i had four wonderful meals with old friends in the past week. i love how great food and great reconnecting go together.
first, i had lunch with sam harvey, in a small new zealand town. i met sam at soul survivor in england last summer, and we totally hit it off. we’d be close mates if we lived in the same city. he and i seem to share the same outlook on life, the same sense of humor, the same passion for jesus, and the same desire to see the church change. sam is the director of soul survivor in new zealand, a brand new organization. he happened to be speaking at a camp the same weekend (easter weekend) i was speaking, and his location happened to be an hour south of mine. so we met in the middle one day. he had a nice green curry, and i had a wonderful bacon, avocado and mango chutney panini. and we both had latte bowls. sam’s still a fairly new blogger, but one worth peeking at.
then, a few nights later, my family and i found ourselves in christchurch, new zealand, for one night. i’d contact steve taylor ahead of time, and he and his lovely family graciously hosted us in their home for dinner. steve (not the american musician/producer/film-maker) is a leading voice in the worldwide emerging church discussion. steve is the author of the out of bounds church, which we published a few years ago. he’s a part-time pastor in a church, and a professor at a college in christchurch. we got caught up on all kinds of things, but it was especially cool to hear how they’d just finished their easter weekend experience, where they create a walk-through experience in their church, culminating in the church sanctuary, which they convert to an actual garden for the week (with trees and grass and ponds). they have easter service in this park, on lawn chairs and blankets. steve is an avid, experienced blogger, with lots to say. we ate a wonderful home-cooked meal of new zealand mussels, pasta, and new zealand wine.
this past weekend, in atlanta, my jh pastor friend april diaz attended the event (which is funny, since she lives 90 minutes from me, but i never see her), and we got to hang. then, april and i both had lunch with jeanne and jarrett stevens, and their ball-o’-cuteness kid, elijah. jeanne works for ys, but i don’t get to see her nearly enough, as she lives in atlanta. and i really value and enjoy jarrett, and only get to see him once or twice a year, it seems. it was great to get massively caught up on life and ministry and family and work. this was the most “whatever” of meals, however, as we ate at “roadhouse grill” or something like that. i had a steak, which was fine. they did have sweet tea, which i really enjoyed.
then, saturday night, i got to have dinner with my friend, seth barnes. seth is the founder and exec director of adventures in missions. we’ve been friends for about 17 years, since he lead a missions trip for me when he was first forming AIM. i served on AIM’s board for five years, ending a little over a year ago. seth and i try to stay in contact, but are both very busy, and don’t often succeed. he’s one of those rare guys i can sit down with after not talking for 6 months, and we can both instantly go deep and go real. we laugh and challenge each other, and we know each other well enough to get right to asking real questions. we ate a truly amazing meal, at a restaurant called “aqua terra bistro” in old town buford, georgia. seth said it was the best restaurant in the north atlanta area. we had a write-home-about-it appetizer of calamari with sweet-and-sour onions, signature bread and tomato dip, and a wonderful pinot noir. seth had beautiful and giant scallops, and i had a great crusted talapia, on top of a peanut thai salad.
good food, good friends, nice reconnections. that’s the makings of a great week right there.
ooh, and sunday night, i got to reconnect with tony jones (who i’m sharing a room with at this emergent gig), brian mclaren, ivy beckwith, and others. looking forward to seeing who’s at the the philosophical discussion this week. i think doug pagitt’s coming. oh, and i get to have breakfast with duffy robbins (who isn’t part of this event, but lives close by) on tuesday morning. so it will be another week of good friends and reconnecting!