Mr. Scott

16 Feb

No, not that Mr. Scott (if your inner Trekkie was automatically taking you to the illustrious engineer — or your inner Dwight to the socially inept office manager).

Mr. Scott is what I shall call the young man who stood before me this past Sunday just outside the bookstore.

“I’m an atheist.”

I was introduced to Mr. Scott through a mother and daughter – not sure of the exact connection. Friend? Neighbor? Boyfriend? Potential boyfriend? (I’m betting on that one.) Perhaps not crucial to know. They had just gotten him a Life Application NLT – leatherlike and thick and black. He looked like he had never held one before. He said he would read it. Wanted to know where to start.

“I’m an atheist. But I’m open to seeing what this is about. But I also have values I’m not willing to give up just because the church says so, like Gay Rights.”

Kudos on not wanting to do what the church, any church, says just because it says so.

But how do you tell a self-proclaimed atheist that you feel the Father’s heart for him? Because I did. In retrospect I would love to have cupped his face in my hands and drawing close said, “I feel the Father’s love for you!” Okay, would probably have been way too freaky and creepy, particularly considering the Gay Right’s comment.

Too much. Too soon. Too close. No doubt.

But I felt it.

What I did, given that he had already been given this rather large Bible, was suggest he start in the Gospel of Mark and go slowly, that Jesus is the primer for all of reality and for all the sprawling story of the diverse, eclectic, ancient library we call “the Bible,” that it’s all about knowing him, that he has accepted him as he is, where he is, with whatever values he presently holds, and that embracing that acceptance will ultimately change him, his values, everything.

I offered to sit with him as he began the journey of reading, to listen to his questions and thoughts, his objections and reflections. I gave him my email and cell phone number (555-5666, of course).

He thanked me. He took the Bible.

And then he returned it to the daughter the next day.

The mom called me to say that he had returned it saying he wanted nothing to do with it.

So now I see him in my mind’s eye, standing there with that thick, black Bible.

I wonder if that big Bible, when he took it out of the box, seemed like nothing more than a huge religious enema, as he no doubt asked himself, “Is this girl worth it?”

Too much. Too soon. No doubt.

I totally believe in, delight in, love this diverse, eclectic, ancient library we call “the Bible.” Totally. I love it as much as it can drive me crazy (kinda like my spouse – in fact, I’ve known both for about the same amount of time). I love the Word it contains and communicates and ultimately points us to in the Living Word who is Jesus who ultimately becomes the freshly incarnated Word in us, shaping us, transforming us, leading us to dance to a entirely new rhythm that is reshaping all existence.

And now I see him holding that big, black Bible.

The picture transforms before me into a symbol, a metaphor of a larger reality. I’m transported back to the Gospel of Mark. Jesus is walking by the lake. A crowd gathers. He sits in a small boat just off shore as the crowd remains at water’s edge. He has no scrolls or books to distribute. He tells stories – the first one being of that farmer scattering seed.

Jesus scattered seed in the form (primarily) of non-linear, abstract stories (we call them parables) in which he never publicly connected the dots.

We tend to drop an entire 50 lb seed bag on what we hope will turn out to be good soil. Images from movies of doomed characters in silos being buried alive by descending grain now come to mind. Or the frequent Monty Python bit of the huge weight falling from above on some unlucky character. Or of emaciated prison camp survivors whose bellies burst when sympathetic liberators provide them with a full meal.

Too much. Too soon. No doubt.

It all just makes me wonder if we wouldn’t better serve Christ and our world if we became better seed scatterers like the Master, and repented of trying to deliver a huge, black enema or to dump a silo full of grain on an unsuspecting, sputtering world’s head.

Yep. Just wondering…


Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Evangelism, Gospel of Mark, musings


Tags: , ,

5 responses to “Mr. Scott

  1. Jen Metts

    February 16, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    So true. So very true. I love the image of a grain silo full of seed being dumped on someone. Not quite what Jesus had in mind, but exactly what we do. I think of the movie “Witness” with Harrison Ford. It’s a great way to kill someone, but doesn’t help to bring life and freedom to them. In fact, when we dump a ton of religiosity on someone, we do end up killing their spirit instead of freeing it. And the black enema…wow…very appropriate. However, I will restrain myself from commenting, though I wonder how the prostitute would have responded to Jesus had he pulled out a bunch of Old Testament scrolls and started quoting scripture to her. I’m sure the Pharisees would have loved him but the prostitute would have left feeling condemned and unloved. Yet Jesus just simple loved and accepted her where she was at in her journey, and shared good news with her. Period. It is the same thing you do every day with people. You love them where they are at and share good news with them. So this young man may reject the black enema and his friends attempt to dump a bunch of seed on him, but he might just remember the kind-hearted, monk-like man in the bookstore that planted a few seeds. Remember, some seeds have to be eaten by birds and pooped out the other end before they spring to life. Kind of a natural enema I guess. O shoot. I commented on the black enema anyway, but at least I didn’t say what first came to mind. :0)

  2. Randall

    February 16, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    If what you said is “Jesus is the primer for all of reality and for all the sprawling story of the diverse, eclectic, ancient library we call “the Bible,” that it’s all about knowing him, that he has accepted you as you are, where you are, with whatever values you presently hold, and that embracing that acceptance will ultimately change you, your values, everything” then I would say “nicely planted.” He may not have kept the bible, but he will have these words for a long time.

  3. wordhaver

    February 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    God I hope that’s exactly what I said…let’s hope it was very close. 🙂

  4. Kathy

    February 20, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    My heart cries out for Mr. Scott. I’ve been there! That’s how I know now that God exists, God is a God of miracles, and that the Bible is His Word. There was a time when I prayed “God I want to believe, but the Bible is unbelievable. I just can’t read the Bible and believe in you …Help me in my unbelief and help me to understand.” God opened my eyes to his Word … not through His Word, but through relationships with Godly people! Now I love the Bible, I can read the Bible and I trust that the Bible is His Word. That is truly a miracle! Be the love of Christ to someone who doesn’t know him and let God work the miracles!

  5. wordhaver

    February 20, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Kathy – thanks so much for sharing your story! I think there is a multitude standing with you on that one!


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