Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Big water fishing

This week my in-laws were here. Tom and I tried to go fishing on the river (the Mississippi) a few times. It didn't take long to realize that our gear was a bit light for such a big river. One time I casted out and once my line was all the way extended it came off the reel and kept going. Sploooosh! How embarassing to do something like that at all- much less in front of your father-in-law. Argh. On our walk home we went by our very own local tackle shop. We left our stuff outside the door and went inside.
"uh, yeah, we're trying to fish on the river."
"Well, we've got some close out catfish rods on close out."
After a while talking with the fishing guru there started outside. He followed us out.
Looking at our little bass fishing poles he said, "you guys are a little light for the river..."
Later Tom bought me two of the close out big water fishing poles. They're big and nice.
I still haven't caught the elusive catfish Old Man River has to offer.

This morning I got up around 7, grabbed my gear and some chicken livers, walked about a mile to the river and up the bank from town. It was a perfect 75 degrees. Kind of windy, but very nice after all this sizzling heat.
Several times I casted and my sinker went sailing way out in the river while my bait and hook landed not more than twenty feet away. Some times I casted and everything went flying off my line. Some times I got a bite but didn't know what to do with it. I guess I won't quit my day job to be a fisherman. Oh, I already quit my day job to be a student. Sitting there catching nothing got me thinking about my call to love and pursue the lost. I don't catch many. The thing is, I just keep showing up. In my line of business (youth ministry) and most(if not all) types of ministry, showing up is 90% of what's required. Jesus called it faithfulness. So, I will be faithfully feeding the poor, visiting the infirm, and caring for the fatherless. I can't do anything else. Where else can I go for the words of eternal life, except to the side of Christ, who is there pursuing the lost sheep?
Newbigin's The Gospel for a Pluralist Society is blowing my mind these days. It is beautiful how Newbigin looks for a place beyond the either\or syndrome of our times. He seeks a place beyond the debate on exclusivism/inclusivism/universalism to find something that takes God's grace and sin's gravity into account more fully than any of the three options. His stance of agnosticism when it comes to eternal destiny of the faithful of other religions helps a bit.
I'll keep reading. For now, it's back to fishing.

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