Living the questions and trying to think theologically... and practically. Learning that these things are more synonymous than I once thought.

Location: Dallas, TX

Monday, February 21, 2005

Humbled, Blushing, Crying, and Barely Able to Breathe

It is both rare and interesting to be able to see yourself through someone else's eyes. My friend Sam Davidson gave me that opportunity last night, and the title of this post states the reaction I had to his words.

I had the privilege of meeting Sam and his wife Lynnette almost three years ago when we all worked M-Fuge in St. Louis, Mo. They had the good fortune of meeting each other there, and I was a mere eavesdropper in the theological conversation that cemented, at least in Sam's mind, that this was a wonderful match. Lynnette and I bonded instantly because, although our personalities are pretty different, we both had been traumatically affected in the best possible way by a book we just read. No. You don't have to guess. It was A New Kind of Christian. She also told me about her church, University Baptist in Waco, TX, and how this diverse group was seeking to live out a new and genuine way of following after Jesus. Little did I know how much this young woman and the community she loved so dearly would impact my life in the years to come.

Sam... Well that's a different story. If I've ever had a literal love/hate relationship with anyone in my life, it is Sam Davidson. He was relentless in teasing me for things like being from Mississippi, which was particularly funny considering most of his family is also from there. As much as we annoyed the crap out of each other, we really did like one another, and we still do. Sometimes I would get frustrated with him, and my friends would tell me not to listen to anything he said because "He's so far to the left." When somebody tells you that, it usually means one of two things: 1) The person is extremely sheltered. He or she may have only been exposed to one theological view point...ever. Your friend has yet to comprehend just how relative the terms "left", "right", "conservative" or "liberal" truly are. 2) Or even worse, this person may have heard other perspectives, but indoctrination has done it's destructive work and being open to any other view point besides your own or that of those who have indoctrinated you is almost a mortal sin. (Sorry to get off on my soap-box. Maybe that's a little harsh, but from where I'm sitting right now, that's how I see it. )

However, I did like Sam, regardless of where he stood on the what I now believe to be hokie "theological, political spectrum." It soon became obvious that sarcasm and constant ribbing were signs of true affection. My father died less than two months after leaving camp, and Pastor Sam was the first staffer I called. I quoted Sam in Daddy's eulogy. The one thing I remember more than any other from his sermons is how he said, "my favorite theologians are those that apply their theology"... the people who actually live out what they believe about God, life, and loving other people. This was true of my Dad, and after last night, I am reminded of how true it is of my friend Sam. We may still be very different, but years from now, I'll read what he wrote about me, and I'll still be encouraged and humbled. Sam has eloquently and precisely described the change that is continuing to occur in me, and I will forever be grateful.

I'll put the link here. I feel a bit like a braggart in doing so, but if you know me, love me, or seek to understand me at all, you should definitely read it. You may just find a little of yourself in Sam's words too.


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