Thursday, August 08, 2002

Ben's Story

Last night I caught a five hour flight from Washington DC to the city of my sojourn, Las Vegas. It wrapped up an 8 day church planting trip. I would like to retell the story of that flight tonight. I will tell it as a dialogue, but i will also let you see my thoughts, which will be in [brackets]

I was assigned 19 C.

[Good. An aisle seat.]

I sat down and tried not to talk to the girls in the seats next to me.

[I should talk to them. Its the nice thing to do.]



"Going to Vegas for fun?"

Girls-"Yeah. You?"

[I've had this conversation about a thousand times.]

"I'm going home."

Girls-"Why were you in Washington?"

[I wasnt.]

"Layover. I was in Boston."

Girls-"Business or pleasure?"

[Why did I start this conversation?]

"Both, I guess." [What's the difference, really?]

Girls-"Would you mind moving to the seat behind you so that my friend can see the movie?"


"No, not at all."

Girls-"Thanks, we'll buy you a drink."

[That's not necessary. Anything to serve you guys.]

"Thanks. I'll take a rum and coke."

Now I'm in 20 C.

[At least no one is in the middle seat. Just some kid in the window who looks like he doesn't want to talk.]

"Tonight's feature film is Spiderman starring Tobey Mc..."

[Seen it twice. Kinda cheesy. Better than reading some boring theology book.]

Movie ends some 2 hours later.

[Still cheesy. I should have read my theology book.]

I start up my laptop to read one of my original stories.

[I am a terrible writer. I write like someone who thinks they can write, but really can't]

Five minutes later.

[Did I write that? I'm freakin brilliant.]

I close up the computer and put it away. The kid next to me speaks.

Kid-"You a awtyer?"

{Did he say lawyer?}


Kid-"No. I said, are you an author?"

[Oh. I don't know. I never thought of it like that.]

"An amateur one I guess."

Kid-"So you havent been published?"

[Does "Christian Standard" count?]

"Kind of, I guess. I've had a few essays published.

[Feels like a lie, but its not.]

Kid-"I just spent six months in Brazil writing a screenplay."

[This is going to be a long story. We have another hour, what the hell?]

"Brazil, huh?"

Kid-"Yeah. But now Im going to Vegas to F--- around. Get f---ed up and sh--. Where are you staying?"

[Probably not a Baptist.]

"I live there."

[Dont ask what i do.]

Kid-"What the f--- do you do in Las Vegas."

[I f---ing plant churches.]

"I start new churches."

Kid-"No sh--."

[No sh--.]

"No sh--."

[I'm too tired to start a church with this guy tonight, God. Let me go back to my r&c and we'll call it a missionary journey. I'm all yours tomorrow.]

Kid-"How do you do that?"

[Never mind, God. I'm on the clock for one more hour.]

"We just start simple communities...people like you and your friends. We meet in people's homes, coffee shops, bars..."

Kid-"No sh--?"

[This is going to a funny story. I should blog it.]

"No sh--. We've seen about 30 churches start in Vegas and more around the nation.'

Kid-"You've built 30 church buildings?"

[Do you listen? You're drinking apple juice. If the one who should be a little confused.]

"No, we mostly meet in homes."

Kid-"Do they pay you a fee?"

[No, but there's an idea...]

"No, they just give whatever they want and we use the money to pay for trips like this and for people like me to start new churches."

Kid-"Dont take this the wrong way, but are you a cult?"

[If we were I would say no.]

No. We believe the Bible, same orthodox [Let's see if he knows any big words.] beliefs as other Christians. You know, God, Jesus, all that. A lot of people in our churches havent been to church before."

Kid-"That's me. I dont know anything about Christianity. So you believe in heaven and hell?"

[Yes, but probably not what you are thinking right now.]


Kid-"Do you think God created the world in seven days?"

[That's your second ever spiritual question? I have no idea.]

"I think that's at least what God wants us to believe."

Kid-"I'm moving to NYC. Some of my friends there could use a church like this. Maybe we could exchange numbers and you could visit us on your next trip."

[Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner. A real live person of peace. Thanks, God. I love this stuff. Its a ton more fun than the four spiritual laws.]

"No sh--?"

He laughs. We exchage info. He invites me for drinks at Balleys. I decide to go home and see my first church, my family.

kid-"I'll email you when i get to New York."

[I'll email you tomorrow.]

"Cool, it was good to meet you, Ben. Be good tonight. Call me if you get too messed up."

He laughs: "I will, bro."

Please pray for Ben.

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