the beginning of a beautiful friendship

Facebook Memories has become one of my favorite things. I have a notoriously bad memory for regular life details (probably too many dead theologians and philosophers swimming around in my head), so help marking little milestones is most welcome. Just now it popped up something important that happened in my life three years ago today. I posted this picture and caption:

579950_4355042603694_572460830_nMy new favorite office. Where all coffee is pour over. Meeting a new friend in a bit too. Good day for newness. — with Brian Metzger at Jubala Village Coffee.”

As I sat savoring the aroma of excellent coffee, I was hopeful of meeting a new friend, but I was also more than a little trepidatious. I haven’t always found pastors to be trustworthy people. More than one pastor has hurt me badly over the years. More than one good friendship with a pastor has gone badly for me. But I’m the kind of person who trusts first and suffers the consequences later, so there I was, up for another go (though I’m less trusting of pastors than “lay” people at this point).

Three years later, I am deeply grateful for Brian and his friendship. I count it nothing short of God sending me (and a lot of people I care about) exactly who we needed in a critical moment. As I sat there waiting (it just occurred to me as I’m writing this that there is no more definitive evidence for how nervous I was than the fact that I was early and waiting, punctuality is not my speciality), I was also four months into serving as pastor of Vineyard North, I was still deeply concerned about the Raleigh Vineyard (a church I dearly love and always will), Ian was four months old and recovering from a surprise, serious illness, and I was still under dissertation stress. It’s been a strange transition becoming a pastor when I don’t trust them (yes, trusting myself has been an issue) and becoming friends with Brian has helped a lot. I still don’t trust pastors. But I trust Brian Metzger. He’s good people.

And while I’m mostly saying this because that picture popped up in my Facebook feed and got me thinking and emoting, let me also take a moment to say one more thing. Unlike Brian who listens to dozens of sermon podcasts each week, I listen to basically none, except on rare occasions. One of those has been his “Elephant in the Room” series which has been really good. I especially encourage you to give a listen to the one he preached on how the church relates to LGBT people. People have been after me to say I what I think on this for a while now and I have resisted because it took me a while to sort out my thoughts and it seems unusually hard to communicate and be heard well on this, especially when my thoughts are more complicated than the internet tends to care for. But I can say that what Brian preached is a good starting point for what I think too and for the posture I want Vineyard North to have as well. This is what the kingdom has to look like. This is what the Gospel must mean for it to be good news. You can listen to Brian’s sermon here.