Sunday, October 7, 2007

Jews and Butterflies...

Today has been a rather interesting day so far. I'm home in Salem, MO because I haven't really seen Mom and Dad since school started. We went to the MU vs. Nebraska game yesterday (and what a beautiful game it was!) and then I went to church to see Dad preach today. In the midst of that is studying for an exam I'm afraid of, but the break with Mom and Pop has been rather nice.

Today I walked into church a bit late because we got home really late from the game. I came in during the joys and concerns period to see a young man about my age standing at the front of the church. He said something to this effect:

"My friends, I have a confession to make to you all. I've worshiped with you my whole life and you've helped me along in my spiritual journey and become my friends and family, which is why I feel I have an obligation to let you know where I am in that journey right now. Since going to college, I have stopped going to a United Methodist church. I am actually not going to a Christian church any longer. Since going to college, I have become a member of the Bethel Congregation in Jefferson City and am converting to Judaism. My reasons are between me and God, but if you'd like to ask me about it one-on-one after church, I'd be more than willing to talk to you about why I'm doing what I'm doing. You're all still my family and I'd be really upset if something like a belief got in the way of us loving each other."

I was blown away that this guy had the courage to stand up and say that in front of an older UMC congregation. But it gets better.

The congregation lady who was leading joys and concerns stands up to the mic and says, "It'd take a lot more than a change in religion for you to stop being a part of my family. We love you." And then the whole congregation clapped! It was really amazing. How's that for blowing away some typical traditional Christian stereotypes of closed-minded, hating people? Sure changed my mind on a few things.

I am always astounded when people are truly honest with each other. Most of the time people are really understanding and respectful when you're straight up with them. They really appreciate it. This was one of those instances. Respect for one another and a love of humanity and the community has the power to transcended race, religion, spirituality, lifestyle, etc. Very cool.

On a side note, I was walking back home from church and while I was walking through my front yard, I noticed a flock of things gliding a few feet above my head. I thought they were small birds at first, but then I noticed that it was a pack of monarch butterflies! How beautiful! I've been seeing them a lot more around campus lately. I think that they're migrating right now to get away from the coming cold. Every time I see them, they call me to mindfulness and I smile for a few seconds. It's really nice.


lindsey said...

What a great meaningful it must have been for that young man! And how cool that you were there to witness it. :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm not often reminded that the stereotypical Christian is different from the typical Christian, and it's such a relief when I do.