Monday, January 23, 2012

the story of Dave the Just and the Am-Vet Thrift Store Theophany (with stunning non-Photoshopped evidence)

See the shining Shekinah lights in this photo above? 

 Me, too...that's why I took it.  I mean, how do you encounter a theophany and not snap a pic to tell and show?

Okay, kidding, sort of.

Sometimes shekinah-moments are more subtle  (just hanging out eating a banana..ha, great Larry Randolph line) than that.

Actually when I snapped the pic, I  didn't even notice the shining

I think it was more a product of me grabbing a photo before anyone thought I was a stalker, and thus before I worried about how the focus and light would look.

Then I sent it to Facebook mobile to remind me to upload it here.  But on a  whim,  I added the comment:

 "story behind this pic to follow..but feel free to make one up until i post it ."

I love the answer i got already:

Dick Grady Walk to the light.................

Lol..that ATM does look beckoning..but it's a siren..."Welcome to the Machine.."
But that's another post....

The backstory?

It's told in a post several years back, excerpted below.

But suffice to say that the spot I took the pic on  is hallowed and holy ground.
Jesus met me there.
In the  form fom of a wonderful woman whose name I don't even know.
And that's the point, as you'll see.

We can all locate in our memory, history, and actual geography, places where our life changed unexpectedly.  Where were you on 9/11?   When someone you loved said "I do"

...or "I'm leaving.."

This serendipitous shake-up call began with two words which I hardly hear anymore, as I prefer
to be called "Dave" and not by any title that I may or may not be...well, entitled to (Which is funny, because sometimes when I tell our congregation, or classes and retreats I teach that I am "just Dave," they turn that into a title: "Just (as in "Righteous" Dave."(:

At least it's not "Dave the Just."

On to the two words, and the source of the shekinah at the  Shields Avenue Am-Vets Thrift Store

I should call it Beth-El and build an altar there.

Instead I simply snapped a photo on my cell phone.

Same thing.

Not long ago, a woman...obviously from a previous (and much larger) church I pastored... came up to me in a store, "Hey, Pastor Dave! Long time, no see! Your sermons absolutely changed my life!" I was thrilled and honored; but I didn't have the heart to tell her the whole truth: Not only did I have no idea of who she was; she had no inkling that I would not know. We both knew we had never had a face-to-face conversation; that was not the issue. But in a larger church (too large for the senior pastor to know everyone's name), there is the "Johnny Carson" syndrome at work. Carson was swamped by people whenever he went out in public who called him by first name; after all he was in their bedroom every night (via "The Tonight Show"). The false intimacy that dogs media stars can be even more damaging in the church context. I could tell the woman would be crushed if I admitted I had no idea who she was...most likely a quiet there-every-Sunday "22nd pew" saint; but I had no memory of ever seeing her. The default church culture automatically attributes omniscience to the senior pastor (He or she will not only know my name, but know when/where I am in the hospital, etc.) . Of course this is impossible with thousands, even hundreds of attenders; but as skewed and doomed as this expectation is, it is originally based on a basic biblical truth: shepherds are supposed to know their sheep; even call them by name. Jesus flatly calls any other kind a thief. - Full article here
I can no longer imagine myself pastoring a church larger than...well, the number of names and peeps/sheeps I can truly know.  I am glad when other pastors are called to shepherd larger flocks (and they know the secret is to become a "rancher" and to utilize "undershpherds").

So today and what may well be the tenth anniversary of that thrift store conversation..

I stopped on the way home to feed my addiction (used books, of course!  Did you think I shop for used underwear?).

So thanks to the nameless (to me) vets who benefited from my purchase.
Thanks to the nameless (to my shame) wonderful woman who felt compelled to thank me that day.

Thanks to her I stand on holy ground  which can even include the 22nd pew) at the shiny shekinah thrift store on Shields.

Oh, here is today's stash below, but I took home something far more valuable:

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