Saturday, May 05, 2007

Juris Doctor

At aproximately 3PM today, I finished law school.

Last exam done. Last class done.

Actually, because I'm an editor on the law review, publication details will linger on for days (or weeks) still. But for the most part, this chapter of life is behind me.

I'm numb -- no emotion yet.

And the bar exam, which is preceeded by a summer's worth of intense studying and review classes, still awaits. My real sense of relief is scheduled for July 26. That will be big-time party day.

Today is still nice.

People say the JD is the most rigorous academic degree. I believe it. I had no idea what I was getting into. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to get this high of a level of education. I have learned a little about practicallly every area of study as a result of this degree. My reading comprehension has skyrocketed. I know how to research and write on a scholarly level. I was even fortunate enough to get published, and to graduate cum laude (not completely sure what that means, except that it is an honor!).

Though I fully intend to practice law now, I feel a sense of freedom that this degree is a great platform for doing whatever life brings my way. It is just a tremendous baseline education.

Though I'm numb, I do have one strong feeling . . . I'm very tired.

Monday, April 30, 2007

More Reflections on DAWN Conference

Many people shared various versions of the same vision God had given them at some point over the past years/decades: a map covered with tiny bright lights. None knew what they were seeing at first. Now many realize it was some version of what we all are longing for: a vibrant kingdom community within easy access of every person in North America. In Vegas, we used to say the same thing with the words "a church within walking distance of every person in Vegas."

I realize now that I had a similar vision (though for me such things are weak and dim, I'm so trapped in my head with so litte access to my heart) back in 1994. It was so dim -- but it was something to the effect of a map with the church multiplying exponentially, repeatedly, successive generation after successive generation. I think it's all the same vision we're seeing. And now we are in early spring. Summer is yet to come -- someday.

The other takeway for me: as we move to a new part of the country and start over with a church of four people, our focus is, as somebody so eloquently stated this weekend, is to invite people into our lives (not so much to invite people to join "our church."). That is such a refreshing perspective. That requires that we live simple lives so that we are both healthy enough to share ourselves, yet still available enough to share ourselves.

On the return flight home, as I studied for my Evidence exam, Rebekah and Tori both had rather divine appointments. A second-grade girl was flying home alone on our flight. We were flying on Southwest, so we had our choice of seats. Tori sat with her. They bonded so quickly. Among many other things, Tori got to answer why we went to Colorado for the weekend. Since we shuffled seats, Rebekah ended up sitting with a lady about her age who had a similar question to pose. What an interesting afterglow to our vibrant weekend away. And, of course, none of it had anything to do with me (Mr. "Don't Talk to Strangers on Airplanes").

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Weekend in Denver

All four of us are at the DAWN North America Leaders Conference in Denver. It's a gathering of leaders from around the U.S., Canada, and Mexico who are helping to lead simple church networks.

It's been a fascinating contrast of highs and lows for me.

Excited to see how this thing has multiplied from the past conferences I attended, mostly before law school (five years or more ago). Excited to hear people explain successive planting, and how we now see the spring harvest, but it's just a preparation, small roots preparing the soil for the deeper root canals needed for the real harvest, which is still a ways away. What season is it? It's early spring.

Also excited to meet six people hear from Indiana, some right in Indianapolis, who are already well on this journey. We will certainly partner with them for regional affiliation once we land in Indy this summer. Affirming of our decision to move there.

Yet, frustrating. Frustrating to see how white, and boomer, and former pastor, and evangelical this group still is. Great people who are worthy of the utmost trust. Yet something (or, more accurately, somebodies) is still missing.

Frustrating also because, in the spirit of family being the primary expression of church, all four of us came. That means I have been unable to fully engage in the conference (chasing Luc around), yet that would be OK if we could fully engage in family, but because there's a conference going in, we haven't been able to do that either. A strange frustration. A few other parents brought kids along, but most of them are younger than Lucas, so it is not the same. And, the great majority of people here have kids who are already out of the nest, or soon to be. Something would be added if parents with school-age kids were here. Yet the practical difficulty of doing family and conference simultaneously (which we've experienced first-hand) both explains and predicts why that isn't happening.

Still, meeting people on the journey from Indy is very valuable and encouraging.

For more insight into what's happened here, I'll link you to Andrew Jones' blog. He's also here attending, and he has a refreshing style of articulating it.