How I Spent My (Blue Ocean) Summer Vacation
A brief update on the recently-concluded Blue Ocean Summit.
It was great to see many of you, if not to talk enough with most of you. This year's summit took on a bit of a big-picture theme, with Tanya Luhrmann painting a picture of an experiential connection with God presenting a unique opportunity in a secularizing world, followed by our culture panel taking a pass at how centered-set faith makes a unique offer in many spheres of the wider world (Hollywood, publishing, academia, finance).
My conversations (and there were plenty of them--bedtime well-past midnight throughout the time) were filled with hope about all this, combined with challenges at seeing this play itself out in our settings. I chatted on my front porch this morning with local pastors who came to their first summit and said, "We've pretty much only been talking about this stuff since the summit." On the spot were two invitations to take this on the road to other gatherings, one within my denomination, one outside of it.
An intriguing capper came just after the summit finished, on Wednesday night. Tanya joined about thirty folks in a nearby pub for another of our summer "Meaning in a Pub" gatherings, composed of about a third churchgoers and two-thirds folks from either other religious traditions or no religion. She shared quite candidly about her really astounding tour of religious communities as an anthropologist--surely no one in history has lived even a similar life to hers--before turning things back to the tables for processing. Later that night, over a glass of wine with Grace and me, she shook her head and said something like, "You folks really are remarkable. Believing Christians who truly live out centered set. I don't think I've seen that in quite the same way before."
So just a few words on a time I'm still very much chewing on. We may well have more to say soon...or we'll ponder it in our heart. Thanks so much to those of you who made it here, usually at the cost of real sacrifice. I can't wait to see where things go next.