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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Shopping as Evangelism?

So, today was the first day that I left theay house beyond walking on our court.  My friend took me to the bank and then we walked around Lafayette a bit, with the goal of going to Patxi's Pizza which serves Blue Bottle Coffee and is open morning, noon and night.  (very dangerous for me!)  For those of you don't who may not know, Blue Bottle makes Peet's seem like Folgers!  Anyway, I digress.  I couldn't resist asking if we could stop in a clothing store on the way just to look around.  Well, we were virtually the only ones in the store and of course, the sales clerks were more than eager to help us.  So, they began to show us a new item that had just come in:  a wrap that could be worn about 10 different ways.  I in my t-shirt and elastic waist shorts was in no mood to try on anything, but happy to watch my friend be Barbie.  In the midst of this, the woman asked my friend what she did.  She said she was a pastor....oh, why did she have to say that? probably did jump into my head.  Then, she came and asked what I did.  Well, at that point, I had to say that I, too, am a pastor.  She was exclaiming and oohing and aahing in a way that is not a common response to my admission of the vocation I have chosen.   She told us she thought it was fabulous.  Really?!  Really!? she exclaimed.  Then she wanted to know where our churches are located.  She asked if we preach sermons.  She lives in Oakland and said she goes to the Cathedral of Light (well, nominally she goes there), but she wanted to come to our churches.  She wanted our business cards.  She just kept going on and on about us both being pastors.  Then, she started telling everyone else in the store that we were pastors.  I suppose this might be remarkable in many settings, but here in Northern California, in this bastion of secular life and the embarrassment over the C-word and the J-word (Christian and Jesus), it seemed downright implausible.  Now, I'll tell you that I've had other people exclaim in similar ways at memorial services, weddings and other chance encounters and I've seen nary a one of those folks enter the doors of a church in the weeks to follow.  But then again, I wonder if I'd really want them to.  I wonder if the church would disappoint them.  I wonder if evangelism is really about getting people in the doors of churches or is it reminding them of Christ and the many ways that each of us is called to follow him.  I wonder....

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