September 29th, 2016 by Christopher Caudle
Originally sent to the parish via email August 19, 2016
I joke with Marci that we could call him on the phone and simply say "We're lost," he'd reply, "I'll be right there." He has a
set of intuitions, experiences and good luck to navigate new places with great success. It is amazing.
I have no idea how any of that feels. Being lost in traffic, a store or in a neighborhood is typical. New places add additional elements of surprise. And, in case you wondered, knowing the location of East has never yet helped me out of a Publix parking lot.
Directionally challenged or not, when we each (finally) get to where we are going, we often share a common set of questions.
"Where am I?" (How does it compare to where I was?)
"What kind of place is this?" (Is this what I imagined it would be?)
Across the country for a vacation, across varied cultures for work, across a chilly silence to renew a relationship, across our previous experiences to make a new start.
We often end up in places that ask for description, for definition, for a name. And while we are waiting to come up with just the right name, waiting for the right intuition to feel confident in our next stage of navigation, someone offers us a guidebook.
10 Yosemite Must-Sees, 50 Tips to Working Across The Generations, 3 Life-hacks to Resolve Conflict, etc etc etc. They each answer the question of "What kind of place is this?" with advice or summaries that offer to be helpful.
Our neighbors and families and friends have each been given an answer to the question "What kind of place is this?" for the church. Almost everyone in our community can offer a definition of church. It involves a summary of their experiences, the memories of those they respect, impressions from a favorite celebrity or a terrible event. Maybe their intuitions are good and they are on the right track. Maybe they are as lost in the parking lot as anyone could possibly be. Both options get shared and lived out week by week, life by life.
How would you answer the question?
"What kind of place is this?"