If you grew up in Minnesota (or Wisconsin, or the Dakotas), you were taught that Chicago is mainly a pain in the ass.
Any trip East meant that Dad would complain about Chicago traffic, and the entire trip had to be scheduled to avoid the notoriously horrible Chicago traffic. If the Twin Cities were home, that meant leaving at 4am so that we could drive the Family Truckster through Chicagoland sometime after the morning rush and before the afternoon rush. According to Dad, that was a 35-minute window. Every summer driving trip — to Boston, to Washington, D.C., to New York City — hinged on this eye-of-the-needle calculus.
Then there’s A.J. Pierzynski.
So, I’m being honest when I say that I’ve never been much of a fan of the Windy City.
All that changed last week.
Four things changed my mind about Chicago:
First, I led a Social Phonics Boot Camp at Northern Seminary. Northern is a great seminary that’s attempting to be both relevant and affordable. Plus, they’re a founding member of the new Missio Alliance.
Second, I was interviewed by a couple young dudes from Moody Bible Institute. Their show — The Bridge — airs on Moody Campus Radio, and they are pushing several envelopes that likely make some at Moody uncomfortable.
Third, I gave a talk at LaSalle Street Church. Pastored by Laura Truax, LSC was founded by Moody many years ago — obviously, with a woman pastor, the church and the Bible School cut ties many years ago. They are an “ecumenical evangelical community” that has recently decided to openly welcome and affirm GLBT persons. This is an awesome church, and I felt very much at home.
Fourth, I got to have breakfast with my dear friend, Andy Marin, in Boys Town, the neighborhood in which he does his bridge-building work between the church and the GLBT community. We had a great time of catching up and talking shop.
All in all, it was a great visit to Chicago. And, I have to admit, Chicago isn’t as much of a pain in the ass as I thought. From now on, Lake Michigan should take the blame for being in the way.