Thursday, April 4, 2013

Why Your Pastor Needs to Be a Geek

He really didn't want to be there.

But "Thou Shalt Talk With Thy Pastor to Get Thy Badge," saith the Cub Scout commandment, and so he was.

I knew it, because I remember being a kid.  I remember doing stuff I had to do, but with my mind half-a-billion miles away.  So he sat there, trapped by the moment in the pastor's office with his father, his body a mass of squirms and distraction.  If it was physically possible to wriggle your way through a hole in the space-time continuum, he would have.

His dad gently coaxed him to ask the questions that he'd thought about beforehand, and he did ask them, sort of.   His eyes fluttered around the room, and his voice semi-audible.

I answered the questions he'd prepared, good ones, they were.  But I could hear my replies going WAAA waa WAAA in his mind, the meaningless trumpeting of a Charlie Brown grownup.

Again, I remember being a kid.  It's important not to forget the wholeness of yourself.

So a few gentle, steering questions moved us away from me being the Expert Faith Professional talking about Important Church Matters.   What kid cares about Important Church Matters?  That's sure not where I lived when I was his age.

The conversation turned to greener lands, to where I lived when I was his age.  To where I still live in part, being a geek and all.

We found ourselves in Middle Earth, and the Shire, and the world that Tolkien had woven.  In that world, we talked about Power, and what it had done to Smeagol.  We talked about how even Galadriel and Gandalf knew how deeply it can corrupt the heart.

And from Tolkien, we found our way to Cair Paravel, as he learned that J.R.R. and Clive Staples were friends.  We talked Narnia for a while, and Aslan, and how Aslan's song sang in harmony with another story.

Then to Hogwarts, where J.K. Rowling helped us frame a conversation about self-sacrifice and redemption.

And he was there, the whole time.  He was present, engaged, interested, voice clear, eyes up, engaged and thoughtful.

For a conversation about theology.