The opening session of Orlando 2011 has ended. I feel sleepy. Some thoughts . . .
Hmmm . . . what was her name?
I think I have to struggle to not make Cape Town comparisons. This just isn't that. And it really doesn't have to be. I need to convince myself of that. I am still not a pro-Christian conference attender. I still go in with rather naive expectations of grandeur and glory. But, CT2010 was years in the making and this wasn't. So that's fine.
Still, I think that there is something missing in the air here. Maybe we will capture it by God's grace soon enough. But my encounter with that woman really began to bring it out in my mind. What I would like to do is simply offer some questions for reflection. If you are at Orlando 2011, I think you would do well to consider these. If you are a follower of Christ in general, it may be helpful to you as well.
1. Do we believe in a God who is sovereign, active, bigger than us? Who still speaks and has something to say to His Church? Who doesn't work by accident? As I walked away from my encounter with that woman and as I saw many people shuffling around the conference hall today, casually finding (or in some cases not trying to find) their assigned table groups I asked myself where was the sense of God's divine appointment. Do we take seriously the idea that God has divine appointments for us in Orlando 2011 or in other meetings of various kinds? Could God have a divine appointment for me in my table group, in the shuttle, in the parking lot?
2. Are we doing everything we can to bring as much of the breadth of God's Church to the table as possible? What is the ratio of men to women in Orlando 2011? Black and white? Young and old? Who is missing? Why aren't there more immigrant pastors? etc. I believe we must all work harder to cultivate the "will to represent" the body of Christ in its wholeness. Few things are more difficult. Still we must try. If you are at Orlando, who isn't that you believe should be? Who from a different race or ethnic group? Who from a different gender or age. Maybe you need to identify those people and make contact with them from Orlando. Tweet them and send them updates and pictures. What more can you do to bring them to the table in the future so that the whole body of Christ can be enriched by them?
Okay. I'm falling asleep so I'll stop here. I am very excited to be here for the consultation. I believe that God wants to do something great. But we do well to walk with more care in the Holy Spirit.