Sunday, July 21, 2013

First Cup—"Interregnum"

Yes, I know: it’s been a long time. Over a month since I last wrote. I’ve titled this entry “Interregnum,” which, defined, means the time between two governments or, simply, a more than usual interruption. I use this big word as a way of saying, No, I wasn’t only being lazy. A great deal has been packed into that month, not the least of which were the two trips.

Judy and I traveled to Anderson for the Global Gathering and, then, I traveled on to Points East to meet up with Joel and head to Points West—as child number one pulled up stakes, packed most of his life up, and headed back home to Portland. I’m fairly certain that there will be some reflection down the road about those trips and all that they entailed. It is enough to say, for now, that the trips were well worth the time and effort.

It was good, so good, to see so many old friends—from all over the world, even though, I qualify, the stated purposes of the Global Gathering left me fairly cold. From my journal:

Oh well, as in nearly every other aspect, no one wants my opinion. These notes will never see the light of day. But the church has gone so wrong in listening to the stories of others rather than its own that I doubt it will ever find its way back to distinctive mission and purpose. We are lost in a thick wood. (Using that metaphor a great deal lately: I said that to Jael the other day talking of American public education.) Yet, it is apt. Something more like Arnold’s view of the world standing at “Dover Beach”:

…for the world, which seems

To lie before us like a land of dreams,

So various, so beautiful, so new,

Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,

Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;

And we are here as on a darkling plain

Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,

Where ignorant armies clash by night.

And rather than give ourselves to process that God calls us to—discernment—we trust in the wisdom (glibness) of men. Arnold says, “Ah love, let us be true to one another….” Good, but I would write it more like this, Ah love, let us be true to God. The sovereign God who invites us, at great peril and often foolishness, into working out a Plan for the redemption of the world…".

When the appropriate distance has been achieved and the time for more thoughtful entry arrives, I think I’ll title that blog entry “A long, good conversation….” That is the way I characterize these trips. I wrote to someone recently that it felt as if I sat down and people just kept coming by to talk. From my journal:

I have to say, as I have so often in these pages, how fortunate I am to have so many friends. I say honestly I don’t know why I do. I don’t think that I’m a good friend—or not often enough. But I am grateful and, to use the much overused phrase, blessed.

And, a bit further on:

In fact, one way that I’ve described this week: “one long, amazing connected conversation about life, the church, the world, meaning and purpose.” Overall, I’m very, very glad I went. It will not happen again for us, I suspect. In fact, one wonders why it happens at all. Some last vestige, a remnant, maybe, a hope, a stone of remembrance?

And, finally:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 • Troutdale, OR • Home a couple of days, catching up, recuperating. Have already started on class for next Tuesday night—a first for me: Introduction to Literature. Not sure how I might adjust it if I teach it again but, for now, will just follow the syllabus. It will be fun, I hope, to once again engage others about literature….

Well, the details escape me, but the experience will linger on as one of the seriously joyful ones of my long life—to spend such concentrated time with one on my children! Great gift! We traveled by I-70 from Delaware to Pittsburg to Indiana to Illinois to Missouri to Kansas to Colorado to Wyoming to Utah to Idaho and, yes, finally, Oregon. We visited the Warhol Museum in Pitt (a city that turned out to be quite more than I thought); ate well, drank well, slept well; talked and talked and talked; stared at the unrolling beauty of the country, marveling especially at Wyoming and the entry into Utah! Had one of the best breakfasts of my life in Baker City, OR, remembering the joyfulness of an earlier trip and stay in that city with Terry—and the subsequent sorrow. Fort Fred Steele on the North Platte. Microbreweries here and there. Listening to Brubeck. Talking and talking and talking. Really, an amazing journey—a great road trip. Deo gratias!

I have to end this. There is no way, finally, to capture any of this. Just feeling very grateful. Very!

So, I bring this interruption to a close. It is enough for now. My next entry will be back on the 70s reflection track and focus on Warner Pacific College, one of the vibrant holy place of my life.

Veni, Sophia, veni…

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