Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Always keep a few of these around...

I've always thought it good to have a few really rich friends... you know, the ones who have lake cabins and boats and who invite you to spend the weekend with them at said cabin and ski with them on said boat... Because really, I don't want the hassle of owning either. I just want to play with them once or twice a year.

Along the same vein, it's good to have a few friends who are really deep and thought provoking. I am naturally not, so don't expect to hear any diatribes on world peace or politics or theology here. It's not that I don't care about those things. (Well, sometimes it is...) It's just that I can barely manage to get the laundry done. Who has time to ponder the deepest meanings of life?

These deep thinkers tend to show up in my life though - without bidding, mind you. People who really question and research and ponder and pontificate... and I've learned lots from them over time. I'm a kind of face value type of gal. I take things as I see them. I'm very trusting, and give people the benefit of the doubt most of the time. Some might call me gullible. I just think I'm a small town girl with a big heart and a little brain.

Blogging has introduced me to lots of these deep thinkers. And recently, it's reintroduced me to an old friend.

Bart Campolo came and spoke at an Urban Youth Worker's retreat when I was working in the inner city of San Jose, California. I was the one chosen to pick him up at the airport. Bart is Tony Campolo's son. And, as you can imagine, he is a bit of a deep thinker.

Bart and I hit it off immediately. He was passionate about the inner city. So was I - but I was also engaged, and was preparing to leave my vocation of "inner city missionary" to marry Asia. There I was, expecting to pick the brain of this revolutionary urban mission-minded hero, and instead, he spent the time questioning me about my decision to marry Asia. He forced me to think deeply about my choice. To evaluate my goals and my calling and my heart and God's plan for my life... it was challenging and deep. And it was good.

After the conference, Bart and I exchanged letters several times. I worked through some hard stuff with him. He was supportive and influential, scrutinizing my responses with care and always offering thought-provoking feedback. He was a stranger who invested in my heart and pushed me beyond my simple, provincial thinking.

Recently I got back in touch with Bart, and have been privileged to watch as God takes him and his family on a journey from an upper level administrative, suburban comfort zone where they'd settled, back to a grass-roots kind of urban ministry. He gave up his board of directors kind of life to pick up his family and move to a ghetto setting where their desire is to live in community with people who are economically and socially disadvantaged. To be the face of Jesus in a neighborhood most middle class people gave up on years ago. To be honest, he's not even sure what it's supposed to look like - he just knows he's supposed to be there.

I am SO challenged by Bart's choice. It has not been easy. But it's so clearly God's plan - there have been miracles and provision and answered prayers all over their lives.

I recognize the sin of my comfort zone dwelling. I know that I tend to hunker down and pull inward and try to keep everything safe and sound and simple.

This week I am thankful for the people in my life, whether they are near or far, who do not settle. Those people who put little value on comfort and give their lives completely to a vision - a belief - a conviction to follow God's prodding no matter the cost.

I've only told you about one of those friends. But there are many others.

Here's to Corey and Paul.
Heather and Tim.
Warren and Diane.
Bart and Marti.
Bob and Tricia.
Nathan and Julie.

Who are the people God has put in your life to challenge your thinking?

To test your heart?

To question your motives?

Be grateful for these heroes.

I am.


  1. Hey Cathy! You are right that these people are heroes. I liked your post yesterday about being in shock every time that you realize you are an adult. I feel like that once a week. Usually it is when I do laundry.

  2. Cathy, you may not think you are a deep thinker, but really - you are. This entry, for example, was filled with depth and much consideration. Thank you for sharing the story of your friendship with Bart. Cool stuff you wrote about.

  3. Stephen Wright is a deep thinker. Like when he says, "The other day I put instant coffee in the microwave and I went back in time" or when he says, "I bought some powdered water the other day, but I don't know what to add to it" or when he says, "I used to hire myself out as a narrator for bad mimes."

    His brain amazes me.

    Hello, Cathy.

  4. Heather - The adult thing is so freaky. I wonder if I'll ever get used to it.

    Kel - Lots of people seem to think I'm deep. But they're wrong. LOL. I do appreciate deep friendships though. That much is true.

    Scott - Steven Wright is one of my absolute favorite comedians. I totally get him. Which is scary. Hello Scott.

  5. OK, first...what am I chopped liver? Just kidding. I'm one of them big heart-small brain girls and proud of it!! I do like people who think deeply too(obviously, since I married one!) I think this is one of the things that makes me insecure about my blog. I wish I could challenge people to think, but I guess it is just as important to make people smile and feel good too.

    OK, I have a quote and deep thought for you today.
    "If you take a friend a meal, she will not be hungry for a day. If you take a friend an oven....she can cook her own da*n meal!" Feel free to reproduce or use this quote anyway you wish.

  6. You say, "It's just that I can barely manage to get the laundry done. Who has time to ponder the deepest meanings of life?"

    Well, that's why I never get around to raking the leaves or cleaning out my gutters. I don't have time because I'm too busy pondering the deepest meanings of life. Sometimes I wish I could just turn off my brain and instead be diligent at getting the day-to-day stuff done.


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