I just returned from the Governor’s “home.” A motor cascade led us and the whole time I stuck my head out of the bus window yelling, “woooooo, woooooo!” Now I have a big bruise on my face from a wayward palm tree.
Boy did I feel important – an Indonesia concert band was playing, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” as we entered, and then a dance troupe performed for us followed by a choir, followed by a speaker, another choir, another speaker, another speaker, another choir, and another speaker, and finally the governor. There were only three awake at that time and I was not one of them. Sorry the pictures aren't great, but you get the idea.
The governor spoke eloquently about the love of God and Christ and how that is reflected in this gathering. I am always uplifted to hear a politician speak earnestly and honestly about their faith. You usually can tell when they are doing in – the shibboleth is not only in the words but in the way those words are said. It was and is a moment of vulnerability and honesty.
So on this trip I met:
An Anglican from Hong Kong
A Tazie Monk from France
Someone from New Zealand (I didn’t understand who he was with)
An Anglican (who was first a Baptist and then a Pentecostal) from Australia
An African Episcopal Methodist Bishop from Florida
A Lutheran from Brazil
Here is something that I have been noticing – we are a bunch of introverts! Well, not me, but everyone else. It is like pulling teeth to get people to open up and talk to me and I’m sure it isn’t the way I look. I removed my plastic fangs and fake extra-long fingernail just to be sure. It could be the big palm branch welt on my face.
I have been asking questions, lots of questions. That is how you get to know someone and find something to talk about, by asking lots of questions about that person. It usually makes that person feel pretty good about themselves as well to have all that attention. What I have been finding is that people have not been asking me lots of questions. I ask a question, get a one word answer, and that is it. It is like talking to a room of teenagers. I understand that a lot of it may be the language, but that excuse can only go so far. Some of it is that many of these people already know each other, have relationships from past events, and I can understand the reticence. Why share when you already have friends.
I don’t have any friends
so for the sake of survival I need to talk to people. But pity-party aside, we are here to break down walls between churches, especially between Pentecostals, Evangelicals, and the more traditional (boring) churches. Everyone will need to work, and that work will be hard for such walls to be broken. Yet once again the sin of complacency becomes a downfall for God’s work.
Ok, that was a little harsh so I’ll soften it up a bit. Until we are all willing to take chances as individuals and as denominations we will continue to spiral in our navel-gazing despair ignoring the movement of the Holy Spirit. Was that softer?