Thursday, November 08, 2007
Burst Your Bubble
So I've had an interesting couple of days. A little context- I'm currently reading the book "UnChristian" by Kinnaman/Lyons and one of the chapters talks about the perception of people outside the church thinking that Christians are sheltered. Dan Kimball speaks of the "Christian Bubble" many times in his books, on his blog, and in his sermons. You guys probably know some of the symptoms- Do you know who Doug Fields is? What about Dan Kimball, who I just casually referenced? How many Jars of Clay concerts have you been to? Can you use the word "fellowship" in a sentence? Do you know what an Epistle is? If I sing two words- "Father Abraham..." can you complete the melody with "had many sons, and many sons had...", and so on and so on*.
If you are reading this and that didn't make much sense to you, you probably aren't in the Christian bubble, or at least have not been exposed to it that much. But if you're like me and your first real concert was CARMEN, then you are in danger of being in the Christian bubble.
The danger of being caught in the bubble is exponentially higher when you are on staff at a church. Even if you volunteer a lot, you still have a job where you interact with people outside of a church community. The office can be almost like a cell in trying to reach a world thats going on outside the bubble (inside the bubble still needs redeeming too, but thats another post altogether).
But I've discovered if you want to burst the bubble a little bit, you can. If you missed my Imam encounter, go read that post to understand a little better. Yesterday, Mohammad called me. His car is still busted, so I helped take him around a couple different places in our area so he could invite people to his Mosque's inauguration (post office, city hall, police/fire stations, area churches, etc). I told him to call me if he ever needed anything, and he did!
You know what Mohammad told me? I had said something about being glad we were friends, and he said that we're more than friends because many "friends" won't help you when you're in need, but I was helping him. What a compliment! He also gave me a copy of the Koran, which, is another blog post altogether, as is some of our conversation.
So there I was, suburban white boy (complete with North Face Fleece jacket) hanging out with a Muslim leader. That was yesterday.
Today, I had breakfast with my good friend Harry. Harry is pastor of a church downtown that I contacted earlier in the summer because some of the Men's Ministry guys had him speak at their retreat, and I knew he had a church downtown and was looking for a place to do some service. Well, a great relationship evolved- Harry and I have become quite close.
Harry and I ate at Bread Co, with time going much faster than we thought. I come outside to discover I have a flat tire. Well, crap. Harry had AAA so he gave them a call (thanks Harry!) and we got to continue our long breakfast discussions. Now I have to tell you we're on Delmar street, an area in St. Louis known as "the loop" which I believe Nelly has referenced more than once, not that it matters. The Loop is one of the most diverse areas of the city in every facet you can think of.
So Bread Co. being the melting pot that it is, Harry and I are hanging out waiting for the tire to be changed and out comes a young woman wearing a pentagram around her neck. Just to give you a visual, Harry has got on a cap that says "Hooked on Jesus" and a t-shirt that says "Jesus Saves". I'm sort of blocking this girl from exiting the parking lot and me and Harry are standing there talking, and we both sort of pause. I darted back and forth between Harry's gear and her jewlery like somebody at a tennis match and braced myself for something going down.
Turns out this young woman was a witch, she was soon moving to Phoenix (and was allergic to the sun, which I found funny, she didn't). She had been raised Catholic/Baptist/Witch and had settled on the witch. She knew more about the Bible and took her faith more seriously than her Christian friends. She was very quick to assume that Harry and I might try to convert her (sort of) and was reluctant to really stand there and discuss with us but talked way more than I thought she might. Her name was Danny. The interaction that took place is ANOTHER blog post for another time.
My point is, maybe if I give a little effort, and take the opportunities right in front of me breaking out of the bubble isn't so hard. The white bread west county mold isn't so binding after all.
After all, a black preacher, a white preachers kid, a Muslim preacher, and a witch sounds more like a bad joke than my last two days. But it's true! We can burst our Christian bubbles if we look hard and take the risks. No, I didn't convert Danny or Mohamed. But I am helping to reverse the stereotype.