Saturday, March 01, 2008

JIm Wallis in Montecito

In spite of a flight delay and coming off of an exhausting speaking schedule, Jim Wallis and an associate from Sojourners met with the staff and supporters of M-4 for a dinner and to hear Jim's words to the four gathered churches. Surprisingly, he had more questions for the group than suggestions. He said that cooperative ventures like M-
4 happen more in distressed urban environments or in partnership between urban and suburban churches. The M-4 partnership intrigued Jim, so he asked the group questions. The summary observations from the answers were that M-4 works because all senior pastors/priests work together well and respect each other. It works because the mission outward is more important than agreement or rightness inward. It works because the projects stay focussed on the poor.
Jim then met with some students from the "Beatitude Society" at Westmont College and then with the gathered community shortly after 7:00 pm. As the photo bears witness, the gym floor was almost filled with members of the four churches, Westmont students and faculty and community members. 
When Jim speaks, he makes sure to give every-one a poke in the eye at some point in the evening, while remaining focussed on the Gospel mandate and the words of Jesus. 
When it was all over I felt like I had a new friend, but really grateful that I get to preach tomorrow to a congregation I know and love, while Jim flies off to the next speech. 


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