Thursday, June 14, 2007

report from D.C.

I am sure you are dying to hear about my trip to Washington, D.C. last weekend. As you sat on pins and needles wondering what in the world I was up to, I ventured to D.C. for the 3rd time in 9 months, each trip surrounding Bread for the World.

I wanted to liveblog, but was unable to. Apparently, American University (where the event was held) has something against P.C. users.

Anyway, a few highlights include...
  • spending most waking minutes with Will Samson and Lilly Lewin, 2 EV friends. Lilly does cool prayer rooms and leads prayer and worship experiences, while Will writes books I want to read and lives in community while getting his PhD at UK.
  • seeing a former student from my youth group in Virginia (and Intern and fellow laborer in Boston) speak to the entire Gathering event about justice issues (he has led something called Boston Faith and Justice Network and just accepted a position at Sojourners).
  • having drinks with Brian McLaren and Will Samson before a gathering of people interested in Emergent Village.
  • the Brickskeller in DuPont Circle (2X).
  • reconnecting with Chris Haw, who leads an amazing community living experiment in Camden, NJ. Meeting new friends from around the nation (some pastors, some working with Bread, some part of One Campaign, one helping immigrants cross the border in Arizona).
  • having dinner with good friend Joel Vestal of ServLife fame at a great Arab owned and operated restaurant (knowing a bit of seemingly any language Joel can bring smiles to most faces). We inadvertently stumbled into the D.C. Pride event's favorite block for food leading an amusing set of text messages between my wife and I.
  • helping lead an "emergent" worship service on Sunday morning with Lilly and Will, along with Tim and Saranelle Hartman.
  • hanging out with one of my former students on Friday night.
  • seeing that very cute Panda Cub at the zoo, along with other cool animals.
  • staying blocks away from a Whole Foods, after living in Whole Foods Exile in Tampa.
  • meeting Kennedy, a Zambian student for the priesthood living in San Antonio.
  • listening to Senator Chuck Hagel explain why he thinks poverty relief is so important.
  • understanding why the buzz was so large for Harold Ford, Jr. when he ran for Senate in 2006. Although he lost, his upside is huge (and his opponents ran a very dirty/ slightly racist ad). If he becomes Tennessee's governor, he could be the first black man to win the presidency (he is a better speaker than Obama and more charismatic- and much younger). His speech was somewhere between sermon and stump speech (very Clinton-esque). He also has a bit of a downside, but also has a very interesting, and moderate voting record.
  • finding out more details on the Farm Bill and how it needs to change to help local individual farmers (instead of corporations that do not need subsidies) and our international friends.
  • learning more about how Evangelicals and Mainliners can come together to support the Micah Challenge which works with churches in developing nations to relieve extreme poverty and make people's lives much better.