This past Saturday I had the unique experience of waking up in the Adirondacks (upstate NY) and falling asleep that evening in West LA (California). This is a surreal experience.

To complicate matters all the more, my wife had been on a trip at the same time – to Seattle, Washington in the Pacific NW. That Saturday night we had the opportunity to compare notes and trade stories.

Here are just 3 of my general thoughts since then:

1. 3,000 miles is a long way. Never mind how long it used to take to cover that distance by wagon, then car, and now plane. It isn’t about speed, its about distance. We may live in a era when you can get from Upstate NY and Los Angeles to Seattle in less than a day – but they are still very far apart. To a contextual theologian like myself this is vitally important.

2. Airports comprise what can be considered their own culture. Air travel is so unlike the rest of your life that it becomes almost its own creation. For both the business traveler and those who have the luxury to travel as a lifestyle, airports and airplanes are a distinct aspect of civilization. The sociologist in me is itching to examine this. For a pastoral angle and a christian concern, it is notable that we may want to keep those folks in our congregations who fly a lot in our prayers as they are constantly navigating not just the cultures of their host and destination cities but also this airborne culture as well.

3. Being away for more than a week and then returning – both from places that we used to live – is a very challenging, while potentially helpful exercise.   Unique questions come to the surface about what one values, how time is spent, what role friends play, how one utilizes technology, etc. I am struck at these moments by how seldom numbers come up and instead how vital stories become.  Rarely do I hear someone say 45% of my former youth group is ____, or 8 out of 10 couples are _____, or the homes in our former neighborhood hood are $35,000 _______. It’s weird but I am struck by how absent numbers are sometimes.  Names and stories provide the snapshots.

It was nice to have a break from blogging during finals and then being away. I am looking forward getting back into this e-conversation with you all and I feel like I have renewed understanding about the role that this venue plays in my connection-community. Tomorrow I will fire it back up. -Bo

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