thanks and books and telemarketers, oh my!

Great conversation about the death penalty the last few days. That post has garnered the most responses I have ever had on this blog. I hope this blog displaces us all just a little bit, causing us to dialogue with opposing views or consider new ideas. Thanks to all who read this on a regular basis…you are appreciated! (by the way, you should place your “pin” on my world map in the righthand toolbar, if you haven’t already. I’m always interested to see where readers are coming from)

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Kevin Cawley just posted “The Missional Church: A Beginning Reader’s Guide” on his blog site. Check it out. He’s mostly right, in my estimation. I’d add a few more, however: Organic Church, by Neil Cole; The Master Plan of Evangelism, by Robert E. Coleman; The Present Future, by Reggie McNeal; The Celtic Way of Evangelism, by George C. Hunter III; and, of course, The Shaping of Things to Come, by Robert Hirsch and Michael Frost (can’t believe that one got left off!).

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I work in an office at ACU that receives several telemarketing calls a day. So it was no surprise when this guy asked for the Director of Human Resources to see if she wanted to hear about new training programs. The rest of the conversation, however, was a surprise:

Me: I’m sorry, Suzanne is not available right now. Would you like to leave a message on her voicemail?

Him: Well, I work for a company that markets training manuals for companies. Yeah, well…hey, this is a Christian university, right?

Me: It sure is.

Him: Do you follow Jesus Christ?

Me: [thrown for a loop] Uh…yeah…yeah, I do.

Him: How’s your walk with Jesus Christ?

Me: Uh…

Him: I mean, is it going strong? Are you happy with it?

Me: Uh…

Him: Because I follow Jesus, too, but I’ve been struggling a little bit lately. I’m in need of some spiritual guidance, you know? So, do you like wake up every morning and spend time with the Lord — like praying and reading your Bible?

Me: Uh, well, I don’t do that as well as I’d like to most days.

Him: But you’d say that you have a strong relationship with Christ?

Me: Well, you know, it’s a day-to-day thing. It’s a hard life. Where do you live?

Him: Pennsylvania. I’m just asking all this because I want to serve God more, but I’ve been backsliding a little bit lately. Struggling…

Me: [realizing that I am at work with a customer and fellow worker in the office] Well, I’d love to talk with you more about this, man. I really appreciate this conversation! Do you want to e-mail me sometime?

Him: Yeah, yeah I do!

Me: Do you want to leave a voicemail on Suzanne’s machine?

Him: Well, you know, we’re telemarketers and we don’t really do that, because people can’t call back to reach us. So I’ll just try calling back another time.

I gave him my e-mail address. I haven’t heard from him yet. I hope I do hear from him. Needless to say, it was the strangest telemarketer conversation I’d ever had. I was reminded how lonely some Christians can feel outside the Bible Belt. I was reminded how much we need each other, even strange brothers or sisters over a phone in another state. I was reminded how important my own interior spiritual life is to my witness in the world. Shoot, someone might just ask me “how things are going!” Other implications?

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