I have resisted in these past months to play my pastor/narrative-theologian card. What I have focused on is what it is like to give rides to the wide array of humans who just need a lift. I have enjoyed reflecting on interactions with folks who might not have a clue that I am a pastor/minister/preacher.
Today I picked her up at a hotel close to the capital and she needed a ride to Union Station to catch the train to DIA, right in the middle of rush hour. The GPS said we were in for a 17 minute ride. She hopped in the front seat and initiated a lively conversation. I asked “Do you mind me asking where you are from”? (I detected an accent). “I am from China. I immigrated here 20 years ago”. I then shared with her that I was in China for 18 days in 2013. I had a great time telling her about all the places I saw. She asked me about Beijing and I smiled as I said “The day we got there a big weather front had come through and we had blue skies”. “You were very lucky”.
Then she asked me what I did before my Lyft driving. I told her I am a pastor who is back in a church. I explained where Greeley is. She began a very insightful commentary on religion. I asked her if she practiced any religion. “I tried to be a Christian for two years. The church I went to kept insisting there was only one way to interpret the Bible. That made no sense to me”. I said, “There is no such thing as uninterpreted scripture. The Bible can be used as a weapon or a gift”. (Today as I write is the day that yet another claim that the world 🌎 will end, has been put in the public domain based upon ‘biblical’ proof… baloney. I have also watched where small groups of folks take congregations hostage for their personal agendas all the while basing their actions on LOVE and the Bible – yuck). I said to her, “Sometimes I am almost embarrassed to call myself a pastor, let alone a Christian”!
Then the conversation took a most beautiful turn. She said, “I really do want to be part of a church that loves God and follows the Jesus I read about in the Bible. Is there such a church”? She had put me in checkmate. “I wish I could say that’s easy but I can’t. I can tell you this: this imperfect pastor is back serving an imperfect church with imperfect Biblical interpretations… and it beats trying to do it alone”. She laughed and about then we pulled in front of Union Station. I helped her get her things out to the curb. She looked at me and said with a bright smile on her face, “Thanks, I am going to keep searching”.
Onward and Upward,
Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than they love the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest and sacrificial … They enter the community of Christians with their demands set up by their own law, and judge one another and God accordingly. It is not we who build. Christ builds the church.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer