"Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you."- Matthew 7:7
I pause to note that I honestly have nothing against the state of Kansas. (Does this mea culpa suffice, Micah? ;-) My reservations initially upon arrival were, I think, a defensive response to being back in a red state. As I think more upon it, I reflect that Kansas is an interesting mix of liberal and conservative. Where we grow up influences how we perceive other places we visit. To be back in a place where there is a church on every corner brings back memories of visiting the small towns where both of my parents grew up. Some of them are positive, some are not.
In particular, it reminds me of my Grandmother, who had been raised Charismatic as a minister's daughter. She suffered from a myriad of chronic health conditions, and wandered from church to church, attempting to find someone who could heal her. My father's skepticism of organized religion, transferred to me in part, arrived from seeing one charlatan after another preach a Godly life on Sunday morning and then prove to be incredibly hypocritical when not in the pulpit. Even to the last years of her life, she would give money to every televangelist on air, much to my father's consternation. If I myself had any slight reservations about this entire conference it was a brief moment whereby I was told, once again, that the only way to the Father was through Jesus Christ.
Don't get me wrong. I'm totally down with the Jesus. But I'm not willing to disown my friends and my Friends who do not believe that a belief in Jesus alone is the only way to salvation. This debate caused a bit of a minor stir during Bible study, though I pause to note that the parties involved were not Young Friends, but rather were older adult here to observe. Based on what I deal with at my own home meeting, I have to say I'm tremendously surprised by this. This issue was dealt with, successfully I think, at last night's evening worship. It was the only moment of mild drama in an otherwise convivial and welcoming gathering.
A side note. My camera has an unfortunate habit of draining batteries, and since I have been more or less based here, I haven't had the opportunity to go well out of my way to get more. Still, the trip over and the first day of the gathering has, I think, been sufficiently documented.
I am in no hurry this afternoon to jump back in the car and drive all the way back to DC. The plan is to see if we can manage it all in one go, though that is going to be exhausting. Assuming we can even pull it off, we'll leave around 2 pm local time and arrive sometime in the mid morning tomorrow. Though I don't have a tremendous amount of money to spare, I'd be willing to pay for a cheap motel at some point halfway there.