Thursday, March 11, 2010

30 Days of Hearing -- Dinner Conversation

Last night, in Herndon, Virginia, I went out to dinner with my boss Tim Shapiro and our board of directors member Katie Patterson and her husband Jack. That was a rather eclectic group that gathered at the Ice House. Tim's a Presbyterian minister, Katie's a speech therapist and art museum volunteer, Jack's a corporate pilot (they are both Catholic), and I am some Quaker type.

Whatever would we have to talk about?? The biggest thing we share in common is our link to the Indianapolis Center for Congregations. Well, even with a couple of introverts like Tim and me thrown into the mix, things went very well. From the time we climbed into Tim's car until the time we reentered the hotel, the conversation was lively.

We talked about current goings on in DC (since we are close), non-for-profits who hold on to certain investments perhaps a wee bit too long, the Academy Awards, salaries at regional air carriers, art exhibits, our families, and more. We told bad jokes and made even worse puns -- boy, is it hard to keep up with Jack in that department, though I admit I tried.

And while we did not talk much about our faith, it was the tie that bound us together over dinner. Because of our faith, we had each flown to DC to the board meeting -- believing in the center's mission of helping strengthen local congregations.

We were not the same type of Christian gathered around that table. Catholic, Quaker, Presbyterian. And yet, the conversation reminded me, that we did not to be all the same. And I also remembered the words of Isaac Penington who wrote in 1659 that:

…, oh, how sweet and pleasant it is to the truly spiritual eye to see the several sorts of believers, several forms of Christians in the school of Christ, every one learning their own lesson, performing their own peculiar service, and knowing, owning, and loving one another in their several places and different performances to their Master, to whom they are to give an account, and not to quarrel with one another about their different practices. For this is the true ground of love and unity, not that such a man walks and does just as I do, but because I feel the same Spirit and life in him, and that he walks in his rank, in his own order, in his proper way and place of subjection to that: and this is far more pleasing to me than if he walked just in that track wherein I walk.

I am blessed to "see the several sorts of believers, several forms of Christians in the school of Christ" throughout my life. "Every one learning their own lesson." And hearing last night's conversation reminded me just how blessed I am in that regard.

-- Brent

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