Monday, October 31, 2005

Kyle Lake

I will miss Kyle. As one is wont to do in these technologized times, I just went back through all my email exchanges with him -- he was such a wonderful and generous guy. Once I recommended him for a speaking gig, which he took and did a wonderful job at. A couple weeks later, I received a gift card for The Cheesecake Factory in the mail from him, along with a grace-filled thank you note. That blew me away -- I would never have thought of doing that.

I don't know if Relevant used it, since I haven't seen the book yet, but here's the endorsement I offered after reading the manuscript of Kyle's just-published book on prayer:

“When people who are attempting to follow Christ open up and get honest with one another, it’s practically inevitable: they start talking about their frustration with prayer, their feelings of guilt at not praying enough or well enough, and their deep fears that maybe prayer doesn’t really work after all. In other words, they last thing we need is another book on prayer that if full of platitudes and euphemisms. Thank God that Kyle has the ability to look at Christian prayer for what it really is: the maddening, beautiful, confounding, inept attempts of human beings to communicate with our Creator. This book is a gem. And one more thing, Kyle is one heckuva writer!”

One more thing: Kyle and I were supposed to go duck hunting on a trip arranged by Jason Mitchell in January. I wish I would have gotten that chance, especially after reading Jason's tribute.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Washington, D.C.

I'm on the National Working Group of the "Faith as a Way of Life Project" at the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, and we meet twice a year to have "on the ground" experiences followed by discussion about how faith does or does not intersect with various spheres of life. In order to reflect on faith in our political life, we convened for three days in Washington, D.C. We met with various individuals at different levels of government, from the neophyte congressional staffer to a high ranking senator. As usual, the discussions over dinner and our traditional "late night cigar fellowship" were the best.

Among the highlights was a thirty-minute meeting with Senator Joseph Lieberman. After brief introductions, he talked about his deep faith (which happens to be Jewish) and how it affects him daily.

Lieberman is known as a moderate Democrat, a member of the "Group of Fourteen" that has tried to present a third alternative to the ideologies of the far left and far right. And, most importantly for our purposes, he has been outspoken about his faith in his public life.
He told us about growing up in a very religious home and in a home that valued public service. And then he asked us for questions. One of the things we asked was how he was able to work with those on the far right and far left, how he was able to work for consensus, and how he co-sponsors legislation with senators who disagree with him on most things -- basically, how does he maneuver in a radically plural context for a principled pluralism?

Interestingly, Sen. Lieberman quoted a Jewish teaching in response. "We are to perfect the world," he said. Then he continued, "And the second half of that verse is the part that you don't hear quoted as much in Washington: 'Under the sovereignty of the Almighty.'" So, he continued, the pragmatism of that Jewish theology leads him to a pragmatic political philosophy. "I disagree with conservative evangelical Christian politicians on gay rights," he said, "but we both believe that God created the Earth and that we are stewards of the Earth. So I work with conservatives on environmental protection legislation." He also talked about his personal hatred of abortion, but that he thinks that Roe v. Wade is a faithful and balanced interpretation of the Constitution.

In other words, Lieberman's faith clearly influences his political philosophy. and it influences his day-to-day decisions. The pragmatism he espoused reminded me of what I know of Jewish theology, but also of early American politics (and current philosophies like Jeffrey Stout). And it made me wonder how we can develop young Christian politicians who are less ideological and more faithful...and pragmatic.

Finally, it was nice that several times Sen. Lieberman remarked at how refreshing it was that he got a time in his day to talk about faith, especially in a day that was consumed with Harriet Miers and Scooter Libby.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Monday, October 24, 2005

Were you in Pittsburgh?

If you came to the late nite theology discussion, Tony Myles has a great recap here.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Doug's Paean to Me

Many surely know that Doug is a great fan of my speaking. In fact, sometimes when we are co-presenting a seminar at some conference or other, he becomes so entranced with my melifluous tones, my impeccable grammar, and my indisputible reasoning, that he forgets to get up and give his part of the presentation.

Well, now it has become clear that he is just as fond of my writing.

Right back at ya, Duke. I think you're a helluva writer, a brilliant speacher, and the best body pray-er I've ever seen!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

UPDATE: Live North of Columbus, OH?

Wanna talk about Emergent?

Meet me for dinner at 8pm!!! [this is an update!!!] in the lobby of the Comfort Inn in Mt. Vernon on Friday, October 7.

If you're involved in youth ministry, you can also register for SkillQuest at MVNU -- it'd be great to see you there!