Friday, March 17, 2006


I've spent the past couple of days in an empty apartment in the center of an empty college town. I've left for errands, but mostly I've just wandered back and forth between this computer, the chairs occupying this room, and the couch in front of the television.

I sit in silence reading about the Azusa Street Revival and the birth of global Pentecostalism. I come to a stopping point, place the bookmark (which is actually the receipt from the purchase of the book) into the crease, close it, place it on my lap and inhale a deep breath. I consider my brushes with the many strains of strange (to me) churches and practices and beliefs. I wonder how they have shaped in ways good and not so good. I revisit in my mind the time I spent at a church that always thought I was good but just hadn't quite arrived to where I should be because I was a novice in "True Spirituality." I haven't thought these thoughts in years. They come and go. I obsess over them for months at a time then convince myself I'm over it until a year or two later when a book comes across my eyes or a conversation darkens my door. My life has been a reaction to this.

Then I'm stunned into the realization that my hand is still reacting to the impulse caused by my contemplations. The impulse to reach into my pocket for my cell phone to call Kyle and tell him, hey, next time we hang out remind me to tell you about...

Then I take another deep breath. Not the "I'm enjoying life, breathe and breathe well" type breaths, but rather the "I guess this is when I should cry, but I'm just getting too tired for it" breaths.

Yesterday I watched the movie Sideways. I enjoyed it, thought probably not as much as others would have liked me to. The thing about it that moved me was how Jack, the character played by Thomas Hayden Church, despite his lack of interest in the nuances of wine loved his friend Miles, played by Paul Giamatti, so much that he was willing to suffer gladly Mile's love affair with everything wine-related. Yet it was so much more than suffering gladly. Jack actually slowly, over time, developed a novice's appreciation for the fermented nectar because of his friends obsession. I would never be Miles, but it was something.

This was one of Kyle's greatest gifts: He never lost his genuine curiosity about people and life and ideas that fall to the wayside for so many of us the farther away from childhood we get. One of his favorite things to say was how at UBC we are not a people who "posture holiness." And for Kyle it could be said by anyone who was ever engaged in a conversation with him is that he could never posture curiosity. He was curious.

Everyone was always interested in Kyle because he always made you feel interesting. In front of him you always felt special, like you were a real person. Unlike many leaders who see you as a cog in the machine of their organization, Kyle saw you as a friend with a world of life to be mined and enjoyed.

I pick up the book and continue reading.
And breathe.


Erin Davis Lance said...

That is so true of Kyle. One of my favorite things was always the commissioning service at UBC when, no matter where you felt God leading you in your life, Kyle would bless you fully in all your endeavors. From pastor to artist to garbage collector, all of these were things Kyle would love you for being, because inside of you he could see the fire that God had lit in your soul. The same fire God lit inside Kyle that called him to pastor. One of many, many things I love about Kyle. He inspired us to embrace our callings whole-heartedly, because he embraced us the same way.

Myles said...

geez, i love that movie. you're a good man, craig, and God loves you anyway.