another just-about-perfect day yesterday. everything at the event ran smoothly. 99% of the people here are saying the learning communities are totally working this time around (the addition of an extra half-hour in the scheduled time for each has made a massive difference). and, a very telling indicator, people have continued to come to the LCs and general sessions, even as the week has worn on. we usually see a more significant drop-off than we’ve had this week.
so. some highlights:
– i hosted the “leading organizations” forum. about 6 were ready to go, when the “urban” forum decided to join us (which, in the end, made total sense, since the 3 from that forum were all in organizational leadership roles). we avoided Jack’s for crowding, and ate at Rippy’s accross the street. food = OK. service = not-so-good. there’s this almost tangible sense that every waitress in nashville is only biding time until she can get into the dixie chicks. but the forum had some really good people (and some reasonably good discussion). i enjoyed connecting with josh, a great youth worker; two fun and wild female pastors from the same church, in mt. pleasant, mi; a wonderful older pastor from a normal suburban church who attended EC (not NPC) all by himself; d.j. chuang (who’s comments were consistently insightful), shane mullin, and others. the question of power came up again (maybe i brought it up? i don’t remember). ok, so i suppose when a subject seems to come up 43 times in one week in different contexts, i’m supposed to notice, right, God?
– had an afternoon of meetings (good ones, though), and then went to dinner with my wife and sister (different people, not one-and-the-same!). it was the first time i’ve been farther than two blocks from the hotel since last sunday. it was great to get way off site, and enjoy talking about the week, while eating great food at an outdoor cafe. i’m bummed that lori (the sis) has to leave today (instead of the originally-planned tomorrow). but it’s been so fun having her around this week. i’m proud to be her little brother (FOUR years younger, i might add).
– wonderful, wonderful, wonderful last talk from phyllis tickle. just her last 3 minutes was worth the trip down to the room: she mentioned the prayer (i don’t remember what it’s called) that episco/anglicans “do” before reading scripture in church. the current version (since the reformation) is a quick touch to the forehead (i couldn’t tell if there was a small crossing taking place there, or just a touch), with the words “god be in my mind, and in my thinking”; a quick touch to the lips, with the words “god be in my mouth, and in my speaking”; and a quick touch to the heart with the words “god be in my heart, and in my loving.” but she went on to tell us that prior to the reformation, the prayer was different (and she brilliantly explained the implications). then she taught us the pre-reformation version, and we all stood and “did” it:
– touch to forehead – “god be in my mind and in my understanding” (notice difference)
– touch to eyes – “god be in my eyes and in my seeing”
– touch to mouth – “god be in my mouth and in my speaking”
– touch to heart – “god be in my heart and in my thinking” (notice difference)
– hands at sides, palms open – “god be in my life and in my leaving”
– went to solomon’s porch as my worship option last night. i’ve been friends with doug and thom and many others from sp for years now, and have almost attended there so many times. great time. wish i had that church in my neighborhood. i actually thought, in the middle of the service, if it weren’t for ys, i could almost see moving to minneapolis to be part of a community like that. it was also a time when i was completely able to remove my “president” and “event guy” hats, and just enter into worship.
– then, as usual, came my favorite part of the day – the 30 or 40 or 50 (they came and left) who were in my suite at one time or another. good friends, wild mix of people with beautiful stories, a gift of macallen 12-year from my friend houli, laughter. my favorite piece of those late night revelries is when i’m not talking to anyone and i can look around the room and watch people i know connect with one another — people who are from very different backgrounds, with different reasons for being here, but enjoying one another. that’s the good stuff, baby.