Wally Plock

Good morning from central New York.  Mike thank you for your thoughts.  I just watched Mr. McLaren’s video.  You have crystalized some of his key ideas. I wanted to get some initial thoughts down and then will go back and reflect on your reflections at a later time.  Being part of a Christian community that shares my story, beliefs, culture has been very helpful for me.  When Mr. McClaren described the importance of belonging to such a community, it resonated with me.  As a 17 year old lost/selfish kid who had a born again experience grounded me and focused me in a way that none of my pleasure seeking things did. That I was loved by God and not condemned was now a message that I could live by as it helped me become a much better me.  I found places in college (Intervarsity Fellowship and the college Catholic community) where  I fit in and was welcomed for who I was even in my imperfections.  Inviting people to join that was encouraged in the community, though at times this made me feel uncomfortable.  I became a pastor/chaplain to kids in detention which was a perfect mix of trying to help kids and maybe influence them towards the same faith that helped me.  I also tried to carry a tolerance for those of different faiths.  I hope my memory serves me that my prayers for them were self discovery of this amazing love that God has.  Just one hungry man who has found bread–trying to show/invite other hungry people where to find it.  Love being the key.  As Mr. McClaren said, the biblical stories took on new meaning for him.  The good Samaritan, the lost sheep and other parables became center for me.  Acceptance and service that all flowed from my being forgiven by the crucified and resurrected Christ.  This was all affirmed in my church as I lived and taught it as an associate/youth pastor.  But long story short, when I entered the chaplaincy world, the small piece of acceptance of others who were different, on the fringe or over the fence grew alongside my desire to love people in Jesus name.  Hopefully somehow through my non-anxious/kind presence they would feel the love of God which I sometimes now call mystery.  Mr. McClaren expressed it well when he described being in the middle between his son and father.  More thoughts later.