Tuesday Mind Dump (9/7/21)

September 7, 2021  |  Luke Simmons

• Man, it really hit me yesterday that we’re in September.

• Once you hit September, it’s like a rounding error to the end of the year.

• Went to Costco on Sunday and saw some Christmas ornaments for sale already. 🤯

• I think especially since last year moved s o s l o w it’s just weird to see how fast this year is going.

• When I think of last new year, I think of having a pretty serious bout of Covid.

• And that seems like it just happened.

• On the other hand, when I stop and think about all that has happened this year in my life, the church, and our family, I realize that it hasn’t been that recent.

• The other day my mom was asking for pictures of Hank in the last year since his birthday is coming up and she’s making a scrapbook for him — when I went through those, I realized all we’ve done.

• Isn’t it interesting that time can seem to move so fast and so slow at the same time?

• Weird. 🤷‍♂️

• Speaking of moving fast, a lot has happened in the last week.

• Went to Washington, D.C. last Wednesday with Seth and Matthew for a point team retreat and a conference.

• We stayed about a mile from capitol hill, so we went down there to explore after we landed and had an early dinner (was more like lunch for us).

• It had been raining pretty hard, but the weather calmed down so we headed over there.

• First went to the Supreme Court, which was pretty remarkable.

• A zillion steps and then giant pillars… it’s just pretty iconic.

• “Iconic” is a word that I kept thinking the whole time because everywhere we went was somewhere that I’ve seen a million times in movies, tv shows, the news, etc.

• Anyway, it turned out to be kind of cool that we were at the Supreme Court the day that they made the “decision” to uphold the abortion restrictions put in place in Texas.

• If you want a very interesting explanation of the Texas law, check out this podcast episode (those talking are far more disappointed about it than I am — I’m actually elated about it — but it’s a good explanation of what made this law different).

• After the Court, we walked across the street to the U.S. Capitol.

• Was just crazy how there was hardly anyone out there.

• Seth must have said 15 times, “There’s NOBODY here right now — this is so strange.”

• From there we walked around the Capitol toward the Washington monument.

• That whole area felt like one giant college campus to me.

• Big grass area surrounded by huge, old buildings.

• By the time we got to the Washington Monument we were getting a little tired of walking, so we hopped on some electric scooters and zipped down to the Lincoln Memorial.

• It was all beautiful and surreal to be there nearly by ourselves (we met some young folks visiting from Argentina and we took photos for each other).

• Was a pretty cool night.

• Then we got picked up by an Uber, and the driver told us there had been a tornado warning all afternoon and evening — and that schools were let out early because of the concern.

• So… uh… I guess that’s why we were by ourselves.

• On Thursday, we spent most of the day in our Airbnb, meeting and praying about the next season at Gateway.

• It was a really sweet time and it was very cool how the Lord met us.

• We seemed to kind of stumble on something that was pretty exciting and important as we think about the next year, which felt like a real gift.

• Stay tuned.

• Then Friday and Saturday we went down to a really cool space owned by National Community Church for a conference put on by The Jude 3 Project.

• Jude 3 is an apologetics organization dedicated to helping Christians know what they believe and why they believe it — but with a particular emphasis on creating resources for those of African descent.

• For some background on it, check out this podcast episode with the founder, Lisa Fields.

• I’m not sure exactly how we found out about this event, but it looked like something really different than any of us had ever been to.

• We were all a little bit wondering if it was going to be incredible or terrible, in light of how we just were so unfamiliar with a lot of it.

• Turned out to be amazing.

• Probably one of the better conferences I’ve ever been to for a bunch of reasons…

• It was a good experience to be one of the “minorities” in the room, given that most of the folks there were black.

• The participants on the panel discussions were incredibly thoughtful and sharp — more people with doctorates than any other conference I’ve ever been part of. (didn’t always see eye to eye with each person, but I so appreciated their thoughtfulness)

• It was interesting to see how the questions we come to about the faith really are shaped by the experiences and context we find ourselves in.

• For instance, in the predominantly white evangelical world, there are lots of apologetic arguments about whether God exists.

• But the black community, most people already believe that God exists — even if they aren’t Christians (not a ton of black atheists)

• Instead, they are wrestling with different questions like, “Is Christianity just a religion for white people?” or “How can I believe in something that seemed to be believed by many who oppressed my ancestors?”

• We tend to think that our questions are the same as everyone else’s, but really our questions come out of our context.

• In light of these questions, there were really interesting panel conversation.

• One that I especially enjoyed was about the history of early Christianity in Africa.

• I knew about how the early church was extremely strong in northern Africa (Egypt, Ethiopia, etc), but I didn’t know that some of the Ethiopian churches had already begun a kind of protestant reformation before Luther — in fact, some of those leaders came to Germany to meet with Luther and were a motivation for Luther to move forward with his reforms.

• I also had no idea that there was a vibrant Christian community in west Africa prior to the slave trade.

• In fact, some of the scholars on the panel suggested that some of the earliest slaves who were brought to North America were likely Christians — prior to being “evangelized” by their masters.

• Anyway, it was just a very eye-opening and interesting event, and we were glad we went.

• I loved that we didn’t feel the pressure to agree with everyone at the event, any more than we would anywhere else — we got to model a bit of what I then got to preach on Sunday.

• Got back Saturday night and then got up early to kick off our new sermon series, Countercultural Convictions.

• I had a blast preaching on Sunday and the response from folks has been very encouraging.

• It seemed important to start by sharing our approach to engaging culture, which is what Sunday’s message was.

• I also put together a list of recommended resources for anyone who wants to go deeper into that topic.

• It was a good start to what will be an important series.

• This next Sunday, Seth will be preaching about gender identity — a message that, originally, was scheduled for March 15, 2020.

• Given that his doctoral dissertation was significantly about a theology of the body, he seems like just the right person to address it (you can listen to a podcast episode where we discuss it a little bit: “Sex Changes and Smart Phones”)

• We’ll also be doing a follow-up equoipping event with all the Redemption congregations on Tuesday, September 21 that should be pretty interesting.

• Well, I’ve covered a lot of ground and need to get rolling with the rest of my day.

• Actually, next up on the calendar is heading to the studio to record this week’s King & Culture podcast, where we’ll be digging deeper on Sunday’s sermon related to our approach to engaging culture.

• Should be fun.

• Enjoy your day and week.

• All of life is all for Jesus.