brian mclaren is a big author. i've seen him at conferences and workshops. his books are big sellers. he's traveled all over the world. on top of that, he's been saying for fifteen years or so the stuff that I'VE been saying for that long too. we're both former english teachers, who then did church leadership and pastoring, and now have gone off the grid. so i feel connected to him. and he's humble and nice and courageous and smart.
so - it was odd when leslie and i were at bob and lisa
i'm not kidding, i felt as if bono had just walked in. okay, maybe not that big; it was as if george clooney had walked in.
i wanted him to notice me. validate me. but i was also scared; what if he didn't like me?
welcome to american star-worship culture.
anyway, he walked in, unassuming as usual, and bob introduced me, and mclaren said, "i remember you - i've met you before." it was at a conference like five or six years ago, briefly, after a talk he gave. my heart soared. suddenly i wanted to tell him my whole story. i'm a writer like you, i used to be a college english teacher like you, i talk about the same stuff you do, i'm committed to the emerging model of christianity like you are, journeyers are all about what you're about.
welcome shadow. i just want to feel like i matter. like every other human being on the planet.
and, too, i wanted mclaren to hang on the patio with the journeyers. i thought maybe he'd've liked that better than sitting and having a serious conversation at the end of a long day when he'd spoken in dallas and then flown to austin.
here's the funny part: at the end of the evening, and then WHEN I WAS PERSONALLY DRIVING BRIAN MCLAREN IN MY AWESOME MAN-TRUCK FROM BOOK PEOPLE TO THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH WHERE HE WAS SPEAKING NEXT, we talked about just those very things. about ME things. and then we did again during lunch on tuesday when it was just me and my wife and dave madden the awesome musician AND BRIAN MCLAREN eating lunch together!!! just sitting there talking.
does anybody see how funny this is?
okay, here's the really cool part: brian mclaren is just a guy. he's been all over the world speaking to people who want to hear what he has to say. he's got lots of books that lots of people are reading. he's an important voice in the emerging church movement. and yet he's just a guy who wanted to do a good job talking to people. and we just made conversation. the poor guy was exhausted at lunch - a little quiet - and as he ate and checked his computer to make sure his laptop powerpoint was ready for the session that was going to start a half hour later, while leslie and madden and i talked with him but gave him his space, i told him about some thoughts i had about the people helping emergent stuff be born, and we chatted, and i thought ... brian mcclaren thinks i'm an idiot!
what is wrong with us? what is it about thinking that famous people are not normal human beings? give the guy a break already! he's not responsible for validating every human being that comes up to him wanting to know they matter.
so, having said that, it was a cool thing, and it was even cooler for it to have passed, and then to look back at it, and say to myself, Oh, come on, we don't need important people to affirm us. it's okay. we're all The Beloved.
but ... it was nice to have brian mclaren IN MY AWESOME MAN-TRUCK!!! and THAT MAKES ME COOL!