Sunday, March 05, 2006

Nights of the Roundtable

A couple of friends and I meet for dinner once a year. We come together - much like Voltron does, but without the Japanimation undertones - to form an interesting hybrid of panel discussion, think tank, and accountability partnership. We have a lot of random things in common. For instance, we went to the same school, then worked in the same office, and attended the same church.

The discussion piece usually flows out of two other important commonalities: we all have backgrounds in psychology and callings to preaching ministry. One of us is already doing preaching engagements, one is in a ministerial training program, and I…I mean one of us is running for his life. Anyway, we end up so deep sometimes that you need a dictionary, a DSM-IV manual, a Strong’s Concordance, and a pick ax just to keep up. The stuff that comes out is so amazing though, if we actually kept track of it we’d have a heck of a book or sermon series. Like most psychologists, we gravitated to that field to mask and grapple with the fact that we are certifiably nuts. So, our conversations occasionally plummet from throne room revelation to locker room humor. I pity the parties of people who end up sitting around us. We’re usually there for at least four hours, meaning four or five waves of diners are exposed to the fallout of raucous laughter and shekinah glory.

In think tank mode we discuss the different ministries we’re involved in and the different exploits we’re pursuing. That can be books we’re writing (or not writing) or programs we’re developing or large-scale Holy Ghost takeover projects. We throw out ideas and kick ‘em around and give each other advice on where to go from here. We offer suggestions of books to read and people to talk to.

To be fair, the accountability piece is amazing, but it does suck. This is where our counseling backgrounds come in handy. Throughout the night, each of us throws out an issue or a situation that we’re dealing with and the other two will just lay into them. At least that’s what it feels like. What actually happens is they lovingly share God-given truth. Stuff that you may know but don’t like hearing or didn’t know and don’t want to consider. Stuff that, once it’s out there, you actually have to deal with. I’m still licking my wounds from my turn in the hotseat. I’m grateful, though, because it’s all about encouraging each other, cheering each other on and not letting us sit on God’s gifts. And let's face it, I need my butt kicked every once in a while.

Anyway, that was my Saturday night. I’m going to go because I’m now running late for church.


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