Dream Dinner Party

If you could host a dinner party and invite 10 people—who have lived or are living—who would you invite?

This intriguing question was posed to me by my daughter Ginger recently, and I’ve been thinking a good deal about it. The only real criterion would be: who would be the best dinner company? Not necessarily the most influential people. Or the most intelligent. Or my most beloved. Or people with which I agree on every point. And certainly not pedantic bores who would talk about things they know nothing about or things they know too much about.

My top 10 would all be people from the Bible, so I decided to make two lists: 1) Bible guests, and 2) Non-Bible guests. Also, I decided not to include Jesus on either list. He would just be there. He doesn’t belong on a list with anyone. He is the List. He would be there, and He would help me host the party. He would literally be the Life of the party. Also, not to hurt anyone’s feelings, my list contains no close friends or family members, not because I wouldn’t enjoy their company, but because I have other opportunities to converse with them. Also, one other consideration…each guest gets to bring a companion, so the party is already up to 20, plus me, Tina, and Jesus, plus both Bible and non-Bible lists, so the party is really up to 43. I guess it’s hard to keep it to just 10. But anyway, here are my lists:

Bible Guests

1. Adam (and his companion Eve)—Yes, I believe Adam and Eve were real people. Some people try to dismiss the Creation account and Adam as myth. I not only believe in literal Creation (see my post about Creationism here), but I also believe Adam was a real man, the first man. If he wasn’t real, what then do you do with Paul’s masterful passage, Romans 5:12-21, where he says sin and death entered the world through one man, Adam, and grace and life entered through another man, Jesus Christ? Pull a thread in Scripture in one place, and you create a snag in another.  A few people try to argue that God used evolutionary processes to create human life, but they still try to contend there is a literal Adam (read such a view from Tim Keller here, as well as an excellent rebuttal by Mark Coppenger here). This contortion seems the most contrived of all. So let me get this straight…after millions of years of monkeys evolving, one day, one “monkey” finally crosses the line and qualifies as a human and is no longer an animal, and God awards him a soul and names him Adam. I bet his “mother and father” were so proud they went ape. Are you kidding me?! That’s going a little too far to accommodate Darwinism. So I’d just invite Adam and Eve, and then they could tell everyone in person what really happened (as if people who won’t take God’s Word for it would believe this pair!)

2. Noah—Another personality that some people try to mythologize, but one in which I firmly believe. After all, the flood explains the fossil and geological records much better than evolution does. I want to hear all about the ark, the culture that laughed at him, and how he maintained such a godly walk that he and his family alone were chosen by God to sustain the human race.

3. Moses—Wouldn’t it be interesting to watch Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments with him and get his take on it?

4. Joseph—His life mirrored Christ’s in so many ways. I could learn much about patience and forgiveness from this amazing man.

5. David—A writer who loved God yet sometimes failed Him, who endured disappointments yet enjoyed mountaintop experiences, David is perhaps the Bible personality with which I can most closely identify. I would love to spend an evening with him. Thankfully, one day I will have all eternity.

6. Solomon—I’m dying to ask him, “Dude, why did someone with your smarts marry so many women?”

7. Nehemiah—The consummate manager, I believe I could learn a lot about faithfulness from this steadfast man of God.

8. Mary, mother of Jesus—There’s so much I want to learn about what Jesus was like growing up, during those “silent years” before His public ministry.

9. John the Apostle—What a theologian! I could listen to him preach all night long.

10. Paul—No surprise there. The guy wrote a third of the New Testament. I’m sure there’s much more he could say, not that God needed revealed, but that would still be plenty interesting.

Honorable Mentions

Job, Joshua, Samuel, Daniel, Peter

Non-Bible Guests

1. Ernest Hemingway—Hemingway to me is the real-life, 20th century embodiment of “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” Journalist, war hero, author, world traveler, lover, sportsman, and big game hunter, Hemingway would fill the evening with captivating stories that would almost make it a waste that nine other extremely interesting people were also present.

2. F. Scott Fitzgerald—I thought long and hard before I included two people from the 1920s, and two novelists at that. But Fitzgerald is my favorite writer. After all, what dinner party would be complete without this ol’ sport, and frankly, Zelda might end up being the most entertaining person at the party.

3. Socrates—Who else but the one who taught Plato, who in turn taught Aristotle, who in turn taught Alexander the Great, who created the greatest empire ever? Why would you invite anyone else?

4. Ben Franklin–His wit and wisdom would keep the room in stitches.

5. Winston Churchill—As I continue down this list, I realize what a terrible waste it would be to have all 10 of these individuals for a party at the same time. I could spend a year with each one. Maybe a couple with Sir Churchill.

6. Bill Gates—I would be as interested in his philanthropic efforts as his entrepreneurial ventures.

7. Al Mohler—The only other guest who is still alive. If the others weren’t available, you could just invite Dr. Mohler, who could probably tell you as much about the other 10 as they could themselves, especially Churchill. Dr. Mohler is so brilliant I think even Socrates would feel like a schoolboy listening to him. Absolute genius.

8. Martin Luther—How fascinating it would be to hear his perspective on the Reformation—and the 21st century American church.

9. C.S. Lewis—One of the greatest 20th century Christian minds. Anyone who could write both The Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity has got to be engaging dinner company.

10. Adrian Rogers—I had the privilege of serving with him and knowing him personally for 10 years, and the time was much too short. Looking forward to an eternity with him, but even an evening now would be priceless.

Honorable Mentions

Teddy Roosevelt, George Müller, William Randolph Hearst, Josephus, Jack London, William Shakespeare, Woody Allen, Thomas Edison, Mark Twain, Vance Havner, Max Lucado, David Ogilvy, Howard Hendricks, George Barna, Jerry Bruckheimer, Mike Huckabee, Oswald Chambers, Queen Elizabeth I, Leonardo da Vinci, Franklin Graham, Walt Disney, Adolph Rupp

Conspicuously absent

Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton, Muhammad, Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy (Jackie, however, is welcome to come without him), Franklin D. Roosevelt, Barack Obama, Mike Krzyzewski

Now that you’ve read my list, I’d love to hear yours. Please comment with your 10—or 20!—dream dinner guests. Or better yet, let’s get together, and we can talk about it over dinner.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Dream Dinner Party

  1. Ginger

    Being your daughter and all, my list has many similarities, but here are a few notes:

    I love that thought about watching the Ten Commandments with Moses… we can have movie night in heaven! You should have invited Charlton Heston as well to compare and contrast.

    And mine would just have to have Peter. I’d break the rules and invite 11. He cracks me up. Or he could take Paul’s place, since he’d probably be in jail anyway still if he was alive in 21st century America, a bit less tolerant than those pesky Romans who were always throwing him in the slammer. Plus, Martin Luther could ask Pope Peter a few questions about the Catholic church.

    You forgot to invite Jabez. Lifeway says you’re not a real Christian.

    I would totally invite Bill Clinton. Hate his politics, but think he’d be really funny. You’d have to watch him around Zelda, but you could hope he’d bring Georgey along as his plus one, since they’re buddies (I doubt he’d voluntarily invite Hilary anywhere as his date).

    And leave that deist Ben Franklin out of it. Definitely no Abe Lincoln, first trampler on state’s rights, and, as I recently learned, shady president (he let Nevada in as a state, when it didn’t meet the population requirements, so he would get re-elected). I’m super glad slaves went free, but lots of people died, and let’s face it, the South is just holding back our enlightened, pro-choice, educated Northern brothers with our crazy ideals about life is sacred, marriage is sacred, hard work is good… blah blah blah.

    I might substitute Bill Gates for my good friend Walt D. I gotta hear what he thinks about CGI.

    Mark Twain is on mine. I’d sit him next to Hemingway. They’d be one-upping each other all night with stories and quips. Chuckling just to think about that conversation.

    I’m surprised there are no musicians on your list. I mean, I know Elton would show up with some funky glasses (as well as a lopsided partner to the girl/boy thing), but he could at least provide the after dinner piano sing-along. Oh well, guess David can just play his harp.

    Kate Middleton is on my list. But just so we can then become best friends, and then I’ll get invited to HER house.

    This is such a good list. Much fun to think about. There’s your novel right there… recreate this dinner party and you’ve yourself got a best seller. At the very least, I see a sequel here to Midnight in Paris… write the screenplay entitled Midnight in Israel.

    And my last note is, if my best friend Al Mohler is there, I’m sneaking in.

    • Larry Thompson

      I literally laughed out loud (is it OK to spell that out?) at your remarks about Bill Clinton and Zelda, with Georgey in tow. And I can totally see your vision of Twain and Hemingway one-upping each other. I seriously considered putting Elton on the Honorable Mentions list, so I’m glad you mentioned him. And thank you for making my point about Abe Lincoln. I hate to say it about a fellow Kentuckian, but I believe he is the most overrated president in history. He invaded an independent, sovereign nation–the Confederate States of America–starting a war that cost 800,000 lives, more lives by some accounts than all other Americans killed in wars since. I agree, slavery had to go, and I believe the South would have emancipated slaves on their own within a decade. The tide of public opinion was already turning. By forcing the USA and the CSA to stay together, he created a two-headed monster that is still divided today. The United States are not united; we’re two nations–the blue states and the red states. Were the South our own nation, I would be proudly living in a nation in which abortion and homosexual marriage were illegal, with prayer in schools and the 10 Commandments on our courthouses, and with lower taxes and less welfare. And when Americans get fed up with their tax-and-spend government, they wouldn’t have to say, “I’m moving to Canada.” They could say, “I’m moving to the South!”

  2. Cheryl Nichols

    Larry,
    You and you daughter crack me up. I love this post. So far I’ve just thought about my top 10 on the Bible list. There are so many on the non-Bible list it might take me a while.
    Mine is similar to yours. Other than I’d have to have my kids there cause well I just don’t do a whole lot without them. So it would be Jesus, Chris, I and our kids.
    ! Adam and Eve
    2. Noah
    3. Moses
    4 Joseph
    5 David
    6 Solomon
    7. Esther
    8. Mary
    9 John
    10 Paul

    Honorable Mentions would be.
    Ruth, Peter, Shadrach, Joshua, and Abraham with Sara

  3. Heather

    I enjoyed all of the lists. I just find it interesting that only two women were included. :o)

  4. Mark York

    Interesting exercise. On the biblical list, I’d schedule one dinner just with the Apostles. I’d just sit back and listen. From the OT, Nathan the Prophet and definitely Jeremiah and Joseph. Non-Biblical: Washington, Adams and Jefferson (just how close did we come to losing the war?), Teddy Roosevelt, Gen. George Patton, Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart (just to find out what really happened). For conversation I’d invite David Halberstam, Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough.

  5. EvoMonkey

    My dream dinner guest list would start with your “conspicuously absent list”:

    Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton, Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Barak Obama. I would leave Muhammad and Mike Krzyzewski off the list, but I would invite Muhammad Ali.

    I would also invite Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Miles Davis, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, A.C. Grayling, Daniel Dennet, Betrand Russell, and George Orwell

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