This post has been altered due to some concerns by the person interviewed. He did not want his named mentioned, his photo shown, or anything that might identify him. Because I believe in honoring the divine inside all people, and especially those who are willing to help me in this experiment, I have honored his request. And I am grateful for his willingness, and his kindness throughout this process.
I have no idea where A.K.A. was 10 years ago. But for me, I had just begun a new adventure of studying the past and learning about the future. This is the space where A.K.A. and I would meet. He an atheist. Me a priest. And FaceTime would be the application that connected us for this experiment.
At first, when I was trying to line up 30 interviews to meet 30 people, A.K.A. was reluctant to talk to me because he didn’t want anything to do with religion. He sent this in a text message when our mutual friend introduced us.
“Thx for considering me but I am probably not a good person to interview. I am a free thinker and do not share the belief systems that much of the world has. I humbly submit that I have studied philosophy, religion, psychology, business, marketing, evolutionary biology, entomology and ecology and I pretty much have a firm idea of how the world works and doesn’t work.”
Needless to say, I had to meet him. He was a student of life like me.
Years ago, when A.K.A. was a Fulbright Scholar, he was invited to study insects in Africa. This experience would change him for life. It was very similar to my own experience I had while visiting Tanzania in 2011. I too witnessed extreme poverty, and a way of life like nothing I had ever experienced – it too would forever change my outlook on things.
A.K.A. took his scientific mind and observations of life into the workforce. At some point in his long career, this intellectual giant would become an entrepreneur with the goal to put humanity and goodness into the marketplace.
Thankfully I convinced him that this KNOWvember experiment wasn’t a religious experiment but a social experiment that proved to me our connectedness. Little did I know that he and I would be so tightly intertwined in our passion for life and for picking apart the paradox of humanity. What he called science, I called God. Together we agreed it was Energy.
For A.K.A., “We’re like ants walking across life. One minute you’re gathering food and the next someone steps on you and that’s it.” But if this conversation tells me anything it’s that a life of an ant is equally as amazing as this complex human.
We might start out reluctant to meet strangers in life. We might allow things like pandemics get in our way from growing or doing things outside of our comfort zone. When we allow that stuff to happen, we close ourselves off from the gift of life that is right in front of us.
Who knows when that shoe will fall on me, or A.K.A. for that matter, but I am sure I will be contacting him again soon. Hopefully before it does.
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.”