Thursday, August 11, 2011
A Word on the Word
Equally important, we are challenged to perceive the faith of our neighbors, even if their trust is raw and unrefined. True believers are found not only in groups like the 12 disciples, insiders who are convinced that they have a corner on spirituality. No, sincere faith is found among Canaanite women, Harley devotees, recovering drug addicts, recent immigrants and all the other people we tend to label as outsiders. Authentic trust is found among twenty-somethings who have never darkened a church door, tech workers who scratch their heads when confronted with organized religion and professionals at midlife who are wondering about the meaning of it all. We miss an important connection point if we fail to sense the presence of faith in these lives, and to see this faith as a potential foundation for a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Jesus didn't miss it. He found the faith of the Canaanite woman and used it as a springboard for a spectacular healing.
Just like our Lord and the organizers of Rider's Edge, we have to find fresh ways to welcome people who feel like outsiders. Find ways to welcome them, share our traditions with them and gracefully turn them into insiders. We should take opportunities to draw outside the lines and explore the streams of faith that run through the experiences of our neighbors. This probably won't involve motorcycle slaloms in the parking lot or the distribution of temporary "Bikers for Jesus" tattoos -- but you never know. The challenge is to communicate our lingo and lighten our image, without losing our Christian edge.
In all we do, we should curb our crankiness, yes. But our enthusiasm? Never.