Monday, September 15, 2008

Conversations from Colorado

We just spent the past weekend at Glen Eyrie, the Navigators beautiful site in Colorado Springs. We were there to attend a Marriage Retreat. The last time I visited this gorgeous retreat center was back in 1994 for a Marriage Getaway put on by the ministry of the Navigators. It truly is a glorious place.

David and I spent hours in conversation and that is just for us. However, two other conversations have been rattling around in my mind and seem blog worthy.

1. Brian McLaren was at Glen Eyrie doing another conference, but I got to have a short insightful conversation with him. He has spent a lot of time recently working with church leaders in South Africa and has a unique perspective of what God is doing there. We feel out of touch with the larger picture of Kingdom and how it is impacting life there. I was able to ask him to give me his perspective of what is happening. It was hopeful and encouraging. From the very source of past atrocities and apartheid new life is coming and Jesus is being lived out in ways that are fresh and unexpected. I shared my concern about the violence being directed toward immigrants from other African countries and how that does not fit the Ubuntu theology of Bishop Tutu and other important African voices. He acknowledged the tension of ideology versus practice, but framed it with such clear understanding of the situation. Bottom line he said is that when people feel their wealth is being threatened they will turn on whomever. Bingo!

Herein lies the real issue. One would think that a people who have seen the hardship of being marginalized, the struggle of poverty and the pain of powerlessness would have such deep compassion for the stranger among them, that they would pull together to ensure greater equality for all. However, the newly empowered, the nouveau riche and rising middle class instead are closing ranks to protect their new status at the expense of the refugee.

It made me wonder about the power of our stuff.

2. The second conversation was one about marriage, that the lead organizer of the retreat shared. From the writings of Gary Thomas and others, he reminded us that marriage is more about making us holy than happy. While that is not a new concept it is a beautiful one. It transcends emotion and feeling, but does not minimize it. It speaks to the deeply shaping experience of knowing oneself better in community. It calls us to see our marriage as a tool in the kingdom. Not for one minute was he encouraging us to live out loveless, passionless marriages - just the opposite in fact. He was calling us to the highest possible view of marriage.

It made me wonder about the power of real love.

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