It’s true. You can blog from almost anywhere.
At the moment I’m sitting in the William P. Hobby Airport, sipping a tall coffee and savoring the last few bites of a cheese Danish. I’ve come to Houston to lead a preaching workshop at Christ Church Cathedral for some Episcopal priests-in-training, and since no one is picking me up I have a few minutes to spare.
It’s still early. I got up at four this morning to get to the airport by five. Two flights later here I am in Houston. I saw the sun rise gloriously between Richmond and Atlanta and now it’s at full strength, coming in through these big windows and filling the place with God’s own light.
My seatmate on the last flight was having allergy problems and she wanted to talk about them. We finally got around to questions like, “Where are you going and why?” I told her I was on my way to Houston to lead a preaching workshop. “What about you?” I asked. She seemed to blush before telling me that she was an exotic dancer on her way to a national competition. “And now this!” she complained, pointing at her puffy eyes. But as we talked she told me that she had grown up in a Christian family, that her father, in fact, was a pastor. She looked down and said, “My parents aren’t too happy about some of the choices I’ve made.”
She talked about trying to live by their rules for years and years, and how finally she decided she just couldn’t do it anymore. “Now I live by my own rules,” she said, lifting her chin. That’s when I heard myself saying, “You know, Jesus said there were only two rules that really matter: loving God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and loving your neighbor just as much as you love yourself. He said all the law and the prophets were wrapped up in those two, which makes me think that if we could do them we would have nothing to be ashamed of, not even when we stood before God.”
Since she seemed to be listening I added, “When I’m trying to make moral decisions I sometimes ask myself, ‘Will this get in the way of my love for God? Will this drive a wedge between me and my neighbor?’”
She looked thoughtful.
“Your dancing,” I asked: “Does it get in the way of your love for God? Does it drive a wedge between you and your neighbor?” “No,” she said. “Not at all.” But then she admitted that it had strained her relationship with her parents. “It doesn’t keep me from loving them but it seems to make it harder for them to love me.” And then she breathed a heavy sigh and fell silent. Finally she looked over and said, “Thanks.”
“Thanks?” I asked.
“Yeah, thanks,” she said. “That helped.”
I don’t know how it helped, but as I sit here sipping coffee I’m thinking how remarkable it is that a Baptist preacher and an exotic dancer had a conversation about Jesus at 32,000 feet.
But he’s like that, isn’t he?
You never know where he’ll turn up.