lausanne and me

I had a bit of a chuckle as I reflected on this one.

Theologically, I do Love the Ls - Lausanne and Langham. I guess it has something to do with their common denominator, one John Stott. While Langham preoccupies my life at this current time, I have kept missing out on Lausanne for some time.

In 1974 I was a young teenager. Nobody expected the foundational meeting in Lausanne to be so epochal, or the Lausanne Covenant to become so creedal. It is a magnificent statement of evangelical conviction. 1974 was the year my brother John graduated from high school in India and my father, an invitee to that first Lausanne Congress, took John with him. I've been struggling with jealousy ever since.

In 1989, the Manila event, dubbed Lausanne II, beckoned. Again Dad was attending and this time he invited me to go with him. I was in the final lap of pastoral ministry in Invercargill. I thought it kinda odd to go as a passenger. I said 'no'.  Silly, silly boy. While not the quality of the Covenant, The Manila Manifesto is still worthwhile (with better alliteration). With Dad having now died, I cannot believe that I let that opportunity for memory-making pass by. I've been struggling with regret ever since.

In 2010, it was the turn of Cape Town. I found myself on the selection group for the participants from NZ. By this time I was working with Langham. Never, ever could it be easier for me to go to a Lausanne Congress, except that I was at a stage of life where 1 Corinthians 12 had a hold of me - 'the weaker are indispensable ... (those thought to be) less honourable, we treat with special honour'. I had double-booked myself, with plans to launch the first Langham Preaching seminar in Cambodia at the same time.Ugh. I came to the conviction that I must go to Cambodia. I've struggled with neither jealousy nor regret ever since - and this weekend I make my fifth visit to Cambodia. At least I've been able to benefit from The Cape Town Commitment - in particular, its call for reconciliation and discipleship on a global scale.

There is part of me that would love to be in a classroom again, or a home group, because looking closely at the Covenant, the Manifesto, and the Commitment would shape quickly as a priority.

Actually the chuckling doesn't stop there. For example, Lausanne decides to have a global gathering of leaders in theological education within months of me leaving such a leadership role - and there is just the one delegate invited from all of Australia./NZ/SWPacific. Guess who?! My successor at Carey Baptist College! [I was thrilled for him - and vicarious enjoyment took on new meaning for me]. Then this year - timed for just a few weeks before our planned departure (at the time) to live in Bangalore - I was invited to participate in a strategic global gathering for leaders. Guess where?! In Bangalore! I could not justify coming here from NZ twice in a matter of weeks. So I let it pass me by...

Never mind. I am so privileged to have the opportunities which Langham grants me now to work with the global church. I can drink my fill of it - and I think these smaller settings, 'far from the madding crowd', suit me far better.

nice chatting



Fred said…
Facinating 2nd half Paul. In fact I've been reading a bit about relinquishment of late, mainly from Rohr, and am understanding more and more that without giving up (read missing out on) certain things, other deep blessings would not be realised. We stumble over many sweet surprises along the road less travelled... anyhow good to hear from you.
not a wild hera said…
Thank you for this, Paul, and also Fred.

Looking forward to hearing you have a home group one day soon!

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