Kris and I were in Boston this weekend, where I gave two worshops on Embracing Grace to the wonderful folks who attend Vision New England in downtown Boston. This is our second invitation, and both experiences were splendid. I do sense the attenders where receptive to my ideas, considered the suggstions about “cracked Eikons” with a fine-tooth comb, and had good questions. I’m tying together gospel and Barna’s Revolution numbers (20 million “revolutionaries” with less than a clear commitment to a local church), and this issue Barna has raised generates good discussions. I think part of the cause of that group is an individualistic gospel. I never go away from such events without thinking it would have been nice to sit over coffee with those with questions.
We did meet for coffee with three delightful and committed Paraclete people: Pam Jordan, Carol Showalter, and Jenny Lynch. We’ve been with Paraclete two years and these folk feel like family in many ways. Congrats to Jenny as they await their new baby, and we hope Pam had a good weekend in Maine with her kids. If you ever meet Carol, ask her about her dog — she now wonders if there is something called “dog-olatry.” She’s got it.
Kris and I had breakfast (as I mentioned) with Brian McLaren. Kris attended his plenary session and the comments and discussion session afterwards. She remembered most of what he had to say, so I feel like I heard him too. I was on a local Boston radio with Pastor Bill Boynton (spelling? WEZE) and then had some meetings with friends, one of whom was the son of a college basketball teammate of mine (Kevin Krass, who passed some years ago, way too early, from cancer), Keith Krass, who is studying at Gordon College. Mature young man, and it will be fun to watch him move along.
A highlight of Boston: I have to admit that I sought out a cup of “chowda” for lunch and dinner — and would have a “breakfast chowda” if the Bostonians would invent one. America’s best soup can be had on the East coast under the name “chowder” but pronounced distinctly and proudly “chowda” in Boston. In the Hynes Convention Ctr is a food court, and Boston Chowda has the soup you might try.
Kris and I walked down Newbury, across the Boston Commons, up into Beacon Hill, and then wound our way through the outdoor markets and the street musicians until we got to the Old North Church. Cotton Mather’s place. Names from the 1720s on each of the “box seats” throughout the lower floor. Went up to Copp’s Hill cemetery, where we saw the Mather’s resting place. We also went to St. Stephen’s, which has to be as austere a Roman Catholic Church as I’ve ever seen. We finished the evening at a dinner next to Old Trinity Church at Skipjack’s. Good chowda there, too.
We got back before we were supposed to leave, because we were able to get on the earlier flight.