There is a ghetto I refuse to live in. In this ghetto everyone talks the same dialect; everyone stays within the tight circle of what they've always known; ghetto-dwellers fear and suspect outsiders; the ghetto remains blind to the myriad of its own problems because "we''re used to them" and "it could be worse"; and in the ghetto the grandest hope is most often just to survive.
The ghetto I refuse to live in? The religious ghetto. The churchiness ghetto.
In a religious/church ghetto there's a special "insider" language that only participants understand (and its kind of weird), there's a small (and always shrinking) radius of relationships and experiences that are allowed, there's a fear and suspicion about most "outsiders" and their ways, there's a blindness to the problems within the religious ghetto itself and in the religious ghetto, vision gets so small that all we hope for is to just survive this life.
That is living way below the line of authentic faith in Jesus.
I fight the religious ghetto in me by looking for opportunities to interact outside the ghetto. Lance H. gave me one of the those opportunities recently. He invited me to a gathering for actors, directors and theater people who will be doing open readings and the like in a studio space. Just about everybody there will be theater people and there will most likely be zero "religious ghetto" people. Invites like this are pure gold.
I'm going to do my best not to be a pastor-dork at this gathering. I hope to be just a Jesus-follower who likes to experience new things and hopes to make meaningful contributions to the conversation. My friend Steve S. has been coaching me for years to be a little more at home in the theater community. He's a Christian who does his life in the theater world. He's one of the people who helps me see life from outside the religious ghetto. People like that are incredibly valuable guides.
So thanks Lance for getting me out of the ghetto by inviting me to "The Game of Contact". I promise not to leave a Chick tract on my seat when I leave and I will avoid preaching any of my sermons. I do hope to speak honestly about my observations on human nature, contribute to the conversation of the evening and appreciate the good art and poetry of William Carlos Williams.