I only had the opportunity to go on Wednesday. I had a tremendous time visiting with old friends, including an outstanding fellow named Steve Lamm, who was originally a reader of my blog and has become a good friend the last few years. He pastors Grace Church in Santee, California. But I also made new friends like Squirrel, Gene Clyatt. He has a report up at his blog that supplements this one (with pictures and everything!).
The real highlight for me was hanging out with Gene on that Saturday. I fixed him my world famous buttermilk pancakes and then we drove over to Simi Valley to visit the newly renovated Ronald Reagan Library, where we walked around waxing all nostalgic for the 80s and getting misty-eyed at the funeral portion of the tour. Well worth the trip if you ever come out my way.
Later in the day we dined upon the delicacies of Chic-Fil-A, and then swung by Grace to You where I work to give Gene a grand tour.
The even bigger highlight (as if Squirrel wasn’t enough already), was going down to Bellflower (South LA) to see James White speak on doing debate to the glory of God. We drove by Gene’s hotel and picked up his roommate, Tony Bartolucci, who was an absolute gem of a chap and must do something about his seizure inducing website. He pastors in New York state and I understand, because I haven’t heard him yet, that he is a fine preacher, too.
BTW, the James White lecture is on-line for those interested.
Along with meeting up with James, I was also privileged to meet a wonderkid by the name of Lane Chapman. I sort of knew who he was because he has video interviewed Phil in the past. We had a lively conversation with each other on how George Lucas has ruined his Star Wars franchise … among other things
After James spoke, we went to the Olive Garden for a super-late dinner. The fellowship was great. In fact, it had that family reunion feel, even though I met a lot of the folks for the first time that evening. What a testimony to the Body of Christ. (And I am happy I chose to wear long pants that day seeing how James razzed Gene and Tony to no end about their shorts).
I hope to see these guys again next year, The Good Lord Willing.