Thursday, October 19, 2006

fall break

Actually, it is our older daughter's fall break, but she is home with us, for a brief time, and so it feels like a fall break. We had Indian food tonight, at a great place in south Charlotte; she loves Indian food, and has sampled it in restaurants, in the homes of friends who are India, and at Indian weddings. She liked it too. I recommend the Chicken Korma.

A break, this time of year, is a good thing. The administrative pace is relentless, because everything comes together, or doesn't, during these few weeks: the stewardship campaign, the staff evaluations, a music search, the charge conference reports, the nominations. And it all seems to be, at least that is my hope.

I attended the Duke Pastors' School and Convocation last week, at least for twenty four hours, and heard Craig Dykstra, who oversees the Lilly Endowment's religion initiatives, and Eugene Peterson. Craig has been a mentor to me, leading a group in which I participated a few years ago, and his concept of the pastoral imagination has been formative to me. The positive impact of the Lilly Endowment on American Christianity cannot be overstated, and that influence is largely due to Craig's theoretical grasp of practices that sustain communities of Christians over the long term. Eugene Peterson is a well-known writer of books on spiritual theology (I have reviewed a couple on this blog and as in my role as editor of the Circuit Rider Book Reviews), but his chief contribution to North American Christianity may turn out to be his rendering of scripture known as The Message.

Peterson gave two lectures, one on Abraham and the other on Isaiah, the first focusing on sacrifice and the second on the suffering servant. They were masterful lectures, filled with mature reflection that seemed to be inspired by God and the fruit of a lifetime of biblical reflection. I was also able to be a part of a group of about twenty-five persons who had a "conversation" with him. This can be tricky, as there always seems to be that one person who feels the need to give a speech, on the way to asking a question. Peterson led our group in such a way that he gave long and thoughtful answers, on subjects ranging from church growth to his own personal disciplines of prayer, work and reading. Since he doesn't make his way to the southern U.S. very often, I was grateful for the opportunity to be in his presence.

What else? Our younger daughter is applying to colleges; I am beginning to think about Advent (?)...Christmas Eve is on Sunday this year (!); I just completed a manuscript about Easter for Abingdon Press; I am enjoying the Emmylou Harris/Mark Knopler cd; our family is anticipating the arrival of a young man from Haiti who may live with us for a couple of years while he attends college (my wife has been working on many of the details related to this); I am watching more SEC football than in prior years, and I am also looking forward to ACC basketball. Oh yes, South Meck's volleyball team is in the state (4A) Tournament. Go Abby! Go Sabres!


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