- Last night, I had dinner with an incredible family. It was a feast for my weary heart. I laughed with little kids, talked about books, philosophy, and family. I watched that beautiful family at work in ministry to each other and to me. I heard stories about being a Christian in the 60s and 70s here in San Francisco and what it meant to minister in the counter-culture. I needed the reminder that I moved here to do that very work. I am inspired. And I’m filled with even greater urgency to love my neighbors here better.
- A friend marked me with a new defining sentence last night. In our “tribe”, each of us has earned a tagline that identifies something unique about who we are to the rest of the group. For a long time, my tagline was “I’m not sure what day it is.” I more than earned that. But he was also right to point out that it doesn’t take long for the humor to drain out of the self-deprecation. He took a game I initially started and added a new rule: all taglines need to be encouraging ones. In fact, it spoke to something that has been on my heart for a while. We could often do a lot to love each other better with our words. That the greater the familiarity in a group of people, the more frequent the punchlines. That’s part of the fun, indeed, but I’m reminded that the greater joy is in holding a mirror to each other that reveals the Christ in us, and His love on us–in fact, that is our holy task in community. We can laugh, but we need to take that seriously.
- My new tagline is, “I’m writing that down.” My friend identified my tendency to do that as more than a quirky compulsion. By making a record of a phrase or moment, even just for myself, I mark that which transpired as important, and I force other people to take note. I explained that I don’t suffer from not knowing what I had until it’s gone. I have the opposite problem: I always know that this moment is precious and the only one like it. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the magnitude of the moment; I well up and I’m frustrated when I can’t explain it. I am grieved that the moment is passing, and grieved that anyone might be missing it. He suggested that grief comes from the “writer” in me. I want other people to see this moment for what it is. Non-writers might get the weight of the moment, but they don’t necessarily care if anyone else does. Perhaps part of loving well for me is not only being present, but persevering in the task of bringing other people present as well.
- My theology professor brought me to tears more than once tonight. He used some lines that will stay with me for a while:
- “To by like Jesus is to never break the chain of teaching. He taught what He learned from the Father, and so you must teach whatever word it was that Jesus gave you.”
- “I like coincidences. I find that the coincidences increase when my prayer does.”
- “It’s ok to have partial models and partial understanding and limited explanations for our theology. We do what we can. It isn’t blasphemy until we say we have the whole thing.” Loving well means reducing sorrow and confusion by whatever means we have available to us.