Somebody Worth Knowing: Billy

So I’ve got this thought that maybe I’ll spend some time focusing on people who I both know in the real world and feature on my blog roll.  When I start series of posts, my attention span usually gets me through about 3 posts.  I won’t promise I’ll make it all the way through.  But I will start.

For no reason that I can put into words, I think I’ll start with Billy.

Billy’s blog can be found in the blogroll to the right.  He doesn’t post all that often.  But he’s an incredible human being.

My wife met Billy when she stopped into the Christian book store that he used to manage.  She was looking for a church.  He pointed us toward Fellowship. 

Not only was Fellowship Church the place where I found Christ, Billy and his equally cool wife Colleen  were also the host of the first small group I ever attended.

Billy is a big dude.  Sometimes, when I look at him, I get this urge to slam into him, full tilt.  I have this sense that I could do my moshing-best to stagger him, and he wouldn’t budge.

There is something deeply symbolic in all this.  It’s more than just a physical fact that Billy is rooted, so deeply rooted and unshakeable.  To tweak a biblical anology, it’s like he’s this stem but Jesus is the root.

You know how there are times when you want to rationalize things in a certain direction?  You know how when you want things to go to the left, you have those friends who will steer you left, so you seek those people out?  Or if you wanted to go to the right, anyway, you go to those right-steering people, so that you can rationalize that you sought out counsel after the fact, when everything explodes?

Well, Billy, he’s like the opposite of all that.  I don’t want to say that Billy is moderate.  That makes him sound all beige and milque toast.  Even-keeled is a little better, but not much.  And to call him wise is so vague, but it’s accurate.  I think usually he’s not even aware of his wisdom,  which certainly surpasses his years.  (It’s not hard for Billy’s wisdom to surpass his years, though.  It turns out he’s only 12.)

(O.K., so the whole 12 thing is an exageration.  If you don’t know me I don’t want you to think I’m some sketchy old guy hanging out with 12 year olds.  My point was, chronologically, Billy is young.)

Having said all this does not even touch on Billy’s amazing genorousity.  And I can go on for paragraphs about how awesome it is to watch him develop Fellowship Church’s web campus.   And I could say so much about his great family.   Our families don’t spend nearly enough time together, and yet, inexplicably, they feel like flesh and blood relations.  And I Billy is somebody who can make South Park References and quote scripture with equal applomb, which is an impressive characteristic in anybody…


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

One thought on “Somebody Worth Knowing: Billy”

  1. So glad i didn’t hit “Mark all as read”when I saw that my rss reader was holding nearly 100 unread posts.
    You are a great friend Jeff. I’m so glad Kiley stopped in the store. And I’m even gladder that you decided to check out Fellowship with her. My life and the church are much richer for the time that you have poured into both.


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