Over at the Zac's Place blog, Sean writes this:
"... many church communities tend to be like a boiled egg or a fried egg on toast, where the edges are clearly defined - there's a yellow bit, a white bit - you can see the line that separates them and another edge onto the toast. It's safe, presentable and neat. Zac's however is most definitely more like scrambled egg on toast. There's yellow bits and white bits all mashed in together, it's cooked, it tastes good and it nourishes, but the edge of anything, even the toast and plate is almost impossible to find."
At Zac's last night, and afterwards, there was an idea fizzing round my head but I couldn't quite grab it to put substance to it. I'm not sure even now if it's properly formulated but I think the egg analogy is helping.
We're studying the gospel of John and last night we read the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. Jews hated Samaritans and would have nothing to do with them yet Jesus went out of his way to meet one. He shocked her because he asked her for a drink of water. Now for a Jew to drink from the same cup as a Samaritan would have rendered him unclean and the woman knew that and said as much. The conversation goes on until the woman realises that this is someone special. She goes and tells other Samaritans who ask Jesus to stay with them and teach them. Which he does.
'What's the point of this story?' Sean asked.
'To show that it's for everyone, that no-one's better than anyone else.' The speaker, a young lad of about 22 maybe, hasn't been to Zac's before. I talk to him later and he says he only really came for the tea and food but that he's tried to read the Bible before and he couldn't understand it. Yet it seems to me that he's understood it better than some so-called religious people who discriminate on grounds that someone or something doesn't fit in with their theology.
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And now I can't decide whether I should write this next bit or not. Ho hum. Oh well. You can only think the worse of me for it.
This young lad said he'd like a Bible he could understand. Someone showed him a copy of The Street Bible. He looked at it and then at the price and said he couldn't afford £9.99. I privately resolved to buy one and take it for him next week (if he's there). Later he said he wanted to phone one of the prison chaplains (he's only just released) but he didn't have the money or know the number. I suggested he talk to Sean who'd be able to put him in touch with the right people.
And now there's this bit of me that thinks he didn't really want a Bible but was hoping a soft-touch would give him some money. Or the money for a phone call plus a little extra. (I was tempted but that's not the way at Zac's.)
But there's another bit of me that thinks even if that were the case - and I don't know if it were - there was still the hope that something was stirring his soul, some connection was being made that was real and powerful. That he was being splashed by the living water.