The recent Disciples of Christ General Assembly was its usual combination of joys and challenges, just like real life. Being profoundly lazy, I like easy joys like good preaching, interesting workshops, useful vendors and reconnecting with old friends. I like these things so much, I’m willing to scale the challenges represented by the thousands of steps in the arena and the slope of the skywalk that did get steeper as the week progressed (I’m sure it got steeper even though I can’t explain the physics).
The absolute most best-est and greatest experience at G.A. was reconnecting with so many classmates from Central Baptist Seminary. Angela and I received our M.Divs in 2008 after 3 years of pedal-to-the-metal pursuit. We were American Baptists who commuted 3 hours each way with our kids in tow to obtain the education we needed for our second careers. Angela earned her degree by deep study, hard work, and clear thinking; I got my degree by riding her coattails and an abundance of grace. God used some people in our home district to bar our way in our denomination as thoroughly as the Red Sea barred the fleeing Hebrews. God used others, the Disciples of Christ we met in seminary, to show us the dry ground as the waves pulled back. It was some of these very colleagues and spouses – Ron & Jo Stair, Tim Wessley, Lois Kelley, Sharon & Darrel Cantrell, Cliff Caton and Suzi Goldt – we were drawn to again in the crowd of thousands at G.A.
In the hallway conversations, the pre/post workshop chats and, especially at lunch at Buzzard Bills we were reminded – reminded, after the years of ministry with its corresponding dents, dings, and rust spots on our Calls; reminded we started together. We were reminded that in that beginning time, the time of equipping (thank you, CBTS), we had all seen something in one another and had others see in us; we were Called. To have shared memories that made us laugh was a high point of the Assembly, but sharing memories of gratitude for one another and our seminary experience was a high point of my life in ministry.