I confess I stole that title from my friend Jim. He audited Fred Craddock’s preaching course some 40 years ago. Jim is NOT a preacher but he had the opportunity to learn from, arguably, the man who brought “story telling and Biblical preaching” together in a manner that has transformed narrative theology (the Mystery is best understood and shared through story). Jim is a screen writer who has shared that this course was the best course he ever had in communication (and Jim teaches in both the undergraduate and graduate schools of Film at UCLA). With this explanation I will share for the next two weeks my move from the Lyft driver’s seat to ‘just a passenger’.
I am now returning from a trip to Indianapolis where I attended the General Assembly of my church family, the Disciples of Christ. We had decided to not rent a car, but rather to exclusively use Lyft from curb to curb. That was a great choice. The ride to DIA was at 4am so I knew that whoever “got us” would be thrilled that it was not an alcohol 🍺 reeking bar refugee. We had a really engaging ride. He was a young man who grew up in Denver. He had recently graduated with a BSN and was now working three jobs to pay off student loans, afford Denver rent and ‘build for my future’. He grew up here in Denver and was an All State point guard at Denver South. He had played NCAA Division 1 basketball 🏀 for two years “but being 5’9” and 145 lbs, I rode the bench and decided to have a life beyond basketball”. We then talked “Lyft Shop”. “The best part of driving Lyft is the people. You get to meet and have real conversations with humans that you could never connect with any other way. I mean look at me, I am a black kid with dreadlocks and a nose ring. I find that in no time at all that flys away and we are connecting”. I replied, “Look at me, I am an old white guy with lots of grey in my beard and I too have been blown away buy how a car creates a safe space for real talk”. The buzz was on. The 42 minute ride seemed to take 15.
I had 10 Lyft rides this past week with nine different drivers. Every one of them did a great job. My second ride that day was to the convention center. He was the 60-something retired guy who, like myself, hated retirement. As we were driving there he said, “I grew up in the Disciples of Christ Church”. Somewhere in the conversation he told me he and his wife met at CYF (high school youth group) at Central Christian Church in Indianapolis. “Ah, you must have known Bill Bryan”? I questioned. “Oh man, I loved him. My wife still talks about him. He was her favorite pastor of all time. How did you know him” he asked? “Well, we were both born in Pueblo, CO and our first church was Park Hill Christian. He was my Church Administration professor. He served the churches in Monte Vista and Alamosa, CO where I also served both churches in the 90’s. I also had the privilege of conducting his memorial service in Pueblo. On top of that, my kids and some of his grandkids are first cousins. I have never known a finer man.”
“Wow, I can’t wait to share this with my wife, this is why I love driving for Lyft” . “Me too”!
The deepest human fear is not “not being” rather it is “not belonging”. It’s not that every person who gets or gives a Lyft is needy or is craving human connection. However, when you hear again and again, that people truly enjoy sharing their stories of life in person you realize that “virtual” can be a mile wide and an inch deep. As I sit here and write for a blog site that is shared on ‘social media’, I both marvel and grieve at what it offers.
Onward and Upward,
2 thoughts on ““A View from the Pew””
Each week I say to myself, “This is Mark’s best post yet.” This week is no exception. From the first paragraph talking about our mutual friend Jim, through your passenger seat experiences, and then the wonderful last paragraph, I really must award this my favorite so far. Thank you for expressing so well how hungry our human hearts are these days for “in person” interaction/being heard instead of out there in the ether. Yes, I agree that it’s ironic to discuss that subject in a blog. But, there you have it. 🙂
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Mark, I so look forward to your stories each week! You have such a gift for sharing stories and I feel blessed reading them.