Busy Summer!

I realize that I haven’t posted anything on this blog in weeks, and I apologize, but it’s been a busy summer. 

I went to the Baptist World Alliance gathering in Kuala Lumpur because I’m a member of the Peace Commission.  I met Baptists from all over the world, had lunch with people from Papua New Guinea, Jamaica, and Germany, listened to testimonies from people in conflict-ridden Myanmar and Nagaland, and also learned ten strategies for peacemaking.  It was an exhausting but exhilarating meeting.

I followed that with five days in Indonesia, staying with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel on the beautiful island of Bali.  I preached on that Sunday morning to a congregation of expatriates, many of them from the US and Australia.  I learned that Christians represent less than one percent of the population of Bali; most of the people are Balinese Hindu.  Everywhere I went I saw women putting out little offerings to appease the gods, or to ward off the evil spirits.  The faint smell of incense was everywhere.  I got to rest some while I was there, and tried to use those days as spiritual retreat.  I read Harvey Cox’s The Future of Faith and Richard Rohr’s Everything Belongs.  I sat on the front porch of my little guest house and wrote pages and pages in my journal.  I looked up at a sky full of homemade kites (a strange and wonderful tradition there during the breezy season), and closed my eyes in gratitude.

I was home for a little more than a week after that, working hard to catch up on everything, and then it was off to Colorado for a backpacking trip.  For thirty years now I’ve taken a week off to hike with my brother-in-law, Chuck, in some of the most beautiful places in America.  Lately our old college friend Joe has been joining us and this year Joe brought his son Ethan.  We spent most of a week hiking on the Colorado Trail at altitudes of 10,000 feet and above, where the air is thin and (in these summer months) refreshingly cool. 

I got back just in time to preach on Sunday morning and then it was off to Canada with my daughter Catherine for a long-promised road trip.  We looked at four prospective graduate schools while we were there, but we also saw a sunset over Lake Erie, bought hot dogs from a street vendor in Toronto, camped on the shores of Lake Ontario, and spent the better part of two days in the old city of Montreal where French is the official language but you can get by (thankfully) in English.  We got home on Friday night, giving me a full day to get things together before Sunday, but I still felt a little car-lagged and disoriented, not sure if I was in Kuala Lumpur, or Colorado, or Quebec.  The people at First Baptist were gracious as ever, making me glad that I got to come home to them.

Here’s hoping that life will return to a simpler, slower pace, and the memories of an exciting and busy summer will remain.

5 thoughts on “Busy Summer!

  1. Oh sigh, you’re back. I have missed your blog, but your sermon yesterday was a testimony to how time away can bring new insight and depth. I was just trying to balance on my bongo board on front porch this morning looking out into the yard saying “Jesus is Lord” to help myself maintain focus, and then thinking about his saying to Peter, “Come” referring to stepping out of the boat. Thank you, thank you. Your perspective on things is so refreshing and helpful. How many people slide down a fireman’s pole to their father’s singing “This is the day that the Lord hath made?” Maybe only six! More people have ridden in a hot air balloon!!

  2. Jim, thank you for sharing with us about your adventures this summer. I am glad that you have had a nice summer that has full of wonderful trips and that will leave you with many unforgettable memories. I hope that the rest of the summer will be a good one for you and the rest of your family. Take care.

  3. Sounds like you have a had a great summer! You are a person who lives life fully alive! There is so much in life to celebrate and our time is so fleeting! Thanks for living out a gospel of hope and joy! I think Jesus would give you a high-five!

  4. “Round round get around
    I get around
    Get around round round I get around
    Get around round round I get around
    Wah wa ooo
    Get around round round I get around
    Oooo ooo ooo
    Get around round round I get around
    Ahh ooo ooo
    Get around round round I get around
    Ahh ooo ooo
    Get around round round I get around
    Ahh ooo ooo”

    -The Beach Boys

    (Welcome back! ;>)

  5. Jim, you really know how to prioritize to give balance to your life and the life of your family as well as your church family. What a gift. All of us will benefit from all you have done this summer and what you will do with the remainder of it. It was wonderful having you in the pulpit on Sunday. Remember, you are loved by many………
    Beverley Massey

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