It's a fair trade.
I've never been to a lectureship before. I'm certain that I will try to again. But if it's not in God's will, hopefully it will be within it for me to remember these things for the rest of my life:
- Being there with three elder couples from my church - and one retired elder couple. Seeing many friends ... some of whom I met for the first time face-to-face (like fellow blogger John Dobbs and James Wiser); others for the first time ever.
- The companionship and encouragement of good folks like David Underwood and Keith Riley, the former of whom has long encouraged me to attend these lectures, and the latter of whom encourages me to collect some thoughts in a book. Maybe I will.
- Hearing the grandson of a dear family friend - Philippe Dauner - deliver an outstanding keynote address in the fieldhouse, with his grandmother Colette Daugherty proudly watching.
- Telling him that the mother he tried not to be like and look like was once a teenage girl I had a crush on, and the qualities he has indeed inherited from her endeared me to her then.
- Getting an excellent overview of the causes of the rift between independent Christian Churches and the Churches of Christ a century ago from both Rick Atchley and Victor Knowles (by whom I was privileged to sit on the plane from Dallas).
- Hearing Bob Russell speak about the fundamental concepts that the two church fellowships hold dear.
- Attending excellent workshops like Jeff Childers' on the different "quadrants" of spiritual perception among Christians (a kind of JoHari Window analysis) and Dwight Robarts' ponderings on preaching about politics ... all the great reasons why we shouldn't; and all the biblical reasons why we must.
- Being shocked out of my reason to receive an award from the good folks at New Wineskins at the ZOE Group devotional Wednesday morning. I was totally humbled. I will keep the gargantuan plaque as a reminder of God's grace, for it is certainly not a merited award ... especially in view of the lifelong achievements of others honored at the lectures. (I was led to believe they were flying me out here to work at the ZOE table and talk about New Wineskins since Greg couldn't come.) And I will forgive Mike Cope, Larry Bridgesmith, Eric Noah-Wilson, Greg Taylor and anyone else who recruited my wife Angi to join the conspiracy to keep this truth from me.
- A moment early this morning when a young doe paused in the parking lot to let me take her photograph ... and emerged from behind the Science Hall again at noon when I was by myself to snap a few closer ones.
- Fellowship. The theme of the lectureship, all drawn from the first epistle of John. It could not have been better chosen, nor better lived out by the hosts and participants.
I'd better go, or I won't be able to find a seat to discover what Mike Cope has to say about sex and baptism.
That ought to be memorable, too.
PostScript: Missed Mike's session; it was full by the time I got there. Victor Knowles' second session was an excellent replacement. Check out his POE Ministries site.