I arrived in Ireland with a really bad back, but in relatively good spirits. On the one hand, my back was so tweaked that I needed a wheelchair to get me between gates at Newark; on the other hand, I received a complimentary upgrade to Business First, so I was plied with good food and drink for the flight. Shane Tucker, my host for the week, picked me up at the airport in Dublin. Shane is an American who has spent the last half-dozen plus years in Ireland as a church-based youth worker. Currently, he is a regional director for youth ministry in the Church of Ireland (Anglican). After a short ride from the airport, Shane set me up at the Hotel Isaacs.
On Saturday morning, I made my way to Christ Church Cathedral (Anglican), a nearly millennium-old church. The Vikings build the original church on this site around 1000, and the Normans build a bigger, better version a couple hundred years later. I spent the day in the crypt, underneath the sanctuary, speaking to about forty or fifty interested persons. They were a combination of folks, many of them young. Contrary to what I had been told, they were quite interested in having a back-and-forth conversation over the topics I presented. We talked of modernism, postmodernism, philosophy, theology, and ecclesiology.
That evening and Sunday morning, I was invited to participate in an intimate conversation hosted by Dreamers of the Day, an organization that Shane co-founded. Present were missionaries, pastors, artists, and actors – I was happy to reconnect with Steve Hollinghurst from the U.K., whom I hadn’t seen for about three years. While talk on Saturday night dealt mainly with the failings of the church, we moved forward on Sunday to dream about how we might network innovative church folks from around Eire.