Uber revelation

May 16th, 2016

I’ve had an unexpected revelation at the General Conference of The United Methodist Church. Psalm 139:14 reminds us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Although this verse is not new to me, I am surprised to see this verse come alive. I would love to say that I had this experience on the plenary floor at General Conference, but the back and forth between “point of order,” “call to question,” and “what are we voting on again” isn’t a call and response litany lending itself toward spirit-filled transformation.

It may seem simple or ridiculous, but I’ve seen Psalm 139 in the voice of my Uber drivers. Without a car I’ve been dependent on others for transportation, and thankfully the ride-sharing app, Uber, affordably and effectively meets this need. It’s like calling your friend who happens to be three minutes away to give you a ride, and out of thanks you send her $7 over your cell phone. Each Uber driver has been so unique. Over the last two days I’ve ridden with an Iranian Crossfit instructor, vegan cheese maker, college history professor, woman who refused to see Deadpool because of the language (apparently the violence is permissible), bank teller, first generation Pilipino, and a woman who got yelled at by a drunk guy who refused to get out of the road … and not one of them was United Methodist.

I think all of our delegates should take an Uber ride before voting on legislation, and before the vote we should ponder how our “Yea” or “Nay” will bring our Uber driver into communion with Christ. Why would we want to bring them to Christ anyway? In Nazareth Manifesto, Sam Wells writes:

An obvious answer might be, ‘Because those people are going to die, and maybe they’ll go to hell, or oblivion, or nothingness.’ But if one says, ‘And what is so great about going to heaven, then?’ what kind of answer do you get? Heaven is the state of being with God and being with one another and being with the renewed creation. That is to say, heaven is not simply a matter of continued being: what matters is that the continued being is being with. In other words, a heaven that is simply and only about overcoming mortality is an eternal life that is not worth having. It is not worth having because it leaves one alone forever. And being alone forever is not a description of heaven. It is a description of hell (Sam Wells, A Nazareth Manifesto: Being with God, 43).

Jesus saves us from isolation — isolation from God and one another. Could it be that our conferencing, meant to bring us together as peculiar Wesleyan people, has the potential to leave us isolated? It’s all about bringing people to Jesus who helps us fall in love with God and each other. I just pray there’s room for the vegan cheese maker, Iranian Crossfit instructor, bank teller . . .

Matt Rawle blogs at MattRawle.com. He is the author of The Salvation of Doctor WhoHollywood Jesus and The Faith of a Mockingbird.

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