Remarkably Unremarkable

Remarkably Unremarkable

no_40.jpgSomething happened to me recently that shed confirmation's light on what I believe. Many months ago someone contacted me who had been reading my blog. He liked what I had to say and loved my cartoons. He felt I was working out in the radical frontier, so he wanted to travel to visit me with a small team in order to interview me. They were traveling around in order to get a video and audio profile of these radical kinds of Christian communities, of which I and my church was considered one. I was honored, but I told him right from the beginning that there was really nothing to see. Even though my writing and cartoons may be radical (and I even question that), what I am exploring, investigating and propounding is nothing extraordinary. In fact, my life and my community are remarkably unremarkable. It reminds me of a man who searched for a certain hermit for years and finally found him. He asked if he could just stay with him for a while so that he could watch and learn how to be as wise and spiritual as he was. His desire was granted. After a while he began wondering why in the world he came and committed himself to this, because there was nothing to see. The old hermit slept; got up early; built a fire; had a small breakfast with tea; sat silently in meditation; went out and collected water and wood; chopped and split the wood; read and prayed; ate lunch; supper; played with his cat; read some more by lamplight; then went to bed, only to start his whole mundane routine all over again. There was nothing remarkable. Nothing to see. So a couple of weeks ago when I was sent the finished DVD of the profiles, our church and my interview wasn't included. I chuckled. It's a good DVD. No harm done. What was to be expected? The enjoyable few hours I spent with them and their equipment simply could not capture the essence of who I am or what my community is. There is honestly nothing to see. We are remarkably unremarkable. So when people say they want to come to my church or come interview me and observe our community or whatever, I always discourage it. When people come to check us out on a Sunday morning, I'm sure they almost always leave disappointed. We, just like any other church, are half-heartedly croaking out our songs, mumbling our prayers, and dozily enduring the teaching time. We are an unremarkable bunch of people living in unremarkable houses living unremarkable lives. Well... that's on one level... the level of cameras and microphones, screens and speakers. What we are cannot be captured digitally. I personally feel that on another level these are remarkable people. They are heart-broken people going through divorce with courage; single moms heroically raising their kids with next to nothing; people struggling bravely with illness; young people trying to live ethically in an unjust world; men and women learning how to be authentic in a fake and phony culture; children attempting to be uniquely creative in a cookie-cutter school system; and all of them wanting to follow Jesus freely and generously through the thick and the thin of this incredibly unkind and antagonistic society. But that kind of steak doesn't have any sizzle. The fine art photograph is one of my favorite portraits, done by my friend Jorgen Klausen.

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