On Sunday I went to a holiday party unlike anything I've ever attended. It was hosted by Houston super-lawyer Mark Lanier and his wife Becky at their home in the Champion Forest area of Houston. It was "at" their home, but wasn't "in" their home because who could host 6,000 people INSIDE their home in one afternoon?
Lanier is a lawyer of Texas proportions: big cases, big news and, of course, big dollars. But he's not just some rich guy who lives a life of excess. His home is set on several acres, and on his land he's built a giant personal library (www.laniertheologicallibrary.org/) built to look like the ruins of a real Byzantine chapel, surrounded by an Olde English village. For this party, which the Laniers have hosted every year for 19 years, he imports a food court, amusement park and concert venue.
This year's concert was by Rascal Flatts and it wasn't some hit-and-run 20-minute show. The band sang their hits, a few Christmas tunes and even a couple of covers for more than 90 minutes. Their warmup act was Clutch, the mascot of the Houston Rockets, who was hilarious. (In fact, my secret dream is to be Clutch for one game; who wouldn't want to have all those fans on their feet, screaming and waving their arms to get you to aim the Tshirt launcher at them.)
The Laniers are devout Baptists, so this party is an alcohol-free, family-friendly affair for, literally, 6,000 of their friends, clients and church members. Now, about the church connection. Lanier is one of those guys who lives on about 3 hours of sleep a night, so he has time to teach Sunday School, in a addition to what seems like a million other things. His Sunday School is no ordinary gathering of Texas Baptists. He can easily have 600 people at one of his lessons. He hands out 20-page annotated notes so people can follow along and continue their studies later. And he often takes ancient artifacts from his library to bring his lessons to life.
Want to watch from afar? Check out the videos of his lessons here. He's a fascinating guy ... worth a watch. http://www.biblical-literacy.com/