So, I had my divinity school orientation on Friday. Early on, they decide to go around the room and have us all introduce ourselves. Name, denomination, and the relationship your denomination has with Christ. (No jokes on the last, it's just too freakin' easy.)
I am the first person to speak, and it turns out, the last person to describe my religion. Everyone else just names it -- Baptist. AME. Non-denominational.
Well, even though I am not normally a fan of the elevator speech, here it was needed, and glad I was to have one. Hi I'm LE I'm sure I represent the most liberal denomination here I'm Unitarian Universalist and we believe in encouraging people to find their own path and live by the highest ethical standards. take a breath. Whew. (Do I think this is the most eloquent elevator speech? Of course not. But you tailor your message to the audience.)
So, then, the fellow on my left introduces himself. Hi I'm Joe Blow and The Baptist Fathers Would Be Shocked to See Me Sitting Next to a Unitarian.
No, really, that's what he said. It wasn't anything I didn't expect, so I inwardly just rolled my eyes.
But I had it all wrong.
He and I talked afterwards. He had been going to a very conservative school and didn't like it. "They prayed all the time! They'd start a class with a prayer for George Bush!" I squelched the impulse to remark that if anyone needed praying for, it was Bush. I instead commiserated -- I don't like it when any side mixes politics and religion.
We chatted a bit more and then he said ... "The fact that I wound up sitting right next to you. I think it's a sign from God. I do."
He didn't elaborate. He seemed pleased with the sign, though, not running and screaming. So maybe, somehow, my presence told him that he was right where he should be.