i’m in the san fran airport (yes, i looked for the TSA guy when i came through security; thought i might be ready to report him if i could spot him — no luck). flew from singapore to tokyo, had an extremely short layover, and flew on to SFO. my plane to san diego from here just got delayed 90 minutes. ugh. i’m ready to be home, hug the kids and jeannie, go swimming to get the plane off me. and tonite, lilly lewin (and a couple others, i think) are staying at my house, and i volunteered to grill dinner. lilly is in town to work on prayer stations for the general sessions at the national youth workers conventions this fall (a new addition), as part of a team my wife is working on also. it will be fun to see lilly — though i may be a bit loopy from lag.
the singapore trip was good on many levels. but i think this fourth time really needs to be my last trip there for a few years. i found myself quite a bit more cynical this time around (maybe the presence of tony!). the people are wonderful and good-hearted, generous and earnest. but all three of us grew frustrated with the quantity of american, british and australian influence on the church culture there. as i hinted in earlier posts, the worship bits might as well have been hillsong videos. every tilt of the head, finger-point to heaven and cliche prayer phrase were straight out of hillsong, willow or saddleback (or, for the one more rockin’ band: delirious). we talked about this with our hosts at one point. part of the problem is that singapore is unique in asia, in that it doesn’t really have it’s own culture. they are so proud of their cultural mix (which is good), they haven’t given space to anything indigenous.
tony commented that it felt like “new colonialism”, which was accurate enough to make me wince.
the youth ministry event itself went well. next year they want to do a focus on junior high ministry, which is ALMOST enough to tempt me back one more year. but i promised my wife i would take a break — there are enough other opportunities.
there are a few people in singapore i truly consider friends; so spending a bit of time with them was certainly a highlight. and getting to know sivin was worth the trip in itself. what an amazing guy. our final night tradition of eating at morton’s of chicago, in the oriental hotel, was a good memory-maker for all three of us — freakin’ huge perfect steaks with the best bernaise sauce on the planet, amazing service, grand marnier souffle and godiva molten-chocolate cake.
i’ll be in the office at ys tomorrow and part of wednesday. then liesl (my 11 year-old) and i head to guatemala wednesday evening for our spanish youth workers convention there this weekend. i’m supposed to do a general session, two seminars, and a 3-hour critical concerns course — none of which i’ve prepared a speck for yet.