reflections from the road: friday, december 26th
on friday morning i finally had the opportunity to make my way down to lubbock, texas in order to both meet with agent b and piss on the red raiders for surrendering so easily to the sooners.
on the way down i promised myself that i would not listen to npr on xm or to an audio recording of fight club that i borrowed from the (incredibly impressive) hardesty branch of the tulsa public library, so that i could soak up the silence and stark expanses of west texas and try to commune with my God. i'd love to say that i immediately embraced the silence and rhythmically prayed the Jesus prayer the entire way. unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth.
although i could feel myself unfolding as i passed through the great expanse, the minutes felt like hours and my 125 mile trip turned into a sojourn. such discomfort is troubling since i spend so much time preaching and sharing my inner life with others. i realize that the most effective words come out of silence and i need to be more intentional about cultivating silence in the coming year year.
meeting with agent b was like reconnecting with an old friend. although we have only known each other for four years and we've only met on three occasions, his family and mine share the mission of incarnation and the ground that separates us is indeed holy. b and i shared our evolving visions over shitty beer and sub par burgers, we stumbled across a $50 subsidy for our gathering, we drank slightly better beer at chili's and we started to cut to the heart of things at starbucks.
at the latter location i asked agent b how he would, in light of his a-congregational ministry and mission, define the gospel that we both serve. after hemming and hawing a little bit he simply defined the gospel as "doing." when i asked him how the person of Jesus informed his practical definition of the gospel he said that Jesus was "the example" of doing. he then offered a number of illustrations of what this gospel looked like in action. if you'd like to hear those stories for yourself, you'll find a few of them, along with the best characterization of my pastoral calling that i've ever read, over on the agent b files blog.
when we'd sobered up* enough to brave the trek home i embraced my friend and fellow slave and we went our separate ways. on the trip back, as i listened to fight club i was both titillated by the narrator and thankful that God has treated my disassociation disorder with His unrelenting grace and the unexpected graciousness of friends.
cheers agent b! here's to a continuing long obedience in the same direction.
* i'm not simply talking about alcohol here.