Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Really Important People

A friend and fellow minister and I were discussing the tendency in New York (as anywhere, but especially here) to try to get to the right places to see the right people. Not much remarkable about that, except that it occurs in Christian settings -- there are actually "the right places to go to meet the right people" within the social milieu of Christian activities in Manhattan.


My dislike of such "networking" is a measure of self righteousness, I'm sure, but also mere self preservation -- on two counts. First, I forget that all the folks who attend such events actually need whatever is being provided to them, and don't need a minister of the Gospel trying to tell them about another new venture they can support. To be in that setting dampens the spark in one's spirit very quickly indeed. Second, when I have gone to hear an interesting speaker in such settings, I inevitably only meet people who serve in Christian ministries talking about people in influential positions in such a way that a person has ceased to be considered a person.

Further, there is a prevalent notion that a Christian minister should tell people to follow Jesus the teacher rather than proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Lord. This is especially strange approaching Christmas, when the infant King of Kings was worshipped and hallowed before he could even say "goo goo, gaa gaa" let alone "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." But that's a topic for another day. I leave the event with a handful of business cards and a diminished sense of the priority of seeking out those who are, to put it simply, spiritually lost.

A friend in college had a lovely habit of slamming his palm on the table when anyone dropped a name in conversation. It was even more effective when he would do it while standing up, drink in hand, slamming the imaginary table in front of him. Click on the title post for a lovely "Two Ronnies" sketch on name dropping.

Come to think of it, I think I name dropped the other night. Pray for me.