Monday, October 24, 2011

10 minutes on the beach...still got a boat load of memories!

Leave Thursday night put on a workshop for two days in Long Beach, CA and come home Sunday morning with 15 minutes to get to my Ministry in Context site, what's the worst that could happen? What a weekend, I do not know where to start, oh yeah me chasing the 55 bus in front of LSTC and missing it, that is when I knew the weekend was gonna be a hit. But why, you missed your bus? Yes and the next one came in minutes and then I got to ride with the Admissions Guru and my online Old Testament prof...Scott Chalmers. I was off to Los Angeles Airport, but really my final destination was Long Beach, CA. I was speaking at a gathering called the Glocal Mission Gathering, where Global and Local meet to discuss how the two should be working together and not apart. My role was to talk about radical hospitality and what young adults could and are doing, and giving ideas for making churches more hospitable. We use the story of the 99 sheep saying that if God is the shepherd that goes out and finds the lost sheep, we are the 99 waiting to be made whole. But what do we do with time while we wait, the same old, same old? Of course not, we are making sure that when the sheep comes home it is accepted and loved and that we are not standing in the way of that sheep seeing God's love and the beauty of the church as a whole. I belong to a group called The 99 Collective and our goal is to work with young adults in the ELCA, giving them a chance to tell their story and working to bring back the young adults because we as a church do not feel whole until God brings everyone back safe. This weekend was quick but I had such fun hanging out with people of all ages who shared that idea, that they were not OK with leaving anyone out. I am glad to be part of a seminary and church that believes that idea of accompaniment and walking along side people wherever they are at. In closing, my favorite random moment was meeting a young man, looked a little older than me, he says his name is, "Josh Ebener (left)." He's a former LSTC grad placed in Long Beach, CA for his first call (I should take some lessons from this guy). He and I exchanged some stories and laughed about the things that we can connect on... classes, the workload, and the fact that Rob Saler (right)is a genius (reason alone to come to LSTC). It was so good to see someone out in front of me, saying that everything was doable, saying yeah sometimes it is hard but worth it, and someone saying here's my card call me if you ever have a question or you just want to vent, "I've been where you are." Those were the closing lines combined with a hand shake that left me relieved. This was a short and fast weekend (I barely had time to put my feet in the waters of the Pacific Ocean), but I found peace in someone who could tell me my journey was survivable... the papers get done, the sermons are written, and finally you are a pastor. And I believed him.

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