Thoughtful, motivating and challenging speakers. Great presentations. Decent music. Beautiful setting. And hundreds or thousands of people.

    At a big conference, you stick with the people you came with. You keep your eyes mostly to yourself. Why? Because the mass of humanity is overwhelming. You can’t possibly relate to all these people. You can’t even nod to all of them.

    It is like walking a city street versus a small town. In the city, you have to keep your eyes to yourself. In a small town, only a few people share the sidewalk. You have to make eye contact. And when you do, you usually find a friendly face.

    That, in my opinion, is the locally-sourced beef of Hutchmoot. We leave refreshed not really because of the (excellent) content, but because there was nowhere to hide. Nowhere to hide from our hurt, from our loneliness – or from loving eyes and hands through which the Hound of Heaven cornered us in a tiny, grace-filled place called Hutchmoot.

    We long to be really known, and loved anyway, but like rabbits we are terrified of feeling trapped. Make the corner too big, give us space to wiggle away from grace, and we just might. And that’s when we might say, without even knowing why, “It’s too bad. Hutchmoot used to be amazing.”

  27. Beth

    As a first-time attendee who honestly never thought she would get in, thank you for sticking with your convictions and keeping things small. As a stay-at-home-mom of a toddler, I’m really expecting this to be a time of renewal and inspiration.

  28. Lisa

    I live in Canada. No hope for attending, with the cost of getting there too big a mountain to climb. But that’s okay. The Rabbit Room has been such a lovely discovery for me that I am quite content to hang out here and nibble on the metaphorical crumbs dropping from the table. The blog posts, podcasts, and everything else you share is a feast amidst the famine… And if you record some of the sessions for purchase later (Leif Enger??? My rabbity nose is a-twitchin’!) I will be first in line to gobble them up….

  29. Kristi Rice

    Someday I’d love to attend Hutchmoot and when in East Nashville will definitely try Mas Tacos..Thanks 🙂

  30. Dan

    In sticking with the example – the tacos are special. They can’t be duplicated. Can’t we have pierogies sometime instead? Instead of an attempt at duplicating, (which would be like the moon competing with the sun when it can only really reflect) how about a different menu choice?

    I guess Jud’s comment is resounding to me. I don’t leave near Nashville, is Rabbitroom a Nashville community that can only be the “real” world in that geographic location. Can something occur elsewhere and incorporate the different local flavor. Yes, I know, that town could open its own restaurant.

    I don’t say this to slight the mammoth undertaking that Hutchmoot is. Or to imply that with a ½ day of planning one could happen in the church down the street. I type this as a prayerfully rack my brain for ways to soothe the hunger that the Rabbitroom has been feeding. It shouldn’t grow just for the sake of growing and become an empty food and even gorging doesn’t satisfy (thinking Turkish delight from Narnia).

    I also need to comment that I am typing as I think through this. A friend of mine once related about realizing that some people speak through their thinking, some sit quietly thinking and then speak. I seem to be in the first category.

  31. Dan Kulp

    (2nd attempt, my apologies if this shows up twice.) In sticking with the example – the tacos are special. They can’t be duplicated. Can’t we have pierogies sometime instead? Instead of an attempt at duplicating, (which would be like the moon competing with the sun when it can only really reflect) how about a different menu choice?

    I guess Jud’s comment is resounding to me. I don’t leave near Nashville, is Rabbitroom a Nashville community that can only be the “real” world in that geographic location. Can something occur elsewhere and incorporate the different local flavor. Yes, I know, that town could open its own restaurant.

    I don’t say this to slight the mammoth undertaking that Hutchmoot is. Or to imply that with a ½ day of planning one could happen in the church down the street. I type this as a prayerfully rack my brain for ways to soothe the hunger that the Rabbitroom has been feeding. It shouldn’t grow just for the sake of growing and become an empty food and even gorging doesn’t satisfy (thinking Turkish delight from Narnia).

    I also need to comment that I am typing as I think through this. A friend of mine once related about realizing that some people speak through their thinking, some sit quietly thinking and then speak. I seem to be in the first category.

  32. Carl

    Dan- Along the lines of a different menu choice, I think a possibility worth mentioning here in the RR is the 1st ever Escape To The Lake (Lake Geneva, WI) being put on by Under the Radar. Maybe I’m stealing someone’s future post here by mentioning it 🙂

    http://radarradio.net/blog/utrs-huge-music-event-for-summer-2013

    (By the way, this week’s special guest on their excellent show/podcast is none other than Mr. Andrew Peterson).

    Some of the very contributors/favorites of this website will be there (Eric Peters, Jill Phillips)!

    Like I said, this is a different “menu option” than Hutchmoot, but it could be a nice alternative for those unable to attend the ‘Moot.

  33. Chris Whitler

    And even though, in this post’s metaphor, I am the guy who showed up on Sunday morning looking for tacos with my credit card in hand, I whole heartedly agree. Keep it small. It’s beautiful and I’m glad I got in on one (even if I did sneak in under a computer glitch).

    I suggested a lottery in my comments last year and I still think it would be a good idea and also, half the tickets set aside for first timers. Or perhaps you could come out with a special Rabbit Room chocolate bar with 130 golden tickets spread across the country.

    You guys make beautiful things and you make me want to do the same.

    So, I won’t be at the square peg show but I can play songs for my friends. I won’t be at your lovely tables, but I can set some of my own. So, moots all around. Have a great time this year!

  34. Brian West

    Maybe I’m mis-remembering, but I have a vague memory that when this site started up, it was hoped that the existence of the site would somehow encourage the formation of real-life gatherings of like-minded people in various geographic locations, not just Nashville. I know I’ve wished I was better able to try and create/discover thoughtful, creative Christian community where I am, but so far it hasn’t been enough of a priority for me to get out and do what needs to be done for such a thing.

    It sounds like Hutchmoot is unique enough that it couldn’t, and wouldn’t, be replicated anywhere else. And maybe that’s just the limitation that it is–we are finite beings in a limited existence. And just like none of us can be or know Tolkien, Lewis, Flannery O’Connor, or Rich Mullins, so not all of us can come to a Hutchmoot. That’s just the limitation of our existence; I’m just glad we can hear/read some of it.

  35. Suzanne Tietjen

    Wow, James, you said what I think exactly!

    I think the need to SEE each other, to practice being present over the infinity-spiced moments of one weekend was life changing for me.

    I get quiet and hide in crowds. This is not compatible with community. Or learning to love.

    Small is good. (But I hope to host a mini-moot offshoot someday).

  36. whipple

    I must say that I am grateful to hear of those who have gone, or are going, to Hutchmoot and subsequently take into account the vast number of folks who have not been able to go. It reminds me of the unwritten Southernism of never taking the last muffin out of the basket. There is always the sacrifice of not sating one’s tongue.

    With endeavors like this, surrounding “under the radar” types of artists and those whose Kingdom-flavored work favors the intimate audience, a cult following can develop. This is great news for the artists themselves, as it’s helpful and encouraging to be surrounded by people who value what you do. It also means that a token group of people are certain to show up at every event. Rare are the cases when we don’t appreciate this, but, like talking M&Ms, they do exist.

    I realize this may not be the case with HM, especially with that great equalizer, Internet Bandwidth, and his associate minions. Still, the consideration of others is a beautiful blessing when there are only a few muffins in the basket.

    To those who practice such things, thank you. And yes, small is good.

  37. Julie Silander

    Ok, friends. This has always been a place rich in love, grace, and giving folks the benefit of a doubt. So I’d ask for the same. I feel like I’m going out on a bit of a limb here.

    First, I’m deeply grateful for this place and you people. I stumbled upon RR three years ago and stumbled into HM two years ago (wasn’t even on the wait list, but there were seats to open up in the final days) and my life is very different because of it). I had no idea how significant that seemingly small decision would be. The folks who labor to make RR and HM happen have offered a taste of glory. We’re all grateful and want more.

    But it’s interesting to me that we’re debating the question of “should HM get bigger” as if it were our question to answer. Pete and Andrew have been given the incredible gift of vision for this community. It seems to me that we should trust them to steward it as they see fit. Personally, I agree with keeping it smaller for all the reasons mentioned above. But if they had made a different decision, it’s their decision to make.

    Perhaps the better question to ask is “How can I take this good gift given to me and give back to those in my everyday world?” Some of you have already done this, and some are clearly kicking around ideas. Pete and Andrew (et al) continue to give abundantly and sacrificially. But at the end of the day, they are not responsible for the growth/enrichment of this community. We all have a responsibility to be stewards of the good gifts given to us and to be creators of opportunity, not merely consumers.

    Thanks for grace, friends. My life is richer because of you.

  38. Julie Silander

    ps – I sure didn’t mean to infer that we shouldn’t be having the conversation at all… Rather, that we need to be aware of the posture of heart while doing so. No doubt, we’re all in danger of making good things (very, very good things) into ultimate things. Perhaps limiting size of HM is another good reminder.

  39. Alister

    I am an interloper in this thread, and will also be such at the Event that it is discussing. I am a fly on the Hutch wall, simultaneously staring at thousands of different things as I try to decide how (if at all) to contribute. But I hope that I can go one better than the average fly, and actually focus on One. No, that is not a mistake. I didn’t mean to type One thing. Christ is not a thing. He is EVERYTHING.

    My naivety may be great, but I at least realize that it would be hopeless to seek total doctrinal unity at a gathering such as Hutchmoot. To be honest, I am scared of diversity within Christian circles, as such a thing requires me to be constantly measuring (is that more acceptable than judging?) an endless array of ideas. Judging (ooops) ONE viewpoint is tough enough!

    Why am I saying this? Quite simple. There is One that we ALL have to agree to focus on. There is One that HAS to be central to everything that is said, done and thought at Hutchmoot. So, based on that – what should the future of these Events be?

    Matthew records a moment in the life of Jesus where He stared out over crowds of people, and had compassion on them. He could see straight into every heart and brain laid out before Him. They were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd. Different translations use different words to describe these poor sheep. Here are some of them:

    Helpless
    Scattered
    Troubled
    Harassed
    Distressed
    Wandering
    Harried
    Lying
    Faint
    Dispirited
    Beaten Down
    Hurting
    Confused
    Aimless
    Cast Aside…

    Any of those words sound familiar to you right now? A little close to home, perhaps? Some may disagree, but I say Praise GOD for the seemingly endless array of Bible translations. They allow a discerning Christian to examine the same events from many different cultural and temporal perspectives. And, when faced with a list of words such as the one above, they allow a discerning Christian to personally contextualize the narrative. They allow a discerning Christian to realize with potentially stunning results that – even after being born anew – we spend most of our time curled up on the floor of our own little universe behaving like weary, worn out, shepherd-less sheep.

    There is no doubt in my mind (from what I have read about previous Hutchmoot gatherings) that these events are times of refreshing, renewal, and loving collaboration between a small cross section of God’s rabbits. To attend ‘moot is to lay aside self and timidity long enough to truly connect with one another in a way that means far more than mere words can express. So songs are composed, blogs are written, friendships blossom, and the rabbits feel a little bit more in tune with the rest of the worldwide warren. But to TRULY receive lasting, permanent benefit from a gathering like Hutchmoot, we all need to realize something. It is not about us. It is not about music. It is not about books, pipes, tacos or chinwags.

    Hutchmoot is about Jesus. About Him, and for Him.

    Something good and possibly even great has been gifted to us. It needs to be shared with as many weary and worn out rabbits as possible. If Jesus is TRULY central to this ministry, then the more the merrier. No, the full experience as it occurs in Nashville cannot be replicated around the country and the world, but why would we want it to be? Why not slowly start expanding this vision and allowing regional events to sprout up? A volunteer here, a volunteer there, taking on the considerable burdens of organizing and planning local ‘moots. Each one taking on a local flavor, with local gifts and talents being offered.

    Beginning to sound like a church planting movement, doesn’t it? What if the first Christians had said “we can’t let this thing grow in case it gets watered down or loses its uniqueness’? CHRIST is what makes His church unique, and He is more than capable of keeping something like Hutchmoot unique as well.

    Are WE capable of focusing on Him strongly and deeply enough to allow Him to use us to reach more and more of those weary rabbits we see around us? His Church is struggling, trampled on, harassed, beaten down, weary, worn out… The sheep already IN the fold need the Shepherd MORE than those wandering around the desert.

    Let this thing GROW!

  40. Leanne Bruno

    I appreciate Julie’s wise words. Let’s trust the folks that make it happen, and respond as we see fit, being good stewards of the gifts given us.

  41. Patrick J. Moore

    I’m imagining the stampede if Mas Tacos only opened their doors for a few seconds once a year to the the first 130 people. If their tacos are in such great demand charging more $$ might bring down the numbers trying to get in. But they don’t want to cater to the rich… Yet this frenzy to get in the door is so disturbing it seems something should be done about it. I agree, It’s their business, so they can run it how they like… but what sort of customers are they going to get when that door opens at 11am on a Tuesday? Who is going to be camped out and ready to pounce on a taco at that exact time? Oh, and they find out that it was the back door that opened, not the front door. And none of those 130 people knew if they were getting in or not before the back door opened? No one had inside connections giving them the hook-up? They just happened to be in the right place at the right time? Smells like fish tacos to me. I’d have better chances of getting in if it were a lottery of some kind. Or If there were some qualifications, like you have to be earning income as an artist- that would disqualify me, but that would be easier to accept than not being in the right place at the right time, or not having the luck of getting my name drawn from the barrel of thousands.

  42. Tony from Pandora

    I was drawn to this website since it’s inception. I’ve been unable to attend Hutchmoot any year. I have an actual day job without the ability to roam the internet for tickets to anything. It’s frustrating to be so into this community and not be able to be considered for attendance.

    Then I go to church and hear the stories of the 25 people in our church, teens and adults, who just got back from building a school for a month in Haiti…and about the kids they saw and the poverty and filth they live in… and the joy in Christ they have!

    And then I say to myself, “Self, shut up and get over it. Quit being so selfish.”

    The Rabbit Room is not about me… Hutchmoot is not about me… There is no ‘I’ in Hutchmoot anyway! (though there is in ‘RabbIt Room, but you get the point… and the two o’s in ‘moot’ may look like eyes, but that’s not the same as ‘I’, but now I’m digressing… what was I talking about? Nevermind…)

    I love you all

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