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My Uncle

February 5, 2008

I had some time to talk with my Uncle this past week as we gathered for my Great Uncles funeral. It was one of the first times we had really talked in many years. I remember one time when I was in high school we ended up in a car together just the two of us. It was an hour and a half trip. My Uncle went to the Air Force Academy and flew A-10’s back in the day. He works for a defense contractor on projects he can’t talk about.

Anyway, at the time I was taking Physics but didn’t have a clue and was basically cheating so that I could pass the class because all of the math didn’t make any sense to me. Well we talked about Physics and I was just reminded about how little I knew or remembered. It was a very interesting trip.

So jump forward over twenty years and we had another chance to talk or at least connect on some various points. You see my uncle doesn’t think much of organized religion and has never went with his family “to church” as far as I know, which made the conversation interesting. My father once suggested that he go even though he didn’t believe for the sake of the family but he didn’t think that was right.

In our time talking he told me about the church he used to attend when he first went to the academy. He explained that it was going great guns growing to the point that they added a second service. The church was located downtown and land locked so they purchased land out on the edge of town and built a new facility.

He told me that since they moved they have never had the same numbers. They have never even come close to matching what they did in the heart of the city. He said he wasn’t surprised because the people in the suburbs already have their own religion, that is why they are in the suburbs.

The people in the heart of the city couldn’t come to the edges, it didn’t work for them. The church built a big building for big numbers that evaporated when they moved. My uncle did say that they had a school in the building with a nice gym, then he looked at me and said a high priced school at that.

His clarity was stark. He understood very well what many professing Christians fail to see. He knows better the problem with Christianity then many Christians and yet he won’t go to church, our key barometer of ones spiritual health.

But guess what I figured out, I don’t really know where he is because I have never asked. I just make assumptions because he doesn’t go to church and yet I have no idea what he really thinks.

I plan on calling him to say thanks because he helped me dig out of the snow so that I could get home. I also want to ask about his spiritual journey because he understands a great deal that many people who profess faith have no clue about.

In the end I have to deal with the fact that I struggle with thinking I know or understand where someone is without even asking and that isn’t good. I pray that I learned something last week about going and finding where others are before I attempt to explain where they may want to be.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2008 4:07 am

    hard habit to break. A fruit of the Religious Spirit.

  2. February 7, 2008 2:22 pm

    It’s interesting, isn’t it, the kinds of things we can learn by listening to others. Thanks for this post, Darin. I like that candid style.

  3. February 7, 2008 4:06 pm

    People think Jesus always asked questions because he was leading people somewhere with them. Perhaps we read way too much into “he himself knew what was in man” (Jn 2:25).

    Maybe he asked questions to get answers.

    Maybe we should start asking questions and listening to the answers instead of planning out our next question.

    You rock, Darin. We still haven’t found what we’re looking for, but we have an idea.

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