Jun 5, 2009

Knocking or Running Away?

I spent the morning with "Jacob", a young man in his mid twenties man who lives on the street. He has invited me into conversations about Jesus before, but this morning he was obvious. And we talked at great length.

Jacob is a street poet. He finds little joy in anything else. He imagines that if he had money, he would engage in all sorts of activities that would make him happy. (Intriguingly, they were all activities which are dangerous and thrilling, just like the street like he currently lives.) I guided him to continue to explore the poet and entertainer that lives inside him. (You'll find a rare quotation that "Jacob" shared with me by permission at the end of this article that I think is simply beautiful!)

Jacob was a foster kid, like so many kids of the street. He did prison time for a felony starting as a teenager, like so many others as well. He is very unusual in that his foster mom is a preacher. He was encouraged to go to Bible college and did.

So what does he need to talk with me about? Jacob came to doubt the Bible during his studies. He finds many inconsistencies in the Bible. He is able to debate with a fine, sharp point all kinds of issues. And he is also able to apply the Bible to the churches he sees and find many flaws. To him, these inconsistencies (in the Bible and between the ideal church and the modern church) have become a license to create his own religion and love is own God. He finds comfort in this, rather than viewing it as idolatry that it is. I know many who take this same position, both on the street and many living in homes.

I was happy that Jacob came to talk. I shared with him that belief in the Bible starts first with meeting the very real Jesus in person. After that, faith builds and you simply know that the Bible is true. For me and for most, there is no magic moment when it all makes sense. Often we're not sure how to understand or apply some particular part of the Bible, but by walking with Jesus we simply know, feel, and observe it's truth. Over time, the simple value and weight of the whole become allies in balancing those parts which we have difficulties to grasp.

Jacob's heart was not instantly melted by our conversation. However, he was refreshed by a non-judgemental chance to talk about his concerns. And I was overjoyed to have the privilege of looking after him for a day. It was hard to decide if Jacob was knocking on the door today, or if he was running away. It's likely he's doing both. May he soon come face to face with Jesus as his personal savior and truly find what can make him complete and happy! Amen.

A quote from Jacob's street poetry. He writes many dark lines about his experiences, his yearning for honestly and openness. This is one of his beautiful lines. I wish I could find him a publicist or an agent. If you'd like that, contact me.

"Tell me that you think I'm beautiful
not in spite of my flaws,
but tell me that you think I'm beautiful
because of my flaws."

Jesus does look down on Jacob and say, "I love you just the way you are, Jacob. Come home to me."