Abbot Yid: So what's this place all about?
Me: Well, it's Renewal, which means it's neo-Hasidic.
AY: Uh huh... And what the heck does that mean?
Me: It takes the escatic joy of Hasidism but has a more modern viewpoint on it. It's more counter-cultural and more spiritual than religious.
AY: Wait a minute, wait a minute... Hasidism? Joy? Since when?
Me: Well... ok, this guy (pointing to a picture) this is the B'aal Shem Tov, and his whole shtick was that he was focused more on the joy that could be found in everyday religion as opposed to Torah study.
AY: If you say so. I certainly never got that vibe.
...For that matter, you know what never came up in any of the Conservative synagogues we went to?
Me: Well, lots of folks in these congregations tend to be refugees from places like that.
AY: That explains a lot.
Me: Like what?
AY: Like why no one's wearing a yarmulke. Or why the rabbi is wearing a rainbow poncho.
Me: I think that's actually a tallis.
AY: Wow, things have changed since I was a kid.