I read from the Shane Claiborne book "Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers" this morning. It was one of the first times in the last few weeks that I have felt like my search for faith had found the right leader. The right guide. Reading Rick Warren, I felt there was too much certainty about God. Reading Thomas Merton, I felt put off by the degree to which he identified passion and desire with selfishness. Reading my passages of the Men's evangelical Bible, I felt that I was just retreading territory I'd already visited before. Claiborne's book unlike any of the others emphasizes the things that used to really bring to me close to God in everyday life: attempting to help people, to be present with people in need, to see injustice and how we can work against it, to see isolation and try to heal it.
Here in Greenpoint, I wake up every morning and see these old Polish men with dirty wrinkled faces, sounding drunk and standing in a stupor next to the corner liquor store. One yesterday had his nose cut open, with blood caked from his eyebrows down to his lips. I stopped momentarily and said, "Are you alright?" But there was little I could do-I didn't know him. I didn't even speak his language. That to me is tragic.
Sometimes I feel like God overdid it in that story in Genesis where he punishes us for building the godless tower into the skies by confusing all our languages. It makes showing his compassion so much more difficult to our neighbor. Yet one more sign of my growing conviction that God does not always act rationally or for the best of people, if indeed he does exist. But spirit-spirit I believe in, and if we can get in our spirit, THAT does usually have some logic to it, and usually means the best for us.