Hutchmoot Post #1


And lo, in the year 2010, an idea stepped out of the realm of theory and into the realm of time and space.

I’ve been sitting here trying to think of what to say about the weekend, but my heart and brain are still so jam-packed I don’t know how to do it. I’m waiting on some pictures from Grant Howard (the guy with the fancy camera who walked around all weekend) before I write an official play-by-play, but in the meantime I thought I’d ask you guys to post your thoughts. What did you like best about the weekend? What were the surprises? What did you learn? Did you make any connections with future good/best friends?

If you have any photos, would you mind emailing them to me at I’ll pick the best ones and include them in a post for everyone to see.

What a weekend. I’m grateful to each of you. Stay tuned for info about next year.

The Proprietor

Andrew Peterson is a singer-songwriter and author. Andrew has released more than ten records over the past twenty years, earning him a reputation for songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. As an author, Andrew’s books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga, released in collectible hardcover editions through Random House in 2020, and his creative memoir, Adorning the Dark, released in 2019 through B&H Publishing.


  1. JJ

    What I learned? I would register for Hutchmoot 2011 today if I could and start planning the trip to ensure I don’t miss it like I did this year. 🙂

  2. MargaretW

    I think the most telling part of the weekend was in the closing session where one attendee stood up and said, “I didn’t know if I wanted to be a Christian anymore, but after experiencing this, I may reconsider.” (Forgive me if I butcher what she said exactly) Her statement brought tears to my eyes. The sense of community fostered by the hosts was rejuvinating to my soul, to say the least.

    Evie Coates rocks! Best. Food. Ever! I think everyone agreed. I want the recipe for those brownies.

    The Counting Stars concert blew my mind. I can’t get the image of the drummer out of my head. He was so fluid. And the music all around was amazing. I had never heard many of the artists there. Holy Toledo! Andrew Osenga is my guitar hero and Eric Peters has a brilliant voice. It’s hard to single them out because they were all so awesome!

    But the best parts were the panels where we got down to the nitty gritty theological/literature discussions. My particular favorite was S.D. Smith/Pete Peterson, and Travis Prinzi talking about being perfected in weakness. Just being in the room with those guys took my breath away.

    Oh, and Andrew Peterson and Ron Block did okay too. 😉

    My big take away… I’m not alone! I didn’t expect to feel such comraderie and as I listened to The Square Peg Alliance share their own heartbreaks and frustrations I was comforted to know I’m not the only one.

    Andrew Peterson has allowed all of us to join his little “Fellowship.” I did not experience one whif of exclusivity. I feel honored to have been part of it and look forward to future gatherings.

  3. Bret Welstead

    I hope I can make it next year! If you’re planning the same time of year and you foolishly want to schedule it according to this guy’s schedule, the only weekend I can’t make it is August 12-14.


    I hope it was a great hutchmoot, and I look forward to joining you one day.

  4. Amy @ My Friend Amy

    Thanks again for such a great weekend, for being so generous with your time and so gracious with your lives and hearts. I don’t know if I’ve made a new best friend, but I certainly made new friends, I hope, and was encouraged beyond measure.

    And thanks for the music. We get it so rarely here..this kind of wonderful music so I really enjoyed it.

  5. JJ

    Leanne: Excellent blog post! The more I hear about it, the more I feel like I missed something special. My heart actually aches a little, which is something I didn’t expect. Hearing that Walt Wangerin gave tips to writers (or budding writers like myself), was especially hard to hear that I missed.

    Hearing about the community that The Rabbit Room has formed (which came to life at Hutchmoot) is sweet. It’s not a community of “the elite”. It’s a group of people aware of their need for grace and their reliance on that grace to help them create art. And even their need for each other to encourage one another to continue in the gifts God has given them, to the Glory of God.

    What a sweet time it must have been.

  6. Abbye West-Pates

    Hutchmoot was too rich for too many words, but…

    something is true:

    “…the joy in the journey is enough to make a grown man cry.”

    Thanks for following through with this!

  7. Shelley

    JJ, I’m with you in the booking for next year right away since I wasn’t able to attend this year either. I’d bring my husband (who is writing electronic music again), my dear friend who is a visual artist and her husband whose a very witty writer and backyard chicken farmer. Over the weekend I had two opposing emotions: 1) self-pity and therefore tried to deny all thoughts of ‘missing out’ and 2) a profound sense of calm, knowing that those in attendance needed to be there (at Hutchmoot) and the Lord tenderly showed me on Sunday how I was needed here at the church plant that my family is attempting to help cultivate. The Lord has His crazy perfect way of timing and placing us exactly where we are supposed to be.

    So, I guess, even though I wasn’t present, please know that just the heart of collaboration and community presented at Hutchmoot 2010 has inspired this young daughter of the King to continue writing, continue striving in all creative endeavors.

  8. Cory M

    In a word, confidence.
    First of all, the curtain was torn a bit. Most of the influential artists in my life might as well be fictional characters – I have no perspective on anything resembling their real existence. The Hutchmoot helped me to bridge that gap with some amazing artists: some of my favorite songwriters and authors.
    I don’t bring this up to merely say, “oh, they’re real people too.” But to say, “huh, maybe I can do that.”
    The second thing that blew me away was the vulnerability that each artist must allow. To bear your soul and then ask someone (everyone) to take a look. Wow. There were so many people doing exactly that this weekend – it again made me think, “I can do that”
    Thirdly, just walking up and meeting people. I didn’t know anyone there, so the only thing to do was to walk up to someone and read their name off of their nametag, followed by The Standard List of Hutchmoot Questions: (“Where are you from?” “What brought you here?” “How did you describe this thing to people who asked what you were doing this weekend?” etc). Someone introduced himself to me and I thought, “I can do that.”
    Lastly, Evie’s cooking. Holy Toledo, it was amazing. One of the many thoughts while enjoying dinner Saturday night was, “I can not do that!”

  9. JJ

    Shelley: I forget God’s sovereignty more than I’d like to admit (I guess I just admitted it). I was definitely in the “I’m totally missing it! And so and so isn’t!” Instead of rejoicing for those people who were able to make it, I was feeling sad that I missed it and grumbling to my wife and anyone who could listen (although they were excited to hear about Hutchmoot’s existence).

    Lord forgive my grumbling.

  10. Aaron Roughton

    I am still processing this weekend. Engineers need time to think. But I will tell you this. I didn’t make connections this weekend. I made friends. I didn’t poke holes in the facades that people put up in on-line interactions. I confirmed that you people are authentic and genuine. I didn’t just hear brilliant lectures or beautiful songs. I was pointed graciously toward the love and mercy of Jesus Christ by a bunch of “heapers of heaps and pilers of piles.”

    And one other thought, I cannot imagine what the experience would have been like if my wife Lindi hadn’t been there. I am pretty sure she changed my identity among RR’ers from “that guy who tries to be funny” to “Lindi’s husband.” I just want you to know I’m cool with that.

  11. Dan Kulp

    I’ve got part 2 of some almost organized thoughts about it blogged.

    There’s so much to still mentally unpack. But certainly one of the most impactful weekends of my life. I had very high expectations and they were blown away. The word providence keeps coming to mind.

  12. Jud

    Like I said Sunday, my favorite (and most unexpected) part of the weekend was getting a chance to make small connections with such a wide variety of folks, yet finding much we had in common (“You too? I thought I was the only one”)

    It’s not my intent at all to derail any conversation here, but I’d sure like to continue in some small way to be bumping into the lives of the people I met, and Facebook is such a great tool for that. Unfortunately one thing I didn’t end up with is last names, so tracking (i.e. stalking) people down is difficult. For those interested in “friending”, post a brief item on the Rabbit Room page on Facebook and say hello.

    P.S. Any Hutchmooters fans of classic scifi (e.g. Asimov, Bradbury, etc)? I asked around, but didn’t find anyone with whom I could share my love for “The Last Question”.

  13. Kim Watkins

    I agree with the above posts: I felt an overwhelming sense of “I’m not alone!” and “Maybe I CAN create something worthwhile for the Kingdom.” Since so many of us felt that way, I’m looking forward to seeing what this community creates. Let’s share, okay?

    A huge thanks to the presenters and attendees who showed me their humanity, their brokenness, and their hope this weekend. I am changed, for the better.

    And I’m also excited to see the effects of last weekend on this blog going forward. I know that I may actually hit “post” after typing a comment in the future.

  14. JJ

    Kim: I concur with sharing. I’d love to see what other people here have created. I’ve participated in Nanowrimo the last few years (I finished in 06 and 09) and would love a critique on my two short 50,000 word novels. I’d love to read what others have written as well. I wonder what the best way would be to share what we’ve written, or whatever else people have created.

  15. Jud

    JJ: Regarding sharing our work, dare I (again) suggest Facebook? Not a perfect solution, but it’s easy and pretty much already up and running.

  16. JJ

    Jud: But that would mean I would need to reactivate my Facebook account. 😉 If the group settles with that, I will of course succumb to the pressure. But I will likely delete pretty much everything else except Rabbit Room folks and my family.

  17. Dan Foster

    – how whenever I tell someone about this weekend it doesn’t come out sounding nearly as amazing as it was (despite my Hutchmoot attendance, a storyteller I’m not)
    – how Walt Wangerin left me speachless
    – how Evie Coates’s food made me feel like I was eating at home, and my wife is a fantastic cook
    – how, for some reason admist the litany of humurous quotes all weekend, Andy Gullahorn’s line during the concert “well, that was OK, Ron” sticks with me most – perhaps because Ron’s playing was so mystically beautiful, and we all knew it
    – how all these famous people are folks just like me
    – how thankful I am I went, and that my wife came with me
    – how good it was to see an old friend and a dear friend again, and to meet so many interesting people
    – how hard it is to get back to doing real work, even two days later (actually 3 – I had to skip the Sunday activities)

    Thank you

  18. Dan Foster

    PS almost forgot to mention…
    – how I nearly rear-ended Andrew Peterson leaving Church of the Redeemer for his own concert on Friday night. Yeah, THAT would have been awkward (but it was kind of his fault, and I love it that he drives a dented Subaru; did I mention that these famous people are just like us)

  19. Sir Jonathan Andrews

    Song of the week soon? Can I just say that everyone DOES love The Camel Song. I do love an inside joke with friends.

  20. JJ

    Oh, Twitter is another option for Facebook haters (like me). I’m jjmahoney3 on Twitter. I’d love to follow you fine folks.

  21. Kyle Keating

    I thought for a community committed to artistic excellence, the Hutchmoot itself was an example of seeking to do each and every aspect of the weekend excellently. From the music (excellent) to the discussions (very excellent) to the food (beyond excellent Evie!), everything was done well. Nothing felt thrown in there just for the sake of doing it.

    But like so many others, I do think the most lasting impression from the weekend will be the deep sense of community and belonging that I found there. It wasn’t like I shared my whole life story with anyone, but it was almost as though I didn’t have to. There was a mutual understanding from everyone I met that we are part of a Story bigger than ourselves, a Story that we often fail to live up to, and yet that it is in our failings that we often most clearly see the Story in all its beauty.

    The gospel was on display throughout the weekend, not in an explicit “now let’s talk about the gospel” kind of way, but in a way that made it perhaps even more clear that the Truth of it is a part of our very identities as individuals and as a community. It is the Truth of the gospel, God’s Story, that lets us gather around a table full of Moroccan chicken and swap stories, share our lives, and be community. And that was the greatest of blessings.

  22. Laura Peterson

    Here are two thoughts I’ve managed to unpack so far:
    1) As Russ Ramsey was talking during the closing thoughts and thanking AP and others for gathering all these people who love and appreciate the Story, he said something like “I want to remind all of you, you can do this. You can gather people around a common story” and I found myself having to stare at the ceiling to keep from crying. I think that was something that I really needed to hear – that I can help point people to the Truth through the medium that I love most. I’m not a writer nor an artist, but everything that I heard and saw this weekend is something that I can SHARE…and I love sharing! I’m going on a family vacation next week, and all the books/CDs I bought and all my Hutchmoot notes are coming with me, to be shared with my family and anyone else who might be hanging out on the Black River in upstate NY, and willing to listen.
    2) Laura Barton and I had a few conversations this weekend along the lines of “well, should we stay and chinwag or get more sleep?” or “well, should we sleep in this morning or go to hear Father Thomas preach?” or “well, should we stay after the author talk, or hit the road right now?”. That last one was rough, but around the 2 AM mark on the way home we were knee-deep in Hutchmoot reflections and NONE of them were anything like “Well, I paid to be at this weird thing so I’m gonna stick it out and get my money’s worth” or “Wow, I wish we were forty-five minutes closer to home right now and hadn’t stayed for that boring time of reflection and gratitude.” (Laura B. gets credit for that last sentence, not me.) Very grateful to have been there.

  23. kelli

    First of all…thank you so much to each of you for a beautiful weekend! And especially to AP, Pete, Evie, Kate and all of you who worked so hard to plan and execute this amazing thing that happened!

    I, too, am still decompressing this past weekend. Everything about this weekend was woven with beauty, honesty, truth and ultimately drew me closer to the Creator.

    After a year of many deep and painful thumbprints from the Sculptor, I came to this weekend tired and somewhat emptied. I left (still tired!!) but filled. Filled with the stories of others, the story of myself and most importantly…the Author of Story.

    Kim…I like your idea of sharing our art here. I was also stirred to reconnect with my art in order to shape the chaos of my own life and those around me. One thing I wish we could’ve experienced a bit more of was sharing our art forms with everyone. Though I do some writing and song-writing, I also do some work with pieces of nature, and I am raising and homeschooling 2 beautiful girls. All of that is art. My husband is very much an artist, but he does not write. Though he is a storyteller, most of his art streams forth through his hands. He carves wood, he sculpts with clay, he sketches, he forms things from “almost” nothing.

    I also heard someone mention they use the pages of old books and form something (I didn’t hear what it was!!). I want to experience others through their art. I want to be stirred by them and see my Maker through their eyes. I want to get ideas from others to better my own art. I hope we can all share this:)

    Evie’s art is not only the pieces of work that were hanging on the wall (which were amazing, I might add), but her art was thoroughly enjoyed by each one of us in each bite we took. I had never experienced food in the way I did this weekend. Thank you, Evie!!

    And Laura Peterson, I loved what you said about sharing things being your art! I do some of that as well, and isn’t it wonderful?! Really…life is art, and I am so thankful that we were each created with a special way to express our Maker and tell others his truth.

    And now I’ve gone on and on:) And there’s so much more to think through!!

    Oh…and…to the person who mentioned Muppets in Space and the Gonzos…I totally agree! It was so good to be surrounded by other Gonzos this weekend. I think that played such a huge role in how quickly we all connected. The foundation of not having to explain who our favorite authors are, to not have to define living a creative life, etc…those roots were there, and we were able to branch out quickly and beautiful from that.

    Can’t wait ’til next year:)

  24. John Haney

    So much going through my mind about all this. I echo the desire to see what YOU are creating, whoever You are reading this. Please share whatever it is. I’d love to see this incorporated as a Hutchmoot 2011 thing, but why wait? After all, isn’t that what Walt challenged us to do? It’s risky to try to tell The Great Story through our words (music/art/etc.), but you just might save a life.

  25. andrew mackay

    What a great weekend! I’m amazed by just how frequently discussion of story led to discussion of the Story (capital s intentional). I went into the weekend hoping to learn about story telling from storytellers and songwriters. I ended the weekend learning more about the gospel and my soul than I did about storytelling, and I learned a whole lot about storytelling. I left very tired, but with my soul very refreshed. Thanks to all who were involved in making this such a great event.

  26. Leigh McLeroy

    Seeing RR “incarnated” was a lesson in Trinity for me. When the Son of God took on flesh, life took on another dimension altogether. Through Him, we are connected to God the Father, and to God the Spirit. RR “jumped off the page” for me this weekend and became fleshed out and real. There were too many touches of the Spirit to count, from Walt Wangerin’s opening words that took my breath away (“I had two mothers”) — because I do, too, and hardly anyone knows…to the unseen and unknown connections with at least half a dozen folks I’d never met, to words and music and food and beauty…it was amazing. My only regret: somewhere between the hotel and returning my rental car, I was separated from Pete’s signed book, and the lovely piece of Evie’s artwork I bought on Sunday. Pray that Loews or Enterprise discovers my lost treasure and returns it, would you please?

  27. Scott Rinehart

    Hutchmoot was amazing. It so reminded me of C.S. Lewis’ comment: “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
    It was wonderful to be in the midst of so many “What! You too”s. I spent half an hour at dinner Saturday night, sitting across the table from Travis Prinzi, discussing Harry Potter. That’s not something that usually happens amongst the Christians in my area. I proudly wore my “What ‘Chu Tolkien About” t-shirt and instead of attempts to ignore the nerd in the room I actually received “love the shirt” comments. I agreed with the one woman’s thoughts about Gonzo. We truly were a bunch of “whatevers” who found each other.
    Hutchmoot truly was a community. I’ve been to a lot of conferences where the Christian “celebrities” (the speakers, organizers, etc.) were apart from the crowd of conference goers. You would never see or talk to them off-stage. At Hutchmoot, I joined in dinner table discussions with complete strangers whom I later discovered were the “celebrities” of the Rabbit Room (I’m very new to the RR…don’t know everyone yet). I was and still am amazed at the authentic community. No one was above anyone else.
    To know that there is a community (wide spread as we are) that values the redemptive and life changing power of story, that sees how God moves through story to infuse our imaginations with His wonder, His beauty; that’s an amazing thing. Hutchmoot was definitely about finding community and being inspired and strengthened by that community to continue boldly and creatively in God’s work. Thank you to everyone for being there, being yourselves, and being an honest community.

  28. Ashley Barber

    I spent all of yesterday driving home from Nashville remixing the weekend in my head and dreaming of how to do the things I was inspired towards. Then I spent much of today dissatisfied with my daily life but realized that is ok. I want to hold on to that dissatisfaction to motivate me to keep thinking bigger better thoughts and I hope (plan!), pursue them. One in particular that surprised me, I want community. I thought I was doing ok without it and really, I was but I want to do better. Thanks for modeling that, RR folk. I’d love to see you again next year.

  29. Thomas McKenzie

    Boy, did you all stir up some good stuff. Everyone at Church of the Redeemer has been asking me about Hutchmoot and the Rabbit Room, and I’ve had lots of opportunities to share with folks in my congregation.

    It was such a privilege to be part of Hutchmoot, and a great honor to be able to host it. The folks behind the scenes did a remarkable job of taking care of details and cleaning things up. Pete and Andrew and Evie and Kate and all the rest worked their tails off. All involved displayed real servant hearts, both to those who came and to our congregation.

    I love the Rabbit Room!

  30. Drew Zahn

    I’m still on the road; I suspect I’ll be the last Hutchmooter to get get home when I finally return to Iowa on Friday. But I’ve got my book full of notes and thought I’d share some of my favorite quotes from the ‘Moot:

    – “Readers are hungry for the moment when the miraculous seems the most reasonable thing in the world” – Pete Peterson

    – “The few real moments of clarity in my life came when the child in me was most awake” – Andrew Peterson

    – “You can’t ‘serve the work’ if you are frenetically trying to get your identity from it” – Ron Block

    – “If your agenda is to redeem the culture, the culture will smell the agenda. Creating something beautiful is the only hope of the culture noticing.” – Andrew Peterson

    – “Christ is the Word, and everywhere he goes, stories kick up in the dust where he walks.” – Andrew Peterson

    – “I’ve written books that didn’t hurt, and to tell you the truth, they’re not all that good.” – Jonathan Rogers

    – “This is what shapers do for those who have neither universe, nor personhood, nor name: We weave the world around them.” – Walt Wangerin

    – “I was longing for a storyteller to make my tale turn out all right.” – Sarah Clarkson

    – “You will love me (God), when you live what I (God) wrote for you.” – Ashley Elizabeth Graham

    I have a few others, but for all my fellow rabbits and Gonzos, that’ll have to do for now.

  31. Canaan Bound

    Please, please, PLEASE let us know when Hutchmoot 2011 is going to be. I’ll take off work RIGHT NOW to be there!!!

    Sad to have missed it….but I hope to live vicariously through all who attended by reading the posts above…

    (Is it possible to live vicariously through many persons at once? Can one even live vicariously through a single person if it is a past event? Who knows….)

  32. Allison

    So, Gaines and I kind of went to Hutchmoot as an anniversary trip (8 years today!) and it felt like a culmination of all our shared interests in one place — music, books, theology, art. Plus, since an Andy concert originally brought us together, well, it just felt right. I mean, our first date was babysitting Aedan and Jesse when they were teeny-weeny little things and seeing them all grown up and mature (Aedan sitting so attentively through the morning sessions! Jesse losing a tooth!) was just cool. It made us miss our own boys, but also hope that we can bring them up to be like that — lovers of the outdoors and avid book lovers and also be able to shoot a tiny yellow bird with a pellet gun at the age of 10. And then roast and eat it. Yeah.

    What did we like best? EVERYTHING. Okay, so maybe getting to hear Mr. Wangerin is high on the list, as is Andy’s release concert, and all the things everyone else already wrote about, especially the food. Actually, Evie inspired me to experiment more with cooking and even if she doesn’t post the recipes I’m going to try to replicate that tomato-olive chutney thing this week. Yum.

    I learned that the most important thing I am doing right now is raising two boys. Thanks Jamie (by way of Andrew’s comments on Friday night). The rest of the sessions and songs and sermon just confirmed that for me. The excellent example of Hutchmoot and all that went into it also made me want to live my life in such a way that I savor everything, from reading stories to our boys or just making dinner. I think AP talked about this in his G-Mac session, but every moment can be transcendent.

    The biggest surprise? That was the least awkward I’ve ever felt at a conference/event in my life. Even if I made a fool of myself by putting my foot in my mouth or talking too much or gushing exceedingly no one seemed to mind. It’s like we all felt comfortable enough in our own skin and in the fact that we all liked the same stuff that there was no need to put on any pretenses. Also, I was surprised by how much I was moved by both Walter’s talk and Thomas’ sermon. Good stuff, y’all.

  33. Terry K

    I came as an appreciator of art and story in its many forms, not so much a creator. And I was blessed greatly. I think one of the things that was prevalent in the original Rabbit Room was very much in evidence at the Hutchmoot: Laughter! From The Camel Song to Jason’s fan favorite “Tune Your Guitar!” and for so much of the weekend, a lot of fun was had by all. But there were also many moving moments as well. A central one for me was during the Story panel when Thomas, who we feel we know so well from some of his zany movie reviews, got choked up sharing the Brennan Manning story about the Russian priest who declared in the midst of atheistic propaganda “Alleluia! Christ is risen!” which caused the people to respond “Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!” and so beautifully illustrated the power of the Gospel.
    All I know is that you better get a bigger venue for next year because I’m sure this thing is gonna really grow. Well done good and faithful servants!

  34. luaphacim

    I also recently blogged about Hutchmoot — specifically, about how my plans to go were foiled.

    Like JJ, I feel that I missed out on something very special — I look forward to reading all about it from those of you who made it! 🙂

  35. Breann

    Because of my time spent at the Hutchmoot, I am “learning to see; learning to speak” (a phrase Russ and Jonathan suggested as a name for the O’Connor/Dillard session). I am so thankful for how the Rabbit Room community is teaching me to walk through life with my eyes open. I like how Russ described it as opening the doors and being shown the bank robbery division. It’s all more intricate than anyone could have ever imagined. And it’s my terrifyingly honorable calling as a children’s minister to pay attention to what I see, to the beauty and brokenness, the mystery and madness, the holiness and horror, and then, to give it shape by speaking it, by telling the Truth. Thank you, Hutchmooters for modeling what it means to tell the Truth with authenticity, humility, and care.

    The sneak attack for me came during one of the panels. I sat toward the back of the auditorium and looked out over a crowd of people with various backgrounds, upbringings, and addresses and was struck by the thought that of all time, we were together at this time, and of all places, we were together at this place. Together we laughed. Together we wept. And together our craving hearts cried out in a prayer richer than words. If this was a taste of what communion with God and others will one day be, I ache for that day.

    Rarely have I felt so holistically cared for as this weekend. I was nourished physically (thanks Evie!), mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This frozen heart melted when it was wrapped in the blanket of community.

    So as I struggle, sweat, pace, pray, and prepare to tell the Story to the K-5th grade this Sunday, may I pour into them out of the abundance of what you all have poured into me. May I love as I have been loved.

  36. meredith

    Ah, sweet friends! I have not met any of you. I have been to a few AP concerts, including Behold the Lamb, so I have seen some of you but not spoken to you. However, you feel like friends! My husband tried from the time he first heard about the Hutchmoot to find someone to care for our children so that we could come. He wanted it to be a surprise for our 10th Anniversary (Allison, # 36, I can relate to your comments about “shared interests”). But we moved from AL to South Dakota just over a year ago and the distance and child care for 4 young children made it not possible to be with you all. I must say the whole gamut of emotions affected us over the last several days. We had such a longing to “just be” with you all. We knew it would be community, something we have struggled to find, for many reasons…maybe it isn’t just a struggle to find it but a struggle to allow it also. At one point my husband said, “it would likely be over now.” I knew he was referring to Hutchmoot. I think it was about this time that I truly admitted how disappointed I was.

    It has been a beautiful gift that those present have taken the time to write thoughts.

    Ashely B (#31), I too am just on a journey of realizing how much I long for and need real community. I pray that the Trinity, true community in one, brings sweet, real fellowship to you! Please pray it for me as well!

    Drew (#34), thanks for writing out quotes, love them! The Graham one is getting posted on the fridge.

    John Haney (#27), I went to a small Bible College in Michigan in the early ’90’s with a John Haney are you him?

    Also thanks to those who talked of “sharing story.” I always think that I will write, but don’t often. But I do have many opportunities to share story with others and through sharing in each others stories being lead again and again to The Story.

    Thanks Again, All!

  37. Brandy

    I’m not always very good at community. And as I expressed during the closing session of Hutchmoot, sometimes I try to trick myself into thinking that I don’t even need community.

    Of course, that’s not true. Hutchmoot helped me realize that I am created for community. In my art, but also just in my life. Community with friends, community with peers, community with God.

    I didn’t make any “camp” friends at Hutchmoot. But I had incredible conversations with like-minded people. But most importantly, God did some amazing work in me. I actually just blogged about it, so it would perhaps just be easier to link to that.

    Thanks Rabbit Roomers, for all you do!

  38. Ashley Elizabeth

    I can be a bit quirky. Coffee mugs seem to accumulate in my life, and obliging them properly, I tend to use certain mugs certain days. Sundays? Sundays always get a Meet the Press mug allowing me some sort of knowledge the panelists can hear me yell at them for foolish answers. But it’s Wednesday, and I can’t let my Rabbit Room mug go. Picked up a mug from my last job this morning and couldn’t use it. When the sorrowful and heavy found its way to my task list to write yesterday, I filled the Rabbit Room mug again, sat with you all, and heard the heavenly Doxology again in my heart.

    In the midst of the horrible yesterday, in the writing of the unthinkable, I stood on y’alls shoulders. I heard your words of why we write. I felt at home.

    That’s real community. That was Hutchmoot. And that will be the grace of the friendships to come.

  39. Matt Conner

    Just a fantastic weekend overall. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting every person that I could (and regret the fact that I missed so many more!), but I was moved to tears more times in three days than I can remember.

    The concerts were incredible. The energy and emotion of the AP release show blew me away and I was so moved all through that show. Same with the Square Peg show as some songs were beautifully tragic while others made the audience burst into laughter. Loved the Waterdeep crew unveiling some art and Gullahorn’s new song was fantastic. The honesty of Jill’s song was stunning and Ron Block’s instrumental spoke without words.

    Pete Peterson is the man. This weekend was so needed for a man who didn’t know he needed it. Thanks so much. And seriously, Evie is fantastic as well. The food was absolutely delicious (and adventurous!). I came home ready to learn to cook!

  40. Tony Heringer

    The subtitle for Hutchmoot 2010 is “Evie’s Feast.” We have to look no farther than when Walt Wangerin said the word “food.” At that moment there was a collective “Mmmmmmmmmmmmm” from the audience that reverberated as strongly as any word said, song sung or note played over the week-end. That moment is indelibly etched in our hearts and minds because of Evie Coates.

    Travis Prinzi and I were chatting about something Barliman noted during his opening remarks Friday night. Travis and I are both digesting the work of Eugene Peterson’s five volume series on “Spiritual Theology” (also known as “Lived Theology”). Travis is reading the first book “Christ Plays In Ten Thousand Places” and I am just starting volume two “Eat This Book”. We both agreed this material is to be taken in slowly just like one of Evie’s meals.

    Barliman brought up Eugene Peterson as a joke, but he also hit upon something that Eugene talks about in “Christ Plays…” and that is the sacrifice as it relates to hospitality. Eugene quotes Annie Dillard as saying “a life without sacrifice is an abomination.” He goes on to say that “Meals provide daily opportunities to be on both the giving and receiving end of a sacrificial life, to see how it works in detail, to observe the emotions and effects, to discover the difficulties.”

    He also notes: “Given the prominence of the Supper in our worshiping lives, the prominence of meals in the Jesus work of salvation, it is surprising how little notice is given among us to the relationship between the Meal and our meals. Our surprise develops into a sense of urgency when we recognize that a primary, maybe the primary, venue for evangelism in Jesus’ life was the meal. Is Jesus’ preferred setting for playing out the work of salvation on this field of history only marginally available to us? By marginalizing meals of hospitality in our daily lives have we inadvertently diminished the work of evangelism?”

    Thanks Evie for putting skin and bone on something I’d been chewing on for a while. It made Hutchmoot 2010 the total experience that we will all be reveling in for weeks to come.

  41. Laura B

    What you all said.

    Several times this weekend, I, like so many of you, realized that I was a part of something very special. Rather out of character for me, I also realized that I was able to rest in the goodness of the moment and be grateful for it, and also that that itself was a gift. All of it was grace—grace to be welcomed into this community of Gonzos, grace to be part of the Story, grace be able to be grateful instead of clenching my fists around the good moment.

    So, while there’s more to say (and I hope to be able to say it at some point), for now I’m going to try to continue to dwell in that gratitude, even though it seems to have left me rather wordless!

    Thank you all for your companionship, however briefly our paths may have intersected, and thanks be to the Lord, our Maker and the Teller of our Story.

    P.S. Laura Peterson, you definitely should have bought a mug. 🙂

  42. John Haney

    So not really being good at blogging, I had to find some other way to share more about the weekend. Please visit to see my thoughts in cartoon form. I am enjoying EVERYONE’S perspective. so good.

  43. S.D. Smith

    It was, I think (and feel), a major life event for me. Thank you, everyone. It was a real privilege to have this shared adventure with you.

    I agree with those who keep pointing our gratitude back to the Giver of all good, our Father in heaven.

    Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

  44. RG

    What a magnificent weekend. It was surreal to see a congregation sized slice of this web community of rusty brown italicized names in the comments section leap to passionate life. So wonderful to meet and eat with instant friends, and to be filled up with inspiration as much by Walt as by hallway conversations. I hope everybody goes and sees John Haney’s cartoon. You won’t see Hutchmoot summed up this way anywhere else.
    And the Camel Song is far too presumptuous to be humbled, but it is pleased by Sir Jonathan’s fine taste, and those who share it.

  45. Laura Barton

    Oh dear, looks like there’s another Laura B… guess I should start using my full name. 🙂

  46. Cory M

    I just read this in the Screwtape Letters and thought it applied:

    “The man who truly and disinterestedly enjoys any one thing in the world, for its own sake, and without caring twopence what other people say about it, is by that very fact forearmed against some of our subtlest modes of attack. You should always try to make the patient abandon the people or food or books he really likes in favour of the ‘best’ people, the ‘right food, the ‘important’ books.”

    Gonzos unite!

  47. Ben Rauscher

    Not knowing many others who benefit from the same music you do, or who read the same books, it is hard not to sort of give up on those things. I had given up in some ways, as weird as it sounds, before this weekend. It is so good to hear so many people who value the same things you do. It is really hope-giving. Some of the things I heard over the weekend I had heard before, but even those I needed badly to hear again, and in new ways. I hope the weekend spurs the creation of many good things and a deeper enjoyment of many created things.

    Also, of all the books laid out on the book table, I had read more of Lewis than anyone else. But throughout the weekend and especially from hearing Andy P and Ron’s talk on Lewis/MacDonald, I had the strong sense that I want many of the other authors (MacDonald, Buechner, Wangerin) to be a part of my life, although I haven’t read many of them. As far as new books to read, my work is cut out for me, and I’m looking forward to it.

  48. S.D. Smith

    Hey Hutchmuteers, Over at my blog I’m putting together a post linking to ALL the HM blog posts we all have done. So if you have one that hasn’t been mentioned here, let me know.


  49. Luke Taylor

    “I am a priest and a prince in the kingdom of God.” That line just keeps running through my head over and over again, and I’m not sure that there is anything in the world that is more important to remember than that, so I am hoping this resonates a very long time. At Hutchmoot, I was among princes and princesses all united by the King they serve. We talked about Lewis and Tolkien a lot, but it was clear that the brotherhood we felt came from God. I only wish I could have met everyone there because I was blessed by absolutely every conversation I had, and I learned a lot about what it means to carry myself like the prince that I have been saved to be. Thanks to everyone for your authenticity and humility.

  50. Mark Timmons

    I came home with a renewed desire to treasure and love well my wife and children. This could have been because I was away for three days… but I think it is something deeper. Two things:

    1. Conversations with resident banjo-theologian, Ron Block about our Identity in Christ. Believing and living in those Truths frees one up to live authentically and love others well since I am not constantly looking inward.

    2. The overarching emphasis on relating our stories to the Great Story enabled me (keeps enabling me I pray!) to see the epic scope of what is going on in everyday life at our home in downtown Louisville. I greatly long for my interactions with them to point them to the Greater and Glorious Story they are a part of.

    In short, I came home wanting to “Lean into something lasting: Planting Trees.”

  51. Bald Headed Brian

    I’ve been thinking about what to post, or even if I should post, since the closing day of Hutchmoot. While I thoroughly enjoy Andrew, Pete and Ron’s works, both in music and literature, I’m not a huge reader or musician. I was going to HM in support of my wonderful wife Kelli, who lives and breathes literature.

    Having never read a post on RR (don’t hurt me…) I had no idea what to expect at HM. I had heard something about good food and a great concert, so I figured that was a good place to start. What I came out with was a much greater experience than I had anticipated. It was wonderful to participate in the discussions around music and literature and art, to soak it all in.

    What I breathe is “making”. I make “stuff.” From paper, wood, clay, metal…I make. I create, much like you all (or y’all, now that I’ve lived in Texas 5 years…). It was great to see how I could relate the principals we talked about to what I do. Even though we’re doing different things, the common ground is that creation and creativity come from God, and should point back to Him in a way that glorifies Him.

    So, to keep this short, and I never can keep it short, what I took from this was fantastic music, incredible food, wonderful community, titillating conversation, and a surprising common ground of creativity. Everyone should come next year! Oh wait, that lessens my chances of getting tickets. Uh, it was ok and you should go if there aren’t any good TV shows on.

  52. Matt Conner

    Brian (or BHB):

    Thanks so much for sharing and choosing to post. Seriously, I’m glad that it wasn’t just authors and songwriters. I’ve never written a book or a song, so that makes me a minority at Hutchmoot. But I craft a sermon every week and I could draw numerous parallels myself to that.

    Wish we could have met, but I’m positive you would add much to the discussion we had there as well as being able to receive from it. Glad you plan on attending next year and here’s hoping for more creators from various places and fields.

  53. Tony Heringer


    During the Annie Dillard/Flannery O’Connor session Russ made a comment on this topic that essentially put all of us the category of artist if that label would even apply in Dillard’s economy. I didn’t take notes — too busy scarfing down some Evie creation and java – anyone remember that bit?

    “No nickname” you care to comment?

  54. dawngreen

    Count me among the HM-ers who wept each day! My heart remains full and my mind still treasuring the memories of music, story, fellowship and revelation. God in His generosity provided a rich tapestry of grace and favor.

    I was SO sorry to have to leave early on Sunday to return to work but have continued in prayer for the members of my new HM family. Next year!

  55. kelli

    Hi, Dawn:)

    Just wanted to say hi, and I really enjoyed meeting you last weekend! I was hoping you would post! Your gentle presence was a cool drink to a dry soul:)

  56. dawngreen

    Thanks for the kind words. I’ve had just a minute to read your blog–it is beautiful and I look forward to returning to it. I am glad to have such a creative new friend. God bless you and your family,

  57. Mike Ramsay

    AP/RB, et al.

    In the Immersed Imagingation session AP & RB corporately expressed a sense of wrestling with dual identities which I here (for the sake of space) carelessly paraphrase as “hapless sinner” and “redeemed joint heirs.” At the time, in the discussion as it flowed, to me it echoed a section of Roy and Revel Hession’s book “We Would See Jesus.” (This is a short book from 1958 and well worth a read: it poses many common thoughts and expressions in very thought provoking ways.)

    Specifically, in this book the Hessions describe guilt as one of Satan’s best techniques for confounding the Christian, taking our eyes off of Jesus by distracting us with an erroneous conviction. This sensation is expressly the subject of chapter 6 titled Sinai or Calvary. To end with a flavor of relevance to the Hutchmoot audience, I’ll quote from the intro to that chapter:

    “Whenever a sense of sin lies upon our conscience, two persons, it seems, fight to get hold of that conviction – the devil and the Holy Spirit. The devil wants to … take it and us to Sanai, and there condemn us and bring us into bondage. The Holy Spirit, however, wants to take us and our sin to Calvary, there to bring us … into peace and freedom.”

    (Sorry for the ellipses… you’ll just have to read the whole book.)

  58. Tenika Dye

    I’m coming to this dance a little late. But I think I needed the past week to mull over Hutchmoot and all it’s glory. What I write here will probably only fill a thimble with what I could say. So, I’ll try not to repeat what has previously been said although I could probably say “ME TOO” to every single post. 🙂 Instead, I’ll share a sliver of my story.

    I’m not a regular at the Rabbit Room and I usually only have time to scan the pages. I was only familiar with a hand full of the suggested reading materials. From the RR contributors Andrew is the only one whose work I was intimate with. I’m a different breed of artist from those in the RR Community. I was trained as an Actor 1st and a Storyteller 2nd, I have degrees in both. (My Masters is in Storytelling. Yes you can get a degree in that!) I appreciate reading and writing but my personality and my art forms usually don’t lend themselves well to written words only or the Internet world. Oh and a Blank Page often scares me! Although, ideas constantly swirl in and out of my mind and probably should be tackled to a page so they will be lasting.

    I NEED to speak words, feel them roll around in my mouth, slip through my lips. I NEED my instrument, my body, to morph into a character. I NEED to watch the faces of the audience as they take the gift of a story woven just for them and commune with the images. I NEED to feel the weight of an un-awkard silence when everyone in the room is perfectly together on the Story’s Journey. I NEED these things for my Arts to exist.

    I was not “suppose” to be at Hutchmoot. Due to extreme busyness my procrastination nearly prevented me from being there. I was on the Waiting List with only 20-30 people ahead of me! But the Wednesday prior to the weekend Pete let me know there was an opening. I had to quickly move my schedule around, find a place to stay, and pray that the money was there. Things fell in place, not the ways I would plan but the ways God would. I think I was the very last person to be signed up!

    I made it to Nashville from Chattanooga only knowing for sure where I was staying on Saturday night and not having a clue about Friday. I just kept praying and thinking “Lord you opened up this opportunity and I know you’ll work things out.” When I got to the church I found out that Leigh McLeroy, a friend of mine from TX, was there. So, I asked the Lord to help me find her. I walked right through the middle of the room to her table and there was an open seat next to her “waiting” for me. Leigh ended up graciously offering to share her hotel room with me…community was in action! God was gently reminding me “I’ve got this”.

    I purposely had not pre-purchased “Counting Stars” because the CD release concert was to be my consolation for not registering for Hutchmoot in time. To hear that music for the first time in a concert setting was a unexpected, beautiful gift. I wept during many of the songs as I simply soaked in the moment. There were so many times I found myself simply saying “Thank You” to Andrew, the other musicians, and the Lord.

    A few of the other gifts from the weekend-

    I know it has already been mentioned but something that was so beyond what I expected was Evie’s food! It was a gift, digestible art that caressed ALL the senses. Never have I been to a retreat or conference where the meal time experiences were like sitting at a dear friend’s or family member’s table. Huge Thank Yous to Evie and her team!

    Jason and Eric introduced Frederick Buechner to me for the first time. How had I missed someone who talked about the “story of us all”, quoted Shakespeare, and who wrote a book entitled “Telling the Truth: The Gospel As Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale”! Things I know so well but constantly hunger to know more about. I told Jason that he may have found his first convert prior to even reading Buechner. “Telling the Truth” is already ordered and in the mail. The other suggested authors and readings for the weekend will eventually follow because I feel like I’ve just discovered that hidden cave that was “right beneath our feet all this time” that Andrew talks about in “World Traveler”. I can’t wait to go traveling. Thank You for expanding my literary horizons.

    I’m deeply grateful for all the presenters and panelists and for their individual contributions but Walt Wangerin left a mark like no other. I didn’t want Walt to stop! I wanted to give him a rocking chair and sit at his feet for hours. After a delightfully weary day of listening it was bliss to watch a Master Storyteller work his magic and to have Storytelling demonstrated and alive in the flesh! Thank You Walt.

    At the Square Peg Concert I was as possibly more fascinated by the “show” going on in the semi-circle behind whomever was playing the music. The looks of admiration, Randall’s swaying head in rhythm, and the camaraderie was captivating. I felt as if I had been allowed to peer inside a sacred assembly where everyone on that stage was each other’s biggest fan.Thank You Square Peg Alliance.

    Hutchmoot was not my first taste of a Believer Artist Community. I have actually been privileged to have been a part of many. So, I know their power but I also know how they can hurt. I came to Hutchmoot somewhat jaded by the disappoints I have felt in these communities and frustrated with the wasted potential! I’ve been wearied by the fight of being the only one that seemed to care. I’ve wrestled with wondering whether I should let a current community go and put my efforts elsewhere. I had lost some of the passion to pursue the Vision I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord birthed in me for the Art I know HE wants to create through me. Somewhere along this year I had lost a lot of my desire to fight to create my own artistic opportunities and not wait on someone else to give me permission or the financial backing to create. Hutchmoot helped to turn the tide a bit and I’m joyfully expectant for the coming days!

    So, for me, possibly the greatest gifts came near the end of the day Sunday through soothing encouragement from Andrew and Russ Ramsey.

    First allow me to put things in context and borrow Andrew’s opening line of this thread but alter the year “And lo, in the year 2009, an idea stepped out of the realm of theory and into the realm of time and space.”

    This time last year I was attempting to do possibly the unimaginable. Andrew had graciously given me permission to adapt “Behold the Lamb of God” to the stage and to fill in more of the story particularly from “The Beginning” by using a cast of 12 Storyteller/Singer/Actors, Visual Elements, and Dance.

    I know what some of you are thinking, “Isn’t part of the power, beauty, and impact of Behold the Lamb in letting the songs speak and not speak in between them?” I know this because Andrew had the same concern and I wrestled last year with whether I should even pursue the vision in order to remain true to the original intention of the piece. But the vision had latched on to me, would not let go, and begged to be birthed. The idea for the stage adaptation was conceived the first time I had ever seen “Behold the Lamb” in concert, which was also the first time I had seen Andrew in concert. This is now nearly 5 years ago.

    The process was plagued by difficulties but the Lord empowered us and pushed us to accomplish more than we thought or could imagine. He proved Himself time and again. The Lord broke the bonds of traditional theater and formed a tangible Experience for the audiences and they were eternally affected!

    The theater where we did the theatrical adaptation has been closed this year due to renovations. It has taken much longer than anticipated to re-open and I had just given up any hope of doing the show this year or anything else for that matter any time soon. But the several weeks prior to Hutchmoot I had been seriously wrestling with “What do I do with what you created Lord? Was it only to be a one time thing?”

    My heart ached to know if there would be more life in that piece of art. I’ve had many people asking me if we are going to do it again and I had no peace with any answer I gave them. Coming to Hutchmoot I wanted to share this struggle, particularly with Andrew, but I also wasn’t sure of how to bring it up and I was just plain scared. I had heaped unnecessary pressure on myself and it was relieved when Andrew simply said, “Just let us know what you decide to do.”

    As I was leaving the Church that Sunday I got to tell Russ that I was sorry I had not had the chance to talk with him over the weekend. I asked him about his transition to Nashville and how his Advent Devotion was coming. Although it was only a few minutes as he shared his struggles I was comforted and encouraged. I was reminded I am not the only one who wrestles with the Lord and just because I wrestle does not mean the Lord is not with me. But to give up the fight would be tragic.

    Providence and Gratitude are my 2010 Hutchmoot Seals.

  59. Jessie Rae

    I could spend hours reading all the comments and blogs about Hutchmoot….but the dishes in the sink are screaming at me to get off of the computer. I SO wanted to be there! Oh well, I’ll buy a mug to console me…here’s to Hutchmoot 2011!

  60. Ron Block


    Mike R,

    Good stuff, thanks for the quotes, ellipses and all. For clarity’s sake I want to point out, though, that it isn’t as much a dualistic identity as it is the difference between our real identity and a shadow or false identity. “When I sin it is no longer I that sins, but sin which dwells in me.” It isn’t the real me; it’s a false me, a false identity, a false self generated from the outside by a stream of lies from the heart of the Liar. It’s like giving life to a puppet; our hand goes inside it, and we make it speak and act according to our will. That’s what the devil does when he gains a foothold through our failure to rely on Christ within us.

    The real me is the one that loves goodness, that loves righteousness, that loves God, that wants God to use me in any way possible to further the one true Kingdom. Romans 7 makes it clear – “I agree with the Law of God.” That’s the real me. The more I get with this real me, see it, walk in it, recognize it, the more I manifest the power and love of God in my life.

    Conversely, as you said, it is Satan’s way to drag us back to Sinai, rub our noses in the Law, and get us to beat on ourselves to “do better next time.” The way of our real identity is totally Other. Because Christ is righteousness in me, because he is one with my human spirit, I can now say I am the righteousness of God in Christ – because all his resources are now at my disposal to use for Kingdom work. I don’t have to look at Law and strive to “get there.” I’m already righteous; I just have to make sure I am being who I really am by making sure I am walking in reliant faith in that inner Christ. “He that abideth sinneth not.”

    I say all this not because I suppose you don’t already know it, but for clarity’s sake for anyone reading. If we don’t know who we are, if we suppose we are this false self and live there, we cannot fully be our real selves in Christ.

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