Monday, February 19, 2007
I didn't get his name. I'll call him Jim. He needed a ride from Salem to Portland and I was going that way. As we started along in our journey we began talking about life and why he was on an on-ramp with his thumb out.
Jim started into the story of how his dad just died. He's from a Native American family and was coming back from Grand Ronde but didn't have a car. His license had recently been taken away for some choices he had made.
Hearing the pain in his voice about the death of his father was pretty moving. Hearing him tell me about the choices he had made that lost his license and the changes he is now making to redeem those choices was also moving. I could tell that what hurt most was the lack of trust people now had in him, enough broken trust that he wasn't even allowed to visit his dad's old home to collect some of his own stuff.
And then we got on the subject of God. Apparently Jim grew up in a Pentecostal home. He had never heard of Quakers (not surprising) but was open to talking about the differences. Jim claimed to not be a "religious type" anymore, but we at least were able to talk about God for a bit before he changed subjects. The one thing he said that struck me was, "They never forced it on me. My mom always let it be my choice to go to church, and the church never forced nothin' on me. I think if they had done it differently I wouldn't view Christianity the way I do today." It was very insightful of this obviously broken man. He recognized the damage that some types of "evangelism" can do. I'm glad Jim was part of faith community growing up that didn't completely harm his understanding of God. And I pray that wherever Jim is right now, God will continue to be revealed.