My head and heart are still spinning from my recent swing through Virginia. I appreciated those of you who prayed for my time in Washington, DC working alongside the First Amendment Center to help to create a publication for school districts to deal with sexual orientation issues. The meeting brought people together from all sides of this issue and I was pleasantly surprised at the cooperative nature of those discussions.
I was also incredibly awed by the view. We sat in a room that had views from the Pentagon on the right, across the memorials on the Mall, the Capitol and the White House and all the way up the left to the National Cathedral. It was an awesome view. From my chair at the table, I could see the West Wing of the White House. At was a bittersweet view in some ways. I remember the first time I came to Washington some 26 years ago filled with idealism about what goes on in that city. I’ll have to admit the last 26 years have left me a bit jaded with the state of American politics, and how much our national leaders have sold out to special interests groups in the high-finance of re-election campaigns. I think my eyes are open far wider to the corruption of power and how man’s systems fall so far short of God’s glory.
Going into detail about our meeting, however, would take hours I don’t have, but we were able to talk in frank and honest terms about finding a way to ensure that no one is bullied or harassed on a public school campus, while still being honest with the fact that we as a culture we are divided in our convictions about the morality and normalcy of homosexuality. It was clear from those present that faith-based objections to homosexuality are not de facto harassment and discrimination and that it would be as inappropriate for schools to indoctrinate students into a view of homosexuality that runs counter to their beliefs and convictions. The small group of us in that room had amazing common ground as to how our culture can deal with these difficult issues and not undermine the various views represented in our culture. The trick now is to put that to words in a way that will appeal to groups who carry far more intense agendas on either side of this debate. But I was amazed at how well a group of people with such a wide diversity of views could come together and respect our differences while working for a larger common good. It’s why I love playing with the BridgeBuilders stuff when God gies me a chance.
From there I traveled to Richmond and Norfolk and talked with people who represented a wide spectrum of thought on the nature of the church. I met with a Methodist minister who is a old friend, and ended up spending a couple of hours helping a young crack addict and alcoholic find his way back to Father’s heart and got him into rehab. He just walked in off the street while we were there visiting and asked for help. What a joy to see a Prodigal find his way home. I also met with a couple of home groups sorting out next steps in their journeys, a leadership team from a traditional congregation that weren’t at all sure how what to do with my rather unorthodox views, and ended in a home with a group of folks from around Richmond on various stages of the journey. Over a scrumptious barbeque I had the chance to converse with a broad array of people, from unbelievers, to some in traditional congregations and to long-time followers of Christ who have recently given up on institutional answers. What an evening! The next day I even got in a round of golf with a good friend from the DC area before heading home.
What a trip! I don’t know if I’ve ever been with such a vast array of people from across every imaginable spectrum and see so much of Father’s fingerprints in drawing people from wherever they are closer to himself. I came away absolutely exhausted in body and mind, though wonderfully refreshed in spirit. Then I got home to our multiple real estate deals to move to a different house. What a nightmare of forms, phone calls and decisions, but we are increasingly convinced that Father has something in mind through this move, so I keep pressing through it all. But it is far more complicated than I imagined and will be a major distraction over the next few weeks as we get everything done and our stuff moved into the new house. If you’re near LA during the second weekend of June and want to help, please let me know!