GalRev is so much kinder than I am and I thank her for her words. I'll admit, I was going to comment; however, I thought this initial post might just be inviting (okay, confession: I didn't keep the 8th Commandment) rather, baiting some of us who might just be seen as a bit more conservative into a discussion.
Overall, there were pieces of the presentation that I thought were fine - and clearly, she connected with the kids. I would venture to say that there is far more to her "earlier" life than simply being part of a fundamentalist family/faith group, such as an addictive personality and, perhaps, other psychological issues. But - that wouldn't have made the point and would be far too much to go into. I simply add this reflection as I often think "church" is often blamed a bit too much when there are many other extenuating circumstances. That being said....
My disappointment came towards the end of the presentation. I didn't appreciate her self-deprecating remarks...(paraphrasing) some of your parents and pastors might not think that I should be speaking to you...and they're right... But of course she went on to remind us that God uses even people like her. The 4th Commandment kept going through my mind... maybe I was disturbed by the overwhelming loud applause that remark evoked. It's hard enough for parents, pastors, teachers to maintain authority without a "figure of authority" tearing it down. There were a lot of ways she could have stated that she might seem one of the least likely to be sharing a faith story -- without bringing in parents/pastors and making them almost seem small-minded.
The other piece that came out a bit more at the end of the presentation was the sense I got of "we're all okay just the way we are." Now I love that old hymn, "Just As I Am." But is our theology to simply be where we are and not look to God to help us continually turn around and turn toward a more "holy" life in Him. Yes, I was pleased she strongly spoke of how God comes to us. And yes, God comes to us as we are. But isn't there then a turning. And, again, yes - she certainly did go through major changes in her life. But the almost boastful statements of how she swears, etc., and - gosh - people are behind the door holding their breath about what she'll say. Could she have, perhaps, described herself more as a bit bit of work in progress - allowing the young people to know that God constantly works in us and changes us, molds us.
Before hitting, "Post" I re-read what Pr. Weedon wrote in starting the thread, "Revisiting Sanctification." Now, I don't know Pr. Weedon - don't know how entertaining he might be, how relevant to youth his wardrobe may be - I guess the facial hair helps - but I would have loved for the young people from our congregation who were at the NO gathering to have heard some his words, which, for me, his words were more inspiring.