A Surfer

Someone asked me why I am excited by Ed Piorek coming to launch Leader’s School 2. I have a whole bunch of reasons. Most of them are personal and sprawl in ink and print in various places around my journals. These are not the things that you catch from an official Bio. Ed has, of course, a great pedigree. Smart. Successful. The protégé of John Wimber. Everyone knows him as a Vineyard pastor and international speaker. He’s striking when you meet him. White hair and goatee. Skin browned by the waves of water and sun. He’s a surfer and has that laid back California style. He’s easy. Not compelling in the ways we are accustomed to with speakers. Not in the big personality or the flashy wit. But he is persuasive in other ways. Certainly in his intellect and his closeness to God. It seems to me that it is a closeness that has burned away the stray edges of ego, incinerated pretense. What’s left is God’s strength revealed in weakness. Glory leaking out of clay jars. It’s not that he is any more broken by the world than the rest of us. But he pretends less than most. He is very transparent at times.

I don’t remember when I first realized this. It just crept up on me. The truth is that I can’t even remember how we met. Or figure out why we connect. But it feels like God to me. The connection between us. A gift of grace unlooked for. It seems like every interaction I have with him is significant. Glowing. Imprinted on my memory in a place that won’t erode over time. There are the moments when he speaks about the stories about his son in the gutter and the son in the pig pen and the son in the Jordan. Stories that catch me off guard, wring me out. Leave me leaking from the eyes and heart. And there are three minutes in a room of pastors and theologians, where unease is an almost palpable presence. Three minutes where his words blanket anxiety, still the chaos. Cancel it out. Like Jesus in the boat. And there are sheaves of seconds, conversations harvested in late night stairwells and restaurants and hotel driveways. Exchanges that challenge and open me to new things. I feel like I am unguarded, exposed to possibility. My filter down. Like my soul wakes up, breathes in the oxygen of a wide open heaven. It is a rarity. These scarce moments. And in those places I feel both my heart and my head connect to the love of the Father. It is something that rarely happens in my life. Not together. To experience this is a profound joy. But those are all personal reasons. Reasons that feel impossible to communicate, to transfer in the smallness of words between hearts.

If I was going to scale it all down, try to communicate why someone else might be excited about Ed, I would merely say this. That Ed is vastly genuine. And deep. To use a friend’s words “He is the closest thing to a mystic we’ve got in our movement.” And there it is. Everyone wants to be deep, go deep with God. Plunge into the current of the divine and be swept away. But the journey is never as easy as we hope it should be. And it is such a relief to find someone who is ahead of us. Someone who has been there before us. Can take us there.
And this is Ed.