Last Thursday, I had the chance to sit down and chill for a couple hours with Derek Webb. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of Derek Webb, probably one of my favorite musicians. I’m a lyric guy and Webb’s lyrics on his last few albums have resonated with my heart and faith more then any other (and the music isn’t bad either).
My wife and I went to the concert Thursday evening, ran into a couple from our church there, and then (thanks to the wives smooth talking) wound up eating chips & salsa and onions rings at the Kitty Kat Club with Derek Webb after the show. We talked about life, kids, and our ironically red, white and blue chips. All in all, it was just a great time getting to know some new friends.
It reminded me of a brief visit I took to The Simple Way several years back. Many people know of Shane Claiborne and The Simple Way nowadays, since Irresistible Revolution came out. Before that, I’d read about Claiborne and the wall street money drop and had connected with him when he visited our college. And I wanted to go see what this magical community they had going on out there in Philly.
My brother and I went for a quick visit and Shane showed us around the place, took us on the roof where they were growing plants in old appliances, in the basement where they gathered clothes to give away and the modest bedrooms where 5 people where living. What quickly set in though, was that it was not magical at all. It was a handful of people, normal people, just trying to live out their faith. I came home from the trip eager to build that sort of sharing and community into our own lives. And we did.
It took only a few minutes of conversation to realize Derek is just a normal person with a normal life too. Not every line that comes out of his mouth is “I’m trading comfort for human life and that’s not just murder it’s suicide.” He tweets, hangs out with his kids, plays music, and says controversial things sometimes. And a couple hours hanging out moved him out of the celebrity category (which is a good thing).
I was reminded of two things. One, I don’t need to try and say something controversial or brilliant all the time. As the audience on this blog grows, I feel a growing pressure to impress, but I don’t need to. It’s okay to be normal. Two, celebrity or not, we’re all on a journey. I don’t have any fantasies of becoming BFF with Derek Webb, but I am reminded that we daily have the opportunity to enter into others lives and I’m inspired to find others nearby to walk along that journey with.
“My friend did you know you are my brother”