Thursday, February 04, 2010

DO talk to strangers!

by Amber

I just landed in Denver after a 1 hour 36 minute flight. I don’t know about you, but when I step foot in an airport, I turn into an introvert. I spend most of my days as an extrovert; talking to people about church, my faith, praying with people, smiling a lot, sharing ideas about church, reading Christian books, capturing sermon illustrations and praying I remember them, playing cello tunes out of the ELW, even browsing the Internet for fresh new ministry ideas. I wish I could turn off the majority of them, but even as my forehead stuck to the window on the plane I couldn’t help but see the circular crop patterns of Colorado and think about the percentage of non-Christians, the farm homes with driveways at least a half-mile off the main road made me think of unintentional loneliness some people may experience based on where they live, the book in my lap They like Jesus but not the Church, by Dan Kimball made me think about the fact that my 96 minutes in the air may be my only chance for the week to interact with non-Christians. I’m reading the book for one of my spring semester classes, “Ministry with Young Adults” with Dr. Andy Root. Kimball begins his argument by talking about how most Christians only hang out with other Christians. He says the only perspective we get for ministry and mission come from a bunch of people just like us—living in a Christian bubble. I’m not sure about you, but I get exhausted hanging out with Christians all the time. In fact, I don’t blame non-Christians for their negative view of us, because we suck as humans just as bad as everyone else. Take a step into a seminary classroom (the place where, I naively thought would be filled with a bunch of prayerful, Spirit led, positive, encouraging people) and the negative energy is enough to gag even the strongest stomach. Poison. Poisonous people. Sometimes even, poisonous professors. Trust me, I am not an exception. Even today, I was tempted this afternoon to make a snide remark at the woman who walked into the women’s bathroom and let out a gasp at the odor. I wanted to say, “Yeah, bathrooms smell, your poop smells! Get over it!” I kept that one to myself. I realize I have days where my pessimistic attitude, tiredness, family relationships, and faith create a green cloud of smoke around me, but thanks to the powerful working of the Holy Spirit, those days eventually give way to ones where the smoke dissipates and I find myself loaded with spools of cotton candy to hand out. The point of this entire post is me reflecting on a day of wasting the pink carnival treat. Today is a good day, and yet I didn’t speak a word to the (seemingly) kind couple on the plane who sat next to me reading their iPod messages and kindle books. Fortunately, there’s another flight today that will bring me to my final destination, Salt Lake City, UT. I’m praying I get seated next to a non-Christian. I’m praying my own agenda will take a break and I can meet and learn about someone new. I’m praying the Spirit will prompt me to remove the ear plugs, the books, and the camera so I can be present to someone today the way Jesus was two thousand years ago! I’ll let you know how it goes!


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