Each of the winter events the regional congregations host has a different feel. While I have yet to be able to attend the Spokane Ski Weekend because of logistical concerns (including my appalling lack of suitable gear or the time to drive there and back), as a ski weekend it would have a feel that is distinct from that of Portland’s Northwest Weekend, or the Tacoma Weekend where I spent yesterday and today . Of particular interest is the fact that this weekend focuses less on competition and more on the development of skills, and even where there are competitions they are a lot more informal in nature, far more casual, where the game is simply the context in which one builds teamwork, improves communication, and practices one’s talents and abilities. I believe there is a time and place for competition and a time and a place for a more friendly and relaxed approach, and insofar as it is within my influence, I try to be friendly to everyone who happens to be around me.
As might be imagined, this leads to some complications. There are times where people seem to want to be around you, to strategically camp where they know you will be and where you will come, without having any interest in being friendly. One must ask, even if one cannot answer, whether the absence of friendliness is due to a lack of interest, or a feeling of constraint for one reason or another. Today, like yesterday, I happened to hear someone teasing someone else about wishing that they would die alone. As this is a matter I tend to take rather personally, I felt it necessary to stand up for the person being made fun, to remind the teasing party that it is far better to wish other people well and hope for happiness for others as well as ourselves, even if it is not often in our power to contribute greatly to that happiness, or at least to feel as if we are contributing to that happiness.
Besides the aspect of sports, today was a particularly useful day for information gathering. It was a day of being in the right place at the right time to gain a great deal of useful and very pertinent information that will help my own prayer requests for certain situations others are going through. What implications that information has for my own personal life is less plain, but all the same, it was good to know a bit more about what is going on with others, and it answers one of the main goals I had for this weekend, if not quite in the way that I had hoped it would be answered. Sometimes, though, we have answered prayers in ways that are very unusual and unexpected. That was the kind of day today was, even giving me an idea for a sermonette message, should I ever have the chance to give one, that involved the distinction between Pharisaic and biblical conceptions of the worth and respect due to women. Of course, I always feel it is somewhat ironic that elevated theory concerning the treatment of women and the lack of experience in building successful relationships should be such a yawning and wide gap. Someday, God willing, that gulf will be bridged with a bridge that endures better than the original “Galloping Gertie,” whose successor I drove over today.
 See, for example: