A couple thoughts off topic.
1) Had dinner tonight w/ GREAT friends. Chad Canipe, Aaron Klinefelter, Joe Long, Alan Creech, Kevin Rains and Mark Palmer. It was somewhat spontaneous with the plans being made all in the past 24 hours. Palmer drove down from Columbus with acute back pain and Alan came up from Lexington for dinner at Claddagh in Newport. You see, relationships are VERY important to me. Really, they are the center of my life, the rest is details. Another reason why I am very low-program when it comes to church is that it often neglects people and doesn't count relationship as significant. If I was busy pushing programs then I wouldn't have time for dinners like tonight, I would miss them. Everytime I meet w/ these guys and others, I walk away encouraged, inspired, challenged and more relaxed. All of this makes me ready for the long haul. I'm reminded that I'm not alone and that there's a reason I do what I do, its because people matter.
2) Just got finished looking at amateur video and photos of the Tsunami in Asia and it causes me to remember the worst night of my life. It was July in 2001 and I got caught in a flash flood w/ my family and friends in the car. We had to abandon my Jeep and head for high ground. It was 1:00 a.m., water was up to my waist and moving quickly, huge debris in the water, lightning filling the sky, a horrifying memory. Joe Long was w/ us, he grabbed Megan and walked out, holding her above his head as the water got deeper. I grabbed Ali and she awoke clinging to my for her life. Nicki grabbed our new puppy, Casey, who we've had for a week and Joe's date grabbed my cell phone. I could have lost my family that night to the power of the rushing waters. But I can tell you that it wasn't an option. I remember trying to keep my balance in the water holding onto Ali thinking about the famous line from the movie Apollo 13, "failure is not an option". I was determined to get us all out of the situation "okay" and we were.
I can't help but think that this is also a metaphor for our current conversation. When your in crisis, you make decisions based on the bottom line. If survival is your goal, then there isn't a "right or wrong" way, but there are "better" ways. Watching Joe go through one way where it got much deeper (to his neck) was not the best way to go. That was obvious. so we all took a longer but relatively safer route. We all got to the high ground, but w/ differing methods, one higher risk than the other. We didn't stay in the car and wait for the water to rise more as we processed the best route, we got out and did our best and that was good enough for that night. Im all for education and meaningful dialogue, but if at the end of the day our "ideas" don't turn into action, then we've done nothing. If the single mom who lives on our street does not experience Kingdom come because she lives w/ in the influence of our communities then our ideas are all rhetoric. As we think, exchange, discuss, dialogue, point out etc., let's make sure to do something about it today because when it comes to church, failure is not an option.