We wrapped up a humongous day last night right here at the Vineyard Church in Shoreline, WA, with a party that I hope was just a small taste of what heaven will be like (thanks Rose and Rich and the whole team at the Vineyard!). Great music, good wine and food, and lots of interesting discussion about the Kingdom of God, church, Jesus, women in ministry and a plethora of other subjects. About 250 of our Off The Map friends gathered with Jim Henderson and me, Doug Pagitt (Emergent Village), Rob Bell (Mars Hill Bible Church), and a few others, and stayed up way too late basking in the glow together. It’s been a great couple of days, for sure.
So we started the day yesterday at 6:30 at a prayer breakfast with the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu (Desi). Honestly, I could have flown home after that…nothing else that happened that day held a candle to it. Pastor Rose Swetman (of the Vineyard church aforementioned) somehow weaseled her way into the banquet room before anyone was allowed in and got us a table RIGHT IN FRONT of the platform (ok…Rob Bell and Doug Padgit had a table between us and the Dalai/Desi combo, but we were like 20 feet from the platform). We were all captivated by the child-like, playful demeanor of both of these Nobel Peace Prize winners. They kidded each other ceaselessly, giggled and joked and appeared to deeply and authentically admire each other. It was wondrous to behold, truly.
My new hero, Desmond Tutu, simply wowed me (and I think most of the room) with his poetic prayers, his infectious laughter, and his humility. He led the whole thing by serving and honoring his friend, the Dalai Lama. He pointed out that the reason we were all here this week was because of the “goodness in this man”. He also let us know that the Dalai was quite mischievous, and that he had to frequently remind him that “the cameras are on us…you need to behave like a holy man!” He continuously “told” on the Dalia Lama, pointing out the goodness and honor and discipline that lie within him. This was amazingly disarming. The Dalai Lama, who does not believe in any “god” (he is Buddhist) simply (and twice) referred to Tutu as “my boss”. This is a friendship that left many of us who witnessed this interchange in tears. For me, I saw Jesus in Desmond Tutu (and for those of you who have read “The Shack”, I saw “Papa” in him, too!). I think that was what brought the tears to my eyes. Sheer, pure, unbridled beauty…just 20 feet from me. Wow.
The rest of the day sort of paled by comparison, even though it was all pretty awesome. We went to the Key Arena to watch a really large panel of people from a wide variety of faith traditions (including Dalai, Desi and Doug) respond to scripted questions by young people. Rob Bell was on this panel (thanks to Jim Henderson), and he did a fantastic job of being the “Jesus” rep on stage, as you might expect. Doug Pagitt was on the second panel, which we didn’t see because we were setting up a workshop with Jim that was titled, “Recovering the Compassionate Traditions of Jesus” (which also went well…and Rob Bell was in on that one, too).
My new friends from Powell River, BC, came down for this whole deal and partied with us last night, too. What a fun bunch. I got to hang with Pam Hogeweide and Helen Mildenhall (my “almost roomate”) at Benjamin Ady’s home (and his whole family was there, too!). That was a great treat. Also got to reconnect with Sunil and Pam Sardar, from India (Truthseekers International). Lots of great new connections, reconnections, and some new and larger views of God.
Dude…I’m just happy to be here.
April 16th, 2008 · 5 Comments
Categories: DE Thoughts