I love working for Athletes in Action! I do. God has used this ministry, I happen to work for, to change my life and so many others’ lives I know. (And we have a cool logo.) So when I got an email this afternoon from a fellow staff member back in Xenia, OH (my home for nearly two years), I was so excited to see the very positive press we got from what might have been an “unlikely source”. A piece in the USA Today, entitled Evangelicals You Don’t Know, is a beautiful reflection of what I would hope and pray many of those who have a bent against “evangelicalism” would see from Christians engaging cultural in loving manners. Here is a portion, but please do read the whole article:
So what would this non-evangelical progressive religion writer from the People’s Republic of Portland find during his two days at AIA’s small-town Ohio home?
Hospitality. Curiosity. Respect. And surprising amounts of incipient change in the air.
My own stereotypes had me in an apprehensive state as I checked into AIA’s dormitory-style retreat center on the eve of my visit. Were these dedicated sports-world missionaries going to scold me for critiquing aspects of their movement in my previous writings? Were they going to give me the hard sell for the rightness of their philosophy and cause? Were they going to question the validity of my beliefs?
No, no and no. But they did patiently explain their mission and operation, tell me their personal coming-to-faith stories, describe their hopes for organizational change (particularly in the area of race), ask about my views and listen while I answered with the candor they made possible. My host, Ed Uszynski, AIA’s director of resource development, welcomed me to his home for dinner with his family and invited me to sit in on a massive meeting and diversity workshop for all of AIA’s field staff based in the USA.
Props to my dear friends back in Xenia! “Hospitality. Curiosity. Respect. And surprising amounts of incipient change in the air.” Love it! I loved reading about the author having dinner with my former director’s director, Ed, and his family. A place I spent many Monday nights watching 24, while arguing about whether Jack Bauer was indeed righteous and trustworthy. Good times. (Miss you Uszynskis and so many more of you back in Xenia!) May the Bride of Christ reflect Him with words of beauty like – “Hospitality. Curiosity. Respect. And surprising amounts of incipient change in the air.”