These signs just follow...Lou Engle.

It seemed like a perfectly good idea this morning.

In culmination of 40 days of fasting and prayer at a church near Harvard, Lou rallied the troups and laid out the plan: We would break up into many small groups, syncronize our watches, & march around Harvard Yard in prayer seven times. Then, at precisely 11:30 AM, we all convene on the steps of a building in the center...marching from different sides of the Yard and singing the same song.

So we did. We walked. And we prayed. On the second lap, I found where someone had painted the word BELIEVE on the red brick sidewalk, so we walked, prayed, and BELIEVED. This kind of stuff only happens around Lou.

At at 11:30 AM Central Cell Phone Time, we entered through our designated gate, only to hear a shout from the center of the Yard. We saw the main group gathered, and along with a few stragglers from all four directions, we came running.

I cannot accurately describe the deafening roar that rose in the middle of the yard as people ran from all sides to join the main group. It was like a call to war....It had a little Braveheart feel to it. I expected Lou to emerge in a kilt with braids.

Instead, he began to speak to the crowd gathered about Harvard's orthodox Christian roots and the inroads that had been made by humanism. Suddenly, it was apparant something was a little squirrelly. According to my phone, the text message I sent to Kelsey at that moment was this:


Now, here's where it gets a little fuzzy. I'm not sure Lou was aware of the nature of the building we had gathered near. The steps we were standing on led to a very proper brick building that happened to be The Memorial Church.

The men in suits freaking out represented that church where, unbeknownst to us, a Palm Sunday service was being held. (A word of explaination....one could stare at the present state of Harvard for a long time and make the assumption that it had not hosted worship services in an eternity.)

One particularly frustrated gentleman in a clerical collar asked "I hope you're worshipping out here....Can you hear us worshiping inside?"

A few interns answered "Uh...no."

Then, in an icy voice somehow reserved for ministers in Hollywood movies, put the icing on the cake: "Then let us not hear you...."

Our folks: "We're sorry."

Bishop Grumpy Pants: "Good!", upon which he spun on the heel of his polished shoes and marched back to worship the Lord in peace and quiet.

Oh. One more thing. I'm not sure if Lou knew they were having services, but I'm quite positive he didn't know that, according to their website, Tony Compolo was preaching.

Or that his sermon title was "Praying in the Revolution".

Or that his text was:
"And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. "When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words." Mathew 6:5–7

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! I'm rolling....it would be impossible to make this stuff up!!!!

Tomorrow, my micro-posse and I head for Logan and points beyond.

We've had a great time in Boston.

We love the mix of new and old, grit and class. We wish we could have seen more...hiked the Freedom Trail further...or ate at The Sausage Guy just to say we did.

But we're still glad to get home to Kelsey and Zion. :)


Anonymous said...

Pretty amazing....and these signs will follow...
I would have loved to hear the roar, see the face of the clerical type, see the face of Lou when he learned of the "Praying in the Revolution", and can't wait to hear the impressions leak out from those that gathered.


Brian Creary said...

That is histerical! Glad you enjoyed Boston.

Sam Lufi said...

Since Tony Campolo is professor emeritus at the school where I go to Seminary, I dropped his office a note with your blog info. Knowing him, I'm pretty sure he will get a kick out of the whole situation! I love the story!

Sean The Red said...

I read this and I am both excited, and sad. But sad not for what may seem an obvious reason...

Im sad because we are ALL like the man with the collar. Inside all of us is a pharisee, and when things are too loud (or not loud enough), or things are outside our interest and comfort zone (and some have odd comfort zones) we reject and refuse it.

It is just as important for "revolutionaries" (and I have been called a lot worse lately) to be aggressive (if not more so) in maintaining an openness to seeing God in the things that are not like what they are interested in, or care about.

I dont mean this as a downer. It isnt a critique or a comment ont his post. I just realize after years of banging my head against things, that I have become so enamoured with my "style", that I either reject, or refuse God in some many other areas.

The real danger here is to realize we are just one opinion away from being the man who keeps someone else outside instead of inviting them in and seeing the manifold wisdom of God displayed to principalities and powers. And I find in my life, it happens so quickly that I only see it in hindsight.

Lets be both excited and in awe of how God brings things together, and then lets monitor oursleves closely to make sure the next minute we dont miss it ourselves.

eric wright said...

I don't want to be a contrarian. But I think the "Bishop Grumpy Pants" has a point. You were interrupting a Worship service meant to bring honor and glory to God. Just because it isn't your personal style of worship shouldn't negate the fact that it is just as relevant.

I obviously wasn't there so I don't know his tone of voice. I just think he was probably rightly annoyed at the distraction that came to people in his congregation being able to hear a message from God.

I applaud the fact that you were praying and marching. We need more of that in our world. I am just offering my opinion.

Randy Bohlender said...

To clarify, Bishop Grumpy Pants DID have a point. The whole scene was just hillarious.

Frank said...

Out of curiosity, what did you guys do after Lou got interupted mid-speech. It sounds like he was on a roll when the minister came out and scolded you all. Did the awkward situation put a wet towel in the intensity of the moment, or did everyone leave in high spirits?

Randy Bohlender said...

Lou never stopped. We all left with a Homer Simpson 'D'oh!' and a grin.