Friday, May 4, 2007

dialogismos with myself

His fictitious name is Patrick Morris. I met him when he and his fiancée came to seek premarital counseling. She had been attending our church for a few years. She became a follower of Christ within those years. Both had been married before.

I enjoyed our times together. We talked about our mutual trust in Christ and other mundane things that we enjoyed in life (he liked archery).

About a month before the scheduled wedding, they decided they could not wait and hold off on their affections for each other - so they went to Reno and eloped. They informed me at our next session. I told them that it was virtuous of them to do so, since biblically it is stated that it is better for them to marry, than to have an intense fire of physical expression held in check.

So we opted for a ceremony that would be a "blessing of a civil marriage." It was a very festive event. They even treated my wife and me to a night at a fru-fru hotel in CA wine country with body massage included.

I have no idea what happened to Patrick after that!

He became a pharisaical zealot. He would constantly lambaste other followers for not living up to what he thought was an appropriate expression of obedience to Christ.

At one point, his wife consulted me and expressed concern about his demeanor. She lamented that she felt he misrepresented himself while they were dating. That the true Patrick was hiding and only showed up after the wedding.

Others from our fellowship have had negative encounters with Patrick. This tempted me to be reciprocally antagonistic toward him. But I held off, knowing it was not in the interest of Christ's Spirit within me.

This morning, I am at the "Cholesterol Cafe" Men's breakfast. Each week we meet, go over a biblical principle and discuss how it is applied in our lives. Then we engage in mundane matters and mutual interest. About an hour and 20 minutes after the start of our time together, I see Patrick getting out of his car in the parking lot. He has his usual carry-on of KJV bible and some other black leather book. My first temptation is to say something negative to the others about him. God's Spirit screams "NO!" in my heart. I hear "speak to one another..." and so as he sits down adjacent to us, I look to him, wave and say "Hi Patrick." He waves back.

We continue our light conversations, when out of the blue, he pops his head over the lattice work atop the divider and asks: "How come you guys never talk about Jesus?" Looking up to see his face to determine if he means it in jest, I ask: "What did you say?" He repeats the question with even more consternation about his countenance.

"Out of the blue!" I'm discerning, as I see the downcast spirit ripple with the other men there. So I simply and confidently said: "Lighten up Patrick. Read Romans 14."

He sits back down and eventually asks the waitress to move to another table.

The brother next to me asks: "Why is it that some who believe are accounting for others and not themselves?" I explained, as best as I could, the history of Patrick's rantings with other Christians.

Now - the dialogue. Is this God speaking to us? Is this the adversary disguising as an angel of light? Is this a person who loves Christ, but has some kind of dysfunctional issue? I am hanging my hat on I Cor. 13 which emphasizes faith, hope and love and downplays knowledge.

I cannot figure this one out.

No comments: