Archive for September, 2007

My Carefully Calibrated Difference

September 15, 2007

I recently finished Sara Miles’ excellent new book Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion. Sara chronicles her surprising mid-life transformation from atheist to Christian and her calling to establish a food pantry in one of San Francisco’s most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Passionately committed to the unconditional welcome of Jesus’ Table, Sara and her food pantry volunteers embrace schizophrenics, drug addicts, little children, ex-cons, and sweet old ladies alike. One particular section of the book has really stuck with me:

So I’d sit down next to people and let them talk or cry; I’d listen and put my hands on them; at some point, I’d pray aloud, without really knowing where the words were coming from. It felt homey, not mysterious. But it usually made me cry too…

If my carefully calibrated difference from others wasn’t going to be the vitally important thing about me, then my identity was going to be bound up with all kinds of other people at their most vulnerable and unattractive…

It was my own weakness, my own confusion and hunger; it was everything I couldn’t be sophisticated and together about. Of course I was going to weep, and pray, with her.

(more…)

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