In Bakersfield, CA a few days ago, I met up with a pastor who was eager to hear about The Row House. I had contacted Randy Martin before our trip to simply scope out a possible floor to crash on and any chance of connecting with like-minded people over cultural engagement. Turns out, he found us a sweet family of four to stay with and an opportunity to describe what we’re up to on the East Coast.
I was impressed by this man’s transformation from a “cultural warrior” in the 80′s to a broken man who now is trying to help his church build bridges to neighbors. I can’t wait to get his story in print for our journal.
In a nutshell: His pastoral ministry had been curtailed by family upheaval. Then he found himself starting over, working among normal people like most of us do without a clerical apparatus to hide behind.
What he found at the end of this season was that he no longer feared non-Christians. The atmosphere of “us VS them” that fueled his early days of co-belligernnce in social causes fell from him like a skin that no longer fit.
Now, each week at least, he’s leading a small group of men in his church to discuss how the Gospel impacts various areas of life that are matter most. He calls it “Intersect.”
I can’t tell you how amazing it’s been to network with a lot more people than Randy on this trip.
In Oklahoma City we had a few hours to do laundry. Wanting legit coffee, I posted a note on City Church’s Facebook page that I’d be downtown at Elemental Coffee, and Hey, if anyone wants talk about reaching people through cultural discussion, text me.
I met Jim Tudor at Cornerstone Festival (a fellow speaker). He is starting a community-based, film discussion in St. Louis called Zekefilm.A fool’s errand, right? Not exactly. Bobby Griffith, who works with my old seminary pal Doug Serven at City Pres, contacted me! We had some great conversation. He and some church members are conducting a forum called “Intersection” which mirrors our forums in PA.
Tomorrow I have lunch with a San Luis Obispo (CA) pastor whose church conducts a regular men’s pub gathering. He has a L’Abri background as we do, and it will be a joy to make contact with him.
Of course, our family spent a couple nights at Ithaka Fellowship near Normal, IL on the way to Cornerstone. I serve Duane & Julie Otto’s board. They run an agrarian version of The Row House.
The more I travel and look around, the more I am inspired by a rich diversity of thoughtful Christians doing their best to follow the Lord in His world where nothing is not sacred.
I’ll be home soon to tell more tales.