August brings the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit; followed by a time back home of catching up with various jobs off the guilt list.
This year’s GL included another bit of cleaning — reconditioning the disshevelled fish tank in our front hallway, but that’s another story...
From GL to GLS —
Chicago was in fine fettle. Every year I think there cannot be a new angle to photograph on Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate, and every year I come back with another thirty new angles! Look on the cleaning of the bean in glorious clean early morning light as a metaphor for the whole trip.
For a start I realise that learning about leadership is something worth giving a couple of days of regular sustained reflection to, among friends. I will comment separately on what I think I’ve learned this year in particular, but if life is a “school for the Lord’s service,” a period of structured reflection and learning helps, I find, to sharpen up the whole pattern of my work.
People this side of the pond sometimes seem to think it’s clever to be superior about US Evangelicals. Some of them, of course, are doubtless the most appalling people — but then so are some UK Anglicans, and others. Lay all that stuff aside, engage the irony over-ride, and there’s plenty to learn and to enjoy. The warmth, honesty, openness, empathy and positive faith of many US Evangelicals I meet refuses to be bound by all snotty stereotypes, and brings its own honest inspiration.
I found worship this year, especially on the Friday of the Leadership Summit, brought me directly to where my journey in faith began forty years ago — faith in Jesus Christ. I see I have 2.4 days of Bach in my iTunes library to enjoy back in Blighty, but at for a couple of days a year it does me nothing but good to learn and throw myself wholeheartedly into an American Evangelical environment. It’s also good, every year, to catch up with Anglican friends from the Diocese of Chicago. We are sometimes prey, this side of the pond, to a rather flat and stereotypical view of the Episcopal Church, and it’s good to be disabused of that by contact with real people. Real people, real faith, is the great reality checkpoint.