On the last day here in Bangkok I was watching a biography special on Gwyneth Paltrow – she mentioned how devastating it was the year that she lost her grandfather – she seems to be a bit prone to depression and this loss was particularly difficult. She described their relationship in ways that were really moving – unconditionally loving of her, always one to give here sage advice and always “on her team.” It made me a bit emotional as I thought of the role of grandfathers in the lives of their grandchildren – not to mention what the wisdom literature has to say about it! I really miss Caleb, Ava, Ethan, Noah and Simon – It is a really special honor to be their grandfather!
I was attending a consultation in Bangkok with an number of folks that are working predominatly in the Islamic world and had a chance meeting with an old friend … I was grateful for the time to reconnect and especially to have my mind expanded. I knew that we would be reconnecting in August with a BILD training that I will be conducting in Chennai but this was a crossing of another sort. He works in a very poor area of India – one that I’ve travelled to several times and it never gets any easier. But each time I’ve been moved by the people that up against the backdrop of really difficult surroundings have an enormous brightness about the movement of God – non literacy is predominant but they communicate the love of God in ways most creative.
What struck me in a unique way was the incredible adaptability of the ways of Christ and the apostles. Though I know mentally that following Jesus has a wonderful unique expression globally and culture by culture, I do have to carefully recalibrate my mind regularly. On one side I can become very critical of western forms, almost cynically denying any good coming from traditional or even emerging models of ministry and western evangelicalism – mostly warranted I might add – and on the other side having a very deep and rarely communicated pride about “the way we do things.” This conversation obliterated any validity to either extreme – how the scripture, properly lived out, looks in places around the world is the stuff of God’s handiwork as He transforms people individually and corporately – worshipping on a prayer mat 5 times a day or in a house on stilts along the Mekong or in the rays of light from stained leaded glass …. it’s not my deal!
How I’m blessed – a wife of 33 years that displays consistently a kind of love to me that I aspire to for her, ever growing number of grandchildren with a majority of boys, all of my teeth, travelled to 9 different countries last year, some friendships that even when they know everything about me they still call me their friend, all the kids within a 10 minute drive, working in my lifework sweet spot, 2 great dogs – very loyal, holiday’s that I look forward to with all the family because we all get along, finally free wifi in my favorite coffee shops, hearing, and above all my God.
Things I love – warm weather, the fact that when my kids married I gained new sons and a daughter, driving down our long drive to the house in the evenings and Baron running to greet me and the smells of home, Marilyn’s embrace, U2, vacations in Florida with the family, a good movie night, seeing leaders in the most difficult settings around the world begin to actually believe that they could see their vision become a reality, evenings at The Well, WV and the people and the events, mowing the grass the firs ttime of the season on the John Deere, classic rock, funky coffee shops, father and grand-fatherhood, Black Market sausage pizza on sweet potato crust and a Fat Tire, the moment I finish working out, being a part of a work with the entire family that will last way beyond my years.
And so the journey begins ….