he was old enough to be my dad and i worked at the church he attended. we were talking about something and i saw his eyes got really big and it quickly became obvious that he needed to convince me that my way of thinking was wrong and his was right.
it was funny because he wasn't getting anywhere in the "argument" because i didn't need to be convinced one way or the other. to me they were just 2 different preferences... we had 2 different ways of doing and thinking about the same thing.
but he was very convinced. i think he was intrigued with me even way back then because i didn't line up in all the right categories for him.
so just a couple months later (after we had just met) he actually flew me across the country and paid for me to go to a certain conference. i think his "secret" hope... or maybe not so secret - he may have straight up told me (can't remember?)... was to sway me to his way of thinking basically on how church was supposed to be, etc...
he even asked me if i would be willing to go. "SURE," i said. i knew the conference. i knew the speakers. they were all pretty famous. i liked a lot of what they said. i'm never afraid to be convinced of something different than what i currently think. go ahead and convince me. :)
but i wasn't convinced. i did like the conference & like all those guys & really did learn a lot and it was really good for me. but my friend and i still differed over these overarching styles.
*but something interesting happened as we hung out together for an entire week.
we became good friends.
all week long we just talked. and not just about the stuff we differed on (i didn't really care about that anyway)... but we just talked about our lives, our interests, what we loved, & we talked about God, etc...
i really, genuinely LIKED this guy + he really, genuinely liked me. we started talking a lot and really hit it off.
the funny part is that we could not be more opposite.
other people even laughed about it and wondered why we got along so well?
opposite generations, opposite in all of our styles - dress, talk, interests, etc..., opposite in most of our theology and certainly our philosophy of how to do church, etc...
but here we were - getting along great.
i really think that he was perplexed by me. here's a kid who seems to love Jesus, but he's "way out there." and i think he must have figured that if i really loved Jesus then i would come around to his side eventually (to his "style" & preferences. You know, the "correct" way).
years later, after we went our separate ways and were a part of different churches, etc... i was getting ordained at Ridge and i invited this guy to come. he had definitely been an awesome encouragement and influence to me through those early years of me being in "ministry" and i wanted him to be there.
he came and it was an awesome night. a really powerful and meaningful night for me. i wrote about that HERE.
but at the end, before he left, he pulled me aside. pulled me aside like... no, we're not going to talk here in the middle of everyone... we're going to have a private conversation because i have something important to say. that kind of pulled me aside.
he physically put both his hands on my shoulders and looked me in the eyeballs to make sure he had my full attention. then with full on sincerity he said...
"you taught me to look past the piercings, past the long hair, past the clothes," etc...
and then he said
"WE BOTH LOVE THE SAME JESUS AND THAT'S ALL THAT MATTERS."
i immediately started joking around with him like "man, OF COURSE we both love the same Jesus! and you should get something pierced too..." or something like that. that's just what i do - probably joke around too much.
but then i realized what a serious moment this was.
this is a guy who probably never dreamed he would be taught by a guy like me.
and i wasn't ever trying to teach him anything.
i almost wanted to say to him - "i don't remember teaching you that. i don't remember us ever having a conversation about this."
i just lived my life.
hey renown reader, just live YOURS.
people will learn.