To my friend, Scott.
Thank you for being an Addition and a Multiplier.
Has it really been so many years since this conversation?
I met him for lunch…this person I knew from a ministry that had touched my world but was a much bigger part of his. We didn’t know each other well then. Today I can’t remember if the purpose of our meeting was for me to help him or for him to help me. As it is, I hope we helped each other – if not that day, at least over time.
Our conversation quickly moved beyond normal pleasantries. I’ve never been one to shy away from “going deep” in relationships (in fact, I much prefer it), so this was fine with me. We talked about the great freedom that comes in being authentic and transparent. I’m sure we talked about the risk and vulnerability involved there as well. We discussed the purpose of various relationships in our lives – connections that can either change the way we think about the world, or pass us by without a second thought.
He shared with me that he once heard a church pastor describe it this way — there are four kinds of people in the world: Additions, Subtractions, Multipliers and Dividers.
Some days I only know that there’s a whole lot of stuff I don’t know.
The last few weeks have held several of those days.
I consider myself to be a decent human being. In that, I want my fellow human beings to be happy, to live fulfilled lives, to feel accepted and validated. But I also consider myself a Christian – one who tries to follow the teaching and example of Jesus Christ. One who believes that the same Jesus who I base my faith on, spoke of eternity – one with a real Heaven and a real Hell. He shared many times, both in word and by his actions, that as someone who would follow after him, it is incumbent on me to often be a nonconformist by this world’s standards and to share the reason for the hope that I have beyond it.
As I think about these two different self-evaluations and compelling interests, and in light of the recent SCOTUS ruling, Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner transformation and other debatable issues of our day, I wonder how can I possibly live both roles? How can I be supportive of my fellow sojourners on this earth and at the same time stay true to the faith which I try to base my life on? How can I narrow the gap that so often seems to exist between the things that feel like they should be right to me and the things that are right to God? How can I possibly reconcile this?