This is a big week. And I mean…big. Sure, it’s a busy week like normal in the life of ministry. Sure, Caleb turned 9 months old yesterday, and now he’s officially been OUT of the womb as long as he was IN the womb…but what really makes this week special, unique and truly remarkable is that this is the week that I meet Lars Rood.
Face. To. Face.
Lars and I have been online friend for awhile. I don’t remember when we first “connected” – but we’ve been following/friending/blogging/tweeting each other for awhile. He even guest-blogged on Pomomusings here. We both finished up our ordination journeys around the same time, and got to go through the joys of jumping through some of those hopes together. We’re both youth ministry guys, although he’s cooler because he’s written a book on youth ministry (that he sent me, and I never read yet or reviewed…doh!). We’re both Presbyterians, but probably fall on different ends of the theological spectrum from time to time.
But this weekend it’s happening. I’m going to Open Seattle. Lars is going to be there as well. And we are going to meet.
I think we’re both nervous about the meeting…hoping that our built-up expectations, hopes and dreams for the Other might not be realized, and then…what? What happens then? Do we still carry-on, post-Face-to-Face-encounter, online and pretend like it never happened? Will we have to agree to disagree about something, and then will things get awkward (or, as the “kids” these days like to say, will it be “sups awk”)? I think we’re both hoping for the best, praying that our virtual friendship will be carried over into the real world…
Thankfully, in case things go really badly, I’ll at least have Adam McLane around…he and I met face-to-face a couple years back, and we seem to be doing well.
Now you see why it’s such a big week. Please keep Lars and I in your prayers, that we might be open to what the Other brings to this face-to-face encounter, that we might live into the reality of the transition from our virtual to real life friendship, and may grace abound.
Update: I just did a little Facebook research, and Lars and I have been friends on Facebook since February 2009. We have 8 similar “Likes” on Facebook, including Amazon, Youth Specialties, McLane Creative, The Youth Cartel and #RunRevRun. So…that’s good, right? But I also saw that it was Lars who first put this idea into my head about the pressure of our meeting here. And you can see Steve Wilde weighing in as well: