it just happened again, right as i began to type. i was interrupted by my boss, who wanted to prattle on about baseball. perhaps i’d be a bit more inclined to talk to him about one of my favorite topics if he knew a single damn thing about it.
but that’s the problem, isn’t it? i am more than willing to talk to people, but only about topics that i’m interested in. i love going out and connecting with people, as long as they don’t go to a restaurant that i could care less about*, are off to see a movie that i am interested in** or are engaging in some form of activity that i find entertaining***. i suppose that’s a long way of saying that i engage with people on my terms, for my own reasons.
unfortunately, as a follower of Christ, that’s not good enough. a couple of weeks ago, while reading the beloved community, charles marsh’s excellent treatment of the Christian values and communal contexts that shaped the civil rights movement, i was struck by his admonition to practice “the humility of participation.”**** in the midst of all of the iconic images – such as the video from the march in selma – and sound clips – “i have a dream;” “I might not get there with you;” “we shall overcome” – marsh reminds us that the real groundswell of reconciliation issued forth from places like the freedom houses in mississippi, clarence jordan’s koinonia farm and a hundred other places where the divisions between black and white, rich and poor, urban and rural were overcome through incredibly ordinary, everyday expressions of the love of Christ.
why am i telling you this? again with the good questions! i am simply admitting that the love of Christ compels me to participate in other people’s lives regardless of who sets the terms***** and i have the feeling that joining those i love as they throw good money after bad at the organic garden, having more inane conversations with my boss about baseball and, God help me, once in a while seeing a movie just because it’s one the pixie would like to see would be good for me. i suspect that there is life, real life, hidden among these opportunities to participate in other people’s lives. here’s to hoping i accept a few more invitations.
*including one in which people pay premium prices for completely uncooked food. when i go to a restaurant, i assume that sweating over a hot stove is one of the things i’m payin’ a premium for.
**obviously the lake house did not make the list. i am also hesitant to pay big AMC money to see documentaries or other films that would play just as well on the small screen.
***on the list, whiffleball, flying and boating. off the list, edible plant tours, shopping for anything other than books or music, attending any girls sporting event that does not include a volleyball net, hot sand and, umm, excursus ended.
****which i just had an opportunity to practice, because my boss just popped into my cube and suggested that the red sox need a better manager. “like who?” i gamely asked. “what about that joe morgan guy?” he quickly responded. at that moment, i had to avert my eyes and shut my mouth, lest i betray my absolute amazement at hearing THE WORST PERSONNEL IDEA EVER. with ideas like that running around in his head, what’s to stop him from heading an HR department somewhere? okay, i’m stopping this…
*****but not regardless of healthy boundaries.