I’ve been at the National Pastor’s Convention in San Diego — wow, beautiful weather — and one thing that makes the whole event vibrate for me is seeing old friends and meeting new ones.
I spent time, of course, with blog friends, readers of this blog whom I’ve met before or whom I first meet at such events, who are now faces and voices. What it all means to both Kris and me to have so many readers of the blog come out of nowhere to introduce themselves or say something appreciative is beyond words … we never knew what would become of this blog, but we are beginning to realize all over again that the level of conversation and civility is not just a witness to you our readers but to something that is desired in a world marred by fractious and acriominious words. Peaceful conversation can no longer be assumed, and I have to thank you for all your goodness on this blog. I’m not saying we don’t have disagreements, but we know how to disagree without turning a person into an enemy.

I had breakfast with one of my favorite bloggers, Jim Martin, down in Texas. We had a great time talking about how best to prepare pastors. Jim had some very good thoughts for me.
John Frye, up in Michigan, “met” Jim Martin — only over the blog — but met him yesterday in person and they had a good time meeting. And today I had breakfast with John and his friend Kenton Kemp.
Dana Ames (not “Day-na” but “Dan-a”) and I first met at this event two years ago; we share a common joy in fountain pens and in reading Tom Wright. We had coffee, talked about what was going on in our families (her son is exploring a master’s in piano performance — artsy family I have to admire). I didn’t get to speak much with Christine Scheller but it was nice seeing her again (she evokes tranquility for me).
It was the first time I got to sit down alone with Dan Kimball — we share so many common ideas and theology and I have to say that I envy his awesome hair and admire his pastoral tact, his graciousness, and his commitment to missional work among the 20somethings.
I had dinner with three leaders at Mars Hill Grand Rapids. Creative, insightful, courageous … Matt Krick, Greg Bunch, and Brad John Nelson (I think I got that right; sorry if I didn’t). They brought energy to the table and they give me confidence in the future church.
And I was with Tony Jones and met Julie for the first time; I saw Doug Pagitt and Shelly. We are all grateful to John Raymond, at Zondervan, for his creative insights into all things emerging and emergent. I’ll be blogging about this tomorrow.
I’ll post tomorrow about our sessions, among which was my first ever “Blue Parakeet” book event. I’m so pumped about that session I can hardly contain myself. I’ll talk about Phyllis Tickle tomorrow, since we shared a speaking event on prayer.

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