If anything this weird lifelong quest of mine has led me to meet a lot of different kind of people. Some whom I’ve written about in this blog, like Daniel who was drumming in the park and had no problem taking a break from performing to the squirrels and trees to meet me. Or Amy and her son Owen who I met around a campfire at a hotel in Pismo Beach. Or Sage, who wants the world to know she is a really good listener. There have been so many more who have had to suffer through my intruding kindness. Each one different, and yet strangely the same. Over these years I learned a lot about human nature and myself. I would go so far as to say I’ve changed a little along the way, dare I say transformed. I’m not always so sure about that, but I have come into a new way of seeing and being.
There are days, even long stretches of time where I feel like nothing has changed and it’s all been a colossal waste of time. There are some people you meet that you hope you never run into again. Or people who are just not that into making your day a good one. Those kind of people make me want to throw in the towel and crawl into my own little world. But then I meet someone, that Daniel or Amy or Sage are engaging the divine in me as I search for and welcome the divine in them. It’s in those moments I am reminded how far I’ve come. Practice makes perfect they say. I have yet to reach that goal. But if my practicing Christ-like hospitality has done anything for me, it is that it has kept me from being an asshole a majority of the time.
In those moments where between being present in and forgetting my goal, I both wander and wonder if I‘m in this place because I’m lazy or rebellious, or if because what I am has become so habitual that I don’t actually know I’m doing it. I am hoping the latter but I suspect it’s a little of both.
Intentionally seeing and acknowledging the Divine in people is a good thing for sure. It sets me on a solid course for life; loving people where they’re at and welcoming them without judgment. It takes work to get up the nerve to begin, but once you get started it becomes easier and easier along the way. I’ve discover that the big picture concept of seeing Christ in the other isn’t too hard or difficult when I’m practicing it with strangers, or people I have limited contact with.
Seeing and acknowledging the guy who welcomes me at the gym or the waitress who brings me a plate of food or a fellow dog lover at that park is easy. It doesn’t take much for me to smile, or say a few kind words or have a compassionate ear. The smelly homeless man with a crazy look in his eyes or the woman asking for money at the freeway off-ramp is a little more challenging. They can make me feel uncomfortable, or even a bit guilty for not having anything at the ready to give them. But it’s not too hard to see that they are a part of this world. They too, in all their dirty glory, are made in the imago dei - the image of God. It’s not hard to see and know that God loves them and cares for them just like God loves and cares for you and me. Holding onto that truth has helped me to see the the world through God’s lens and to navigate a pathway of Christ-likeness in their world that removes any shame, guilt, or fear I might have. And believe me when I say, that’s a good thing. It helps keep me humble and grounded 78.6% of the time.
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”