It feels like we just got back to Orlando, from our month-and-more on the road to North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and back â€“Â it turns out it was more than a month ago! We hit the ground at full-speed. Family in town, friends visiting, my 35th birthday, our 11th anniversary, Carrieâ€™s planning meetings for campus, getting put on three major projects at work, 1st trimester (Wait, did we mention that weâ€™re expecting again!?), Fia & Cai starting preschool & daycare, deaconsâ€™ board meetings, 9 credits worth of college classesâ€¦
Itâ€™s no different than the craziness that many of you live in, but weâ€™ve just barely been able to reflect on the fire hose of exhortation and encouragement we tried to sip from at our biennial National Staff Conference in Ft. Collins.
This was, without a doubt, the most challenging conference weâ€™ve been to. The focus was surrounding the idea of being TOGETHER in four specific ways: Proclaiming His Name, Diversity And Oneness, Entrusting His Mission To Others, and The Whole World.
Being together to proclaim Jesusâ€™ name and being together for the whole world were the easy ones, its who Cru has always been, itâ€™s whatÂ weÂ do.
The tension and discomfort were tangible, with a lot of nervous fidgeting (or rutching, if youâ€™re from central PA) when we started to talk about ethnic diversity, how we could engage with #BlackLivesMatter or #AllLivesMatter, inherited privileges or struggles that tend to be tied to oneâ€™s race, and how do our inherited or inherent differences make Jesusâ€™ prayer that we would â€œall be oneâ€ and His encouragement that we would be known â€œby [our] love for one anotherâ€ so much harder, and so much more beautiful â€“ and worth it!
Thinking these issues dredges up a lot of emotions: guilt, defensiveness, hurt, dismissiveness, and more. I know it did in CSUâ€™s Moby Arena while we were there â€“ and in my own heart. And then Iâ€™m reminded, over and over (and over, and over) of these words from Philippiansâ€¦
[Jesus] who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servantâ€¦ Philippians 2:6-7
In all of this â€“ school, mission, family, church, life, reconciliation, difficult conversations â€“ I keep feeling that the Lord is saying, over and over:
â€œLean in. Lean into the conversations. Lean into the work. Lean into the relationships. Lean into Me.â€
Thank you for being a part, a vital part, of what He continues to put in front of us! Weâ€™d even invite you to join in the conversations, and the journey. Head over to cru15.cru.org/archive, and watch some of the videos. Iâ€™ll even try to post some of the videos with thoughts on our site soon.
Social Media Snippets
I wanted to share some of the images, quotes, and tweets from Cru15Â in response to many of the talks. I’ll be posting links to some of the videos with my thoughts on them pretty soon.
I sent out a selection of 27 of them in total in our paper newsletter, if you want to see all of them, head to our Cru15 Social Media page.