Or it could be Bri.  Or Bree.  I assume it’s spelled like the cheese, but who knows, really?  All I know is that I’ve been seeing this young lady once a week for the last six months.  Every Sunday almost without exception, as the sun is just creeping up over the mountains.  

She has the Sunday morning shift at the coffee shop I go to on Sunday mornings to grab a bagel and tea before heading to the office for last minute sermon touch ups (or toss outs) and other miscellaneous last minute work.  She knows to expect me around 6:45 AM or so, and generally has my tea started and a bagel set aside ready to toast.  We make small talk about the previous week’s events.  She has family up in Oregon.  I pay and leave.  Our exchanges last about five minutes at the most.
At some point or another, months ago, she asked about what church I worked at, but by this point my collar is background noise.  The routine is set.  She knows I’m not going to whip out a Bible to smack her with.  She seems to have the generic sort of theology that is more and more popular these days.  Nothing specific that might either cause offense or require submission.  The generic sort of idea that the universe has some sort of benevolent personality that can be implored to provide her with help when she needs it.  Otherwise, she takes care of herself, works at the coffee shop and Trader Joe’s to make ends meet, and probably doesn’t ask or expect a lot of people and situations.
A colleague shared an article on Facebook this morning about atheism as a luxury of the self-sufficient.  If we have things under control, then we don’t see a need for something or someone larger than ourselves.  Certainly we aren’t willing to trade our autonomy for the expectations of a Higher Power.  Self-sufficiency is not just a matter for the wealthy, though.  Whether a multi-millionaire or hustling two jobs to make ends meet, we all are desperate to feel capable, to feel as though things are under control, predictable.  I recognize that drive in myself.  Brie seems to respond to that drive in her own way.  
I haven’t found a compelling way to share the Gospel yet.  I hope that I represent my collar well, and perhaps that’s the only step required of me.  But I prayed this morning as I drove away, that if there is a larger role for me to play in this young woman’s spiritual awakening, that the Lord would clue me in to it.  I’m grateful for a smiling face and my bagel and tea, but there’s so much more to be exchanged, I just don’t know the best way to do it yet.  In the meantime, I’ll pray, and try to be a good customer.  And remember that she and I are far more similar than we are different.  My trust in Christ is not my own doing, because I’m so clever or wise or mature or good.  It is a gift.  A gift that is best shared.  

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