It’s been a year now, and my time in some ways is up. Last June I was given a challenge to explore the wild, where “scary people” often drink and smoke and cuss without so much as a second thought. There, in the wild, parents enroll their kids in parks and rec sports without ever considering the option of Upwards. In the wild, instead of asking for “day sponsors” radio stations air commercials. It’s a delicate ecosystem that simultaneously celebrates diversity and drowns out divergent opinions. I crept softly so as not to spook the inhabitants and consequently be tamped down myself. Research was my disguise and discovery my agenda though I was always forthright about who I am…who I am professionally at least.
It was time to write another installment, but I’d his something of a rut in my research. There’s a public elementary school across the street from the church where during certain seasons of the year I and several others spend our Tuesday afternoons running an after-school Bible club. Desperate for new material but only willing to invest minimal effort, someone suggested I pick out a 5th grade boy and ask him my questions. So I did. One of my favorite little urchins wears Jordans, never sits down, and never stops talking, so I told him to sit down and be quiet. I had some questions I wanted to ask.
For a time during college I dated a girl who was a Christian but her parents were not. Even then it was clear I was on track to a career in ministry though the path was quite unconventional, meandering through ropes courses, whitewater rapids, and sizable portions of Appalachia. This scenario on one occasion led my own mother to ask, “What do her parents think of what you…do?” Having already pondered this question I replied that while I believed they were by no means opposed to them, her parents definitely regarded my varied exploits with a heightened level of curiosity. “Don’t we all,” said my dear mother, her voice trailing off as she turned to look out the window.