It's often said that good friends are the sort of people with whom you can pick up where you left off whether you last saw them a week, a month, a year or even more ago. Well I for one believe that that is absolutely true, and have enjoyed just such experiences over the past couple of days.
First, there was a visit to a retired Church of Scotland minister friend and his wife on Friday, the highlights of which were watching the last 10 overs of England's defeat to Australia (yes, a rare thing indeed this winter!); the conversation (sometimes debate) on approaches to ministry - which regularly, if not always, lead to me gleaning some gem to store away for the future; and the receiving of two generous gifts: Erwin's book An Unstoppable Force and the CD's of Mark Driscoll speaking at last November's Mandate conference in Belfast to which my friend always goes with some members of his previous congregation and which he said was excellent.
Second, we spent the afternoon yesterday with the other two guys from my prayer triplet at college and their wives and young sons. It was really great to catch up with such good friends, one of whom I hadn't seen for over a year, and to be able to share the joys and pains of parenthood (of which we know nothing about!), ministry and life in general. As usual there were the theological questions and debates - although I did notice that the ability to debate and discuss is severely hampered by two one year olds who want their Dads to play with them!
Then last but not least we spent the evening eating curry with two great friends from our old church. They had been talking up the restaurant for a long time, and it didn't disappoint: from the shocking decor to the lovely food. More good chat, this time (in part) on biblical masculinity and the feminisation of the church.
So to me an almost perfect couple of days: good friends and God chat, lovely food and sport. It really doesn't get much better than that!