Sunday, October 16, 2005

the middle of the fall blur

For as long as I can remember, for at least fifteen years, I have experienced a time during the fall---usually 8-10 days--when everything happens. Everything in the local church, everything in the community, everything in the denomination, everything in continuing education, everything in life. I have just come through this 8-10 day period: two brief trips to Nashville, another brief trip to Durham, packing and unpacking, arriving home now for good, for awhile, for the foreseeable future. Some of this happens because of the way events scheduled. Some of this is my own fault---accepting things or plugging into them in the summer, when the activity levels are lower. As I noted, this has been something of a rhythm in my life for at least fifteen years---it is simply the ways things are scheduled.

Not that I am complaining, because really good things happen. Among them:

Having dinner, twice, with my daughter Liz in Chapel Hill: one night just the two of us, the next with several of her friends at Pao Lim (which means "Pilgrim"), highly recommended!

Having lunch with Larry and Julia Webb Bowden at the Q Shack in Durham...again, highly recommended.

Seeing good friends like Mike Cartwright, who teaches at the University of Indianapolis, and Doug Tanner, who directs the Institute of Faith and Politics in D.C. I have not seen either of them in a long time.

Attending the dedicatory service of the Divinity School chapel at Duke, the service beginning in the university chapel and concluding in the divinity school chapel.

Hearing three superb lectures by Ellen Davis on scripture and the ecological crisis.

And in Nashville, working with dedicated people on the beginnings of the UMC ministry study, which will go to the general conference in 2008, and then, a week later, attending the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry meeting. The latter group, affectionately known as GBHEM, also has important work to do, especially in seeking to call forth new generations of leaders in the church, in ongoing support for important initiatives like Africa University, and opening up the pipeline between United Methodist colleges and the church, and in strengthening the connection between the denomination's objectives and the local church. That the latter seems such as odd idea, or even worthy of pursuit (or strategic pursuit) gives you an idea of the mistrust that exists across the institutional church. I do think there is a desire to move toward each other.

I also had lunch with Bob, an editor at Abingdon, who does great work, and we discussed a possible book project. Who knows?

I got drenched in the rain in Durham.

I left my daytimer, by accident, in the hotel in Nashville.

Holger, a German theologian, and I wanted to go the Bluebird Cafe one evening, but it was tickets available.

On the home front, a rich sermon by Rob Weber this morning, and a nice lunch with New Orleans evacuees at our church today (wonderful people). One of them said to me, over lunch, "you know, people are always asking me, what do you need? And I say, I have everything I need. My apartment has everything I need. And if I have more than I need, I give it to someone else".

And I talked to three children who joined us at the same lunch, and asked, "what is your favorite thing to eat?" And Angel, one of them, said, "red beans and rice".

Then the CROP Walk this afternoon. My daughter Abby is 16, and this very well might be her 16th walk...I am sure we pushed her in a baby stroller early on, and then carried her, and then pushed her, and now she is doing it herself, raising almost $1000 herself, for hunger, amazing, that she is doing all of this, that she is 16.

Life across 16 years, or over 8 days or so, really is a blur.


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7:49 PM  
Blogger St.Phransus said...

hey ken, let me know next time you are in nashville. you, gavin and i can get together for breakfast or lunch. sounds like lots of good stuff going on.


9:56 PM  

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