These last four days, I've been with some great friends down in Palm Beach Florida. I have to confess, I planned this trip because February in Durango is usually the winter blues. So when I got the call to develop a program for a St. Mark's in Palm Beach, I jumped at the chance.
I arrived on Wednesday last week late in the evening after a few cancelled legs of my flight plans. My new friends Gwen and Ethan Nichol picked me up at the airport, and we hit the ground running.
Thursday, I had a chance to talk to the local ABC affiliate as we did a half hour interview on Teenage Sociology as it relates to Social Media. Then we hopped in the car and went to teach at the school associated with St. Marks Episcopal Church. After meeting the leadership of the church, I knew I was in the right spot. We were all trying to evoke a curiosity about Jesus in the midst of mainline denomination, and the kids were hungry.
After a day teaching at the school, we held an adult meeting in the main sanctuary. The topic: ALONE, the biggest issue our culture is dealing with today. After 40 minutes of lecture, I opened the conversation up to questions, and the parents didn't disappoint. We talked for nearly an hour about how students need to learn the tools of technology without compromising relational tools allowing them to create deep real friendships. On the journey of becoming a well healed adult, I believe it's important to expose some of the insecurities students face, so they can live life together, instead of in the social isolation social media can provide.
Friday, we hit the ground running at the school again, and then Friday night and all day Saturday, we had 50 kids who were ready to dive deep into the questions of developing a whole faith.
We started with theology, philosophy, and sociology of faith, and quickly moved to practical issues of dating, culture, and what it means to live in the world with a broader worldview. Even the students who were hard to reach left the weekend with a profound curiosity to discover their own spiritual journey.
And that's really what I love to see. In a weekend like this, I'm reminded of how impactful it can be if we lay aside our baggage of how to "do" church and focus on the heart of what it means to "be" people who follow Jesus.
I'm so thankful to my new friends Gwen, Scott, Ethan, Christopher, Charlie, Jennifer, Alex, Terry, and all the folks that made these four days possible. You guys were an encouragement to me, as I hope I was to you.
Now back home to Durango to see the Braner Party of 7. I sure do miss them when I'm on the road like this, and I'm thankful they still like the old man around when I walk through the front door.