Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners


“The Man Who Gave the World His Number”

My hubby and fellow saint and sinner Paul Dover ran across this article from the BBC which brought tears to my eyes.  It’s about a guy named Jeff Ragsdale who, finding himself alone in the aftermath of a devastating break-up, put up fliers around New York City with his number and a simple message: If anyone wants to talk about anything, call me.  -Jeff, The Lonely Guy.

And, people called.  From New York city and all around the world.  Even from prison, with words of consolation and encouragement.

Soon, the influx of calls and texts had gone viral.

Strikingly, the one, unifying message in all these communications, Jeff recalls, was overwhelmingly one of forgiveness.

Jeff was so moved by the influx of support that he ended up writing a book about the experience, transcribing those many messages so that others might read them in their own forsaken times.

If Jeff’s story only reinforces the irrelevance of the church in speaking to people’s deepest needs for connection and belonging, it is also testimony to the way God works, connecting people in all sorts of mysteriously wonderful ways to bring about meaning and redemption in the senseless parts of our lives.

What might the church learn from Jeff’s story?  I suspect a lot of things.  That in a world in which people are more virtually connected than at any time in human history, people are deeply lonely and are aching for real connections.  That a posture of humility, vulnerability and listening is the beginning of that connection.   That the more invisible “church scattered” is more effective in serving God’s purposes today than the more visible “church gathered.”  That God works for God’s purposes in the world whether or not God’s people join God in that mission.

That in Jesus, God gives the world God’s number.

These are a few of my takeaways.  Maybe you’ll have more…

[My apologies for the placement of the wrong video earlier today because of some technical weirdness, which is also making it impossible to embed the Youtube version of the clip.  If you go to the above hyperlink, you should be able to watch the video, however!]

 

 



  • Kristina Robb-Dover

    Thanks for reading, Matt. Good to chat today. I appreciate your willingness to speak with me.

  • http://Thinke.org Matt Brown

    Wow, so good!

Previous Posts

Mental Health Break—Sprawl II
My favorite band these days is Arcade Fire, and I've featured the Canadian indie rock group before at this intersection between God and life. The lead singer studied Kirkegaard in college and their songs, like this one, are often subtle but brilliant critiques of the least aesthetically pleasing thi

posted 12:58:15pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

I Can't Breathe and the Widow's Cry—A Guest Post
Fellow saint and sinner Saskia de Vries is a neuroscientist in Seattle, Washington and has posted before at this intersection between God and life. She, like so many of us, is grappling with the tragedies of Eric Garner and Michael Brown and the larger systemic problem they seem to reveal—namely,

posted 2:10:09pm Dec. 11, 2014 | read full post »

Advent and Emptiness, Via Louis CK and the Prophet Isaiah
I've been making my way through the book of Isaiah. This morning's reading was from chapter 6, where the prophet Isaiah receives his call to go to the people of Israel and proclaim God's judgment of a people who have wandered away from God's purposes for them. Isaiah asks how long God's people will

posted 11:45:39am Dec. 09, 2014 | read full post »

Advent Resurrection
It may seem strange to pair Advent with resurrection. Usually resurrection comes more naturally at Easter. But at heart the labor pangs of all creation giving birth to the Christ child are a longing for a new start. Advent is a longing to be born again. Neuroscience now teaches that every minu

posted 2:47:38pm Dec. 04, 2014 | read full post »

Birthday Cred—Ecclesiastes Via David Foster Wallace
Today I'm still (barely) on the left side of 40, and bea

posted 11:01:03am Dec. 01, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.