I’ve got a bit of Tennessee in my blood this month. Last week I visited Belmont University in Nashville where I was warmly hosted by the University Ministries staff (thanks Guy, Kristy, and Micah!). I am learning more about how to interact with undergraduate audiences, and hopefully I’m getting better at it. That is to say, it’s not always my best crowd. But Belmont was awesome. The students were thoughtful and engaged, and they piped right up when I left time for discussion.
I was a part of their Emerge week, an annual focus on spiritual formation. Len Sweet gave the first couple talks, then I spoke three times. I also had lunch with some student leaders and the discussion there was intriguing as well. And after one of my talks, Dan Vincent, staff member of an Acts 29 church in the area came up and we chatted for a bit. Talking with Dan, I was reminded again of how much we all have to learn from one another, and how that only happens when we are cordial and hospitable and give one another the benefit of the doubt.
While in N’ville, I joined the Nashville Emergent Cohort for an afternoon meeting. What a great group. Seriously, that’s a model cohort both for their diversity and for the obvious commitment that they have for one another. (Thanks Dixon, Jay, et al.)
Now this week, I’m headed to Memphis where I have the distinct pleasure of sharing a podium with Phyllis Tickle as we kick off Calvary Episcopal Church’s 2008 Lenten Preaching Series. Then I’ll be leading a short retreat for youth workers in the area (it’s free — you’re welcome to come!) and coming home on Saturday afternoon.
When the good folks at Calvary asked if I had any dietary restrictions, I told them that I need some Memphis BBQ.