You know I am tired and sleep deprived when I am combining days of reflection. I think it's only appropriate given that the days (and the class readings) are beginning to run together. I know I have probably said it a million times if you follow me on Facebook, but I absolutely cannot believe that I get to have this amazing experience. In my cohort I have senior pastors of both large and small charges, associate pastors/ministers, episcopal priests, a very successful businessman who ministers part-time, younger people, older people, and the list of our differences go on and on. So you can only imagine how odd we must have looked having dinner together in downtown Durham, sitting on the sidewalk patio of the restaurant with a 60-something white-haired man and his wife at the helm. And oh yeah... that 60-something white-haired man... Bishop Will Willimon! Who's he? Well until a few weeks ago when I received his syllabus I didn't know either. After reading his book and experiencing him as my professor, I can tell you that he's only United Methodist royalty and the most radical episcopal prelate I've ever heard of much less encountered. That's right folks, I debated (quite passionately and successfully I might add) the role of empathy in leadership with Bishop Willimon and had him express appreciation for my argument. Wow!!!!!! **Jumps up and down in amazement** Only now as I write that sentence can I appreciate the full weight of that moment. Life-changing.
As I sat around at dinner talking about Biggie Smalls and Tupac with an Episcopal priest, I looked around the table and thought this is the beloved community. Boy am I glad that I get to be a part of it. It reminded me of what I loved so much about my seminary experience but only got to hold onto for a brief moment in time. I also have to say that this experience has caused a significant shift in my thinking. I thought I was coming to study leadership... other people's leadership. Now I understand that the Lord sent me here to examine myself as a leader as he prepares me for what I cannot yet see.
Now y'all know I had to cop some Duke para while I'm here, especially as hard as we're working. I had to resist the exorbitantly expensive hooded sweatshirt because I want to stay married, but I did manage to pick up a couple of tees.