I feel like there's this constant feud of balance between technology and mom-n-pop culture within our society. There's the comfort of the "over-the-belly" jeans vs the fashion appeal of the "off-the-hip-potential-plumber's-crack" jeans, the authenticity of the "take-up-a-whole-wall" calendar vs the convenience of the "punch-it-in" iPhone, or even the efficiency of the backing-up camera on SUV's vs. the fun of the trial and error way of backing up in olden days.
Things have changed, some for the good, but some for the worse. This morning I had two exams to look forward to so I decided to put a great start to this imminently foreboding day. I strapped on my rainbow suspenders, rainbow beanie, and walked down to the best coffeehouse in the world (Greyhouse) to get my all-too-normal skim cinnamon latte and then picked up a bagel from Einstein's. As I ordered my bagel toasted and creamed, the woman, who was a little stressed cause of the busyness, threw my bagel into a metal chute of death, and the sound of my bagel screaming out for life as the blades roared out maliciously and just sliced that poor piece of dough in half was heart-wrenching. She then grabbed the bagel without looking and put it into the toaster 5000, within two seconds that thing was fried. I got my bagel in a minute and a half, and then she didn't look at me again and just moved onto the next person in line.
Now, I was grateful for the fast service, but a part of me felt like I missed out. This bagel-slicer and turbo-toaster had replaced the human touch of a jagged bagel cut with a normal knife and the awkward silence of a couple minutes of toasting bagel time. I had this grand revelation as I walked to class, bagel in hand and coffee in tow, what else in our lives have we replaced with this bagel-slicer to speed up time, make things convenient, and clean up appearances? Our culture is addicted to harder, better, faster, stronger. We commit to short-answered questions in greeting, we are always on the move, and we are obsessed with numbers.
Within the church we are obsessed with numbers, how many attended the service, how many came to this group, how much did we get from offering, how many came to Christ? What about that one boy who comes in the back late, sits by himself on that last seat in the last row wondering if church, if God was the answer to his pain? Who's going to notice the unnoticeable when we're so focused on the outcome of the crowd? What about the one individual who took years to come to Christ, and had to choose to go against everything they've ever lived for, family included, and we simply say, go pray with this group of elders? What about the person who is in desperate need to be seen and asked the question 'how are you?' sincerely? We are the answer to these questions, our imperfect, faulty, humanly hands, time, and lives. We are the ones who are called to see these people, these hurts, these fears, and we are called to reach out, to stop our lives, and to put some interest in their lives.
The super sliced bagel was cleaner cut, that I'm not going to argue with, the appearance was superb, but our lives are not about projecting the image. We are often told that to be accepted we must have a clean, good looking surface; but those who are related to and make a difference in others lives, they're real, they're imperfect, and they're aware and accepting of that. Our imperfections are not to hide away behind the perfection shield of "great!" responses, they are to be seen, to be real, so that we are relatable and have the Touch of Life in us.
Christ pays attention to us, on a secondly basis. He sees us, He notices us, He holds us, and "makes" the time for us. "You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord" - Psalm 139: 2-4. Slow down friend, mean what you say, pay attention to those who slink in the shadows, be intentional, put your touch on lives, be the jagged, imperfect bagel.