Matthew Gatheringwater doesn’t have TrackBack, so this will have to do to respond to his rather harrowing tale, entitled, “My bus fare and Jesus.” That, and it has been four days since I’ve made an entry, and don’t want to seem to have gone AWOL.
In short, our writer, in south Chicago at night (like ER?) explained that three young men were fit to rob him. Gatheringwater writes his response, “‘I’m sorry,’ I said, with surprising confidence, ‘All I’ve got is my bus fare and Jesus.'”
Then his coda: “Where did that come from?” He says . . . well, go read it, and come back.
Wow, yes (like the other commenters said) and now what to do with it? I doubt the “welcoming party” backed off because with no apologies to John Wesley of their hearts were “strangely warmed.” After all, Pharoah had a hard heart but was forced to act when he saw the signs Moses worked woth God’s power. And a minister has God’s power, bidden or not, like it or not. If the ministerial formation process fails to impress this, it hasn’t worked. I do admit I’m not sure how this works for non-theists, but that’s for them to work out.
But let’s press this a bit farther. If you will excuse a small vulgarity, God can be a bad-ass sometimes, and perhaps more often than our usual liberal church image of God as the Heavenly Park Service Officer. You know, “I find God in beauty.” “I find God in nature.” and so forth.
Now how did they know M.G. was, if not ordained, then at least moving in that direction? A white guy in the south side? Perhaps, but I’d like to put out there that the “Jesus and bus fare” comment unleashed a power that demanded recognition. I’ll leave that there, and may pick it up some other day.
But this demand and responsibilty of power cuts both ways. I can’t help but think that the clerical sex scandals are due in part to receiving the power granted by God and (sometimes) recognized in society, but not respecting God and the persons God had made. These priests not only betrayed the people, but they betrayed God, and I cannot begin to comprehend the depth of that alienation. But, I’ll also lay that aside for the moment, and hope that readers here and at Gatheringwater will continue writing, thinking, and praying on these things.