Cold Call

An unexpected knock on the door. The late night call. Ever received one?

Carol had a doozie. A church member who always seemed upbeat, she personified the glass half full perspective. Carol worked the graveyard shift, sleeping during the daytime. Her husband had “normal” hours, leaving in the morning, returning in the afternoon.

It’s midday. Carol’s asleep. Someone knocks on the front door. The visitor’s persistent, ignoring the “Do Not Disturb Resident” sign posted in an obvious place.

Reluctantly, Carol answers the door. Two people, seeking to share their faith about God’s love and Jesus’ promises. They are sincere, even polite, but Carol interrupts their prepared spiel, and explains she must get sleep. She suggests—equally sincere and polite—that returning in the evening before she heads for work would be fine.

The second Sunday of Lent – for March 20, 2011

He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God. (John 3:2)

They promise to return. And they do. But it’s days—not hours—later. Carol again answers; the chat’s much shorter this time.

They’re back next week. Carol, with the glass of water looking awful empty, but still clinging to nice, asks them to leave, please and thank you. One visitor—I think this was how Carol put it—cheerfully promises they’d return. Though exhausted, she manages to convince them to provide their phone numbers. She promises to call and arrange the “best” time to talk. Continue reading →

A is for…

AMATEURS

My theological mentors are obvious. I write about them, even mention them in casual conversation. I’m transfixed by the likes of Walter Brueggemann, Frederick Buechner, and Barbara Brown Taylor. And I was privileged to attend a seminary—like other clergy—where “world class” professor/mentors shared insights.

But I think of all of them as amateurs when it comes to interpreting what the Bible may/could/might mean. Oh, I depend on them. My lively, trusted “mentors” probably read Greek or Hebrew better than I read English. They understand historical context when I’m mostly hysterical. Through study and practical experience they have explored the great faith traditions in ways I envy.

Still, if the Bible is a living word, where its stories invite more stories, and where its real and imagined people are similar enough to you and me, we’re all amateurs. No one is the expert. Everyone is still learning.