My friend Trevor pointed me to this article yesterday. It pretty much sums up what I am about. The article is all about meeting people where they are at in third spaces witht he aim solely of building friendship.. … there is one comment, though, in particular that I think is not strong enough and it comes towards the end of the article:
‘If we take this risk of connecting with folks, and our primary expectation and goal is filling pews on Sunday, you may want to re-think the project you are considering.’
I don’t believe there is any ‘may’ about it …. to have such an expectation and motivation would be a clear abuse and manipulation. The quote from Nouwen, one of my spiritual heroes, is a quote I love, aspire to be able to adopt and, of course, massive challenge:
‘But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them’.
Time to go … be present …and to love … presence has become key, but proving to be so elusive! As we approach Holy Week, I am coming to a greater realisation that presence may be the only thing we have.