Wednesday, May 1, 2013
While working on an essay at a local coffee shop, someone walked up to me and asked about that sticker. He had seen it before on a car and wanted to get one for himself. I couldn't help him in that respect but in our two minutes of interaction, we connected in our love of weird and love of church.
This man was wearing a Berkeley Farm Collective tank top and looking very much like the stereotypical hippie. In this Berkeley community, I often feel a great disconnect between what I believe or do and what the people that live in my neighborhood or the people that frequent the coffee shop I work at. This city of Berkeley holds so much love and community but not often in the context of church or religion. We have fresh markets, quirky little cafes, neighborhood gardens, co-ops, and plenty of bike culture.
In the scheme of US culture, Berkeley is weird. The Bay Area is weird; it's the place where composting is city-wide affair (it still surprises me that I could put a steak in our compost bin and it would travel along with the banana peels to be turned into fertilizer). But the Bay Area is infamous more for it's political dialogues than religious or spiritual practices.
And here I am, embracing the weirdness of Berkeley yet putting the people of Berkeley in a box. Because I assumed that the man coming up to talk to me was not interested in my KEEP CHURCH WEIRD sticker but my SAVE THE POUDRE sticker (that's a long explanation but it's a Fort Collins environmental thing). But weird means no boundaries; weird means out of the norm. Berkeley has constantly gone against the cultural norms politically and will continue to defy norms when it comes to spirituality and religion.
As this man grabbed his coffee and headed out the door, he called to me, saying, "Stay weird!" He has no idea how wonderful it was to hear those words.
I am here in Berkeley to be weird; I am here in seminary to be weird. I will not fit into boundaries and I will open closed doors. I will call for change where I see pain and suffering and I will be that weird one refusing to be quiet. Thanks, man in the coffee shop, for reminding me that there is no boundaries for who the people of Berkeley are and supporting me in my journey of weirdness.
And now back to essay writing...
Posted by PLTS at 4:39 PM