The weekend is, once again, upon us and I’m speedily peddling my way to my favorite weekend spot. The greatest coffee shop in the country. In my most humble opinion, of course. Suddenly I notice a quickly approaching pothole. In a frenzy I steer sharply to the left! But it’s too late, the edge of the hole grabs my bicycle tire and tosses me onto the ground.
I hop back onto my feet, brush myself off and hop back on my bike. Soon I reach the shop. Order my drink and take a seat. Without much thought I reach into my pocket and pull out the, quickly falling apart, letter. Flip it open and begin to read.
I trust your affairs are behaving themselves.
The first matter in my notes today is a bit of a quick thought. A I mentioned in the previous letter I recently met with some religious leaders to discuss my heart and teaching. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea though. As I’m sure you have noticed in our present atmosphere we love standing face to face with the greats! The cool people. We love to be associate with those we idolize because it kinda shows us that we are great as well. Don’t buy into that. It won’t fulfill you. Now, of course, it doesn’t hurt to gain an understanding of what people assume as normative. So, sure, talk to and engage with “the greats.” But keep an open ear and be wary if you begin to feel that you need this or that person’s approval, examine that desire. Analyse it. You don’t want to get sucked into some wormhole unawares.
Six months after my online chat with the leaders I decided to surprise them by attending one of their conferences. On my way over I had a hilarious idea. So I got my cab to stop at one of the stores along the way over and bought myself a disguise. I decided to see how long I could keep my identity a secret and just enjoy the presentations. Later, of course, I would reveal my identity. It’ll be great!
When I got to the venue I registered under a fake name, of course, and found a seat.
The first talk was intriguing, a little weird. But things got really weird when we had a little coffee break. I walked into the cafeteria and noticed a handful of empty tables. Happy to still find an open seat I walked over to sit down. Only to notice a reverse slip stuck to the center of the table. It read, “Reserved for Theists.” Confused I looked up to see if anyone could explain. It was then that I noticed a couple of my christian atheist and non-theistic acquaintances steal a couple glances my way. Feeling my face grow red I looked at the tables filled with laughing people. Even the leaders I had been in an ongoing dialog with were there. Seemingly completely oblivious to the confusion in the room. Even Billy, who had expressed total agreement to my plea to stop pushing people away was there. In a fury I jumped to my feet and stormed over.
“What are you doing?” I demanded of Billy, “Did you already forget about our conversation? I know that we tend to think that we’re better then the less theistic, but think about. Even the most theistic people today don’t think like the believers a thousand years ago did. And what’s more, I thought we had just agreed that it has nothing to do with our ‘perspectives of reality’. It’s about how we live! Didn’t we just agree that it’s about following the way of Jesus? The way of love, of unconditional acceptance? How dare you isolate yourselves from these people for thinking differently, when it wasn’t about that to start with?”
I have more to add to this conversation, but it will have to wait until our next correspondence.
Until then, tootle-loo
Slowly I fold the letter, slide it in my pocket, and slip out the door.