"Thank you for sharing this video clip," said a Simple Country Girl. "It's very timely, as I am going though a murky bit and wondering if I ‘need’ to be out here in cyberspace. Does anyone else here at THC wonder the same?”
Brock Henning is a good one to ask:
The Twitter message popped on my screen.
"Are you and I really neighbors?" it read.
I glanced at his profile, noting the location of Golden, Colorado. Hmm. That's where I live. Before I could reply, an email from Facebook lit up my inbox.
"Brock...I live in Golden. You too?"
One month earlier, he had added a comment to one of my October blog posts, The Curl. He said the post was being highlighted in The High Calling online community's October edition of "Around the Network." Quite the honor given that The High Calling is among the top 50 Church blog sites on the Internet (as ranked by the "Top 100 Church Blogs" at churchrelevance.com, Sept 2010).
It gets better.
I had been praying for at least five specific things. (Hint: When you talk to God, be specific.) I had asked for...
1. A church where our family felt connected, through both worship and solid teaching. Preferably close to home.
2. A small group extension of the larger church, to develop relationships, a family to share life with.
3. At a minimum, one or two people out of that small group who are of like minds, even with our sense of humor, to encourage, build each other up, share laughs together, etc.
(This is where it gets interesting. Remember, be specific!)
4. A local writer or group of inspirational writers sharing the same passion for putting words on the page, who understands that a writer's work is not a hobby, but a lifelong and life-changing endeavor.
5. Another guy who lives nearby and loves the outdoors, camping, hiking, and fishing. And not just fishing in general--fly fishing.
That's five detailed conversation topics I had with God over several months.
Enter David Rupert. Yep, that's him, the guy who Twittered, Facebooked, and honored me with the October blog post highlight. David is a contributing editor for The High Calling, and he's also a full-time paid writer by day. Coincidence? Okay, maybe it's not a big deal. These days, people connect online all the time, and because I frequent faith-based blogs, I interact with other inspirational writers almost daily. That's all believable, so let's continue.
David introduced my family to Red Rocks Community Church here in Golden, just minutes from our home. We connected immediately with the church--worship that penetrated our hearts and teaching that stirred our souls. Whoa, hold on. Did you catch it? He lives in the same town. Coincidence? Maybe so. We've all had that "small world" moment, right? It happens all the time. But don't stop here.
David also invited us to join his Red Rocks small group family, and without a doubt, we share a similar sense of humor. But again, since most churches encourage small group interaction, maybe there is nothing unique about any of this. Maybe it's just coincidence. Still think so? Let's up the torque.
David grew up in Nevada. He's a mountain man through and through. He hikes, he camps, he fishes. And he's not just a fisherman--he's a fly fisherman. Is the needle in the red yet? Are we approaching the weirdness factor? No? Then read on.
After a few exchanges of Facebook messages and swapping street addresses, David and I realized that we live less than one mile from each other. I've driven near his house almost every day for four and a half years. We have friends who live just three doors down from him. And just for kicks I'll toss this in: we're both veterans of the U.S. Air Force.
Out of the millions of online blogging communities, bloggers, and blog visitors, it was by slim chance that I happened upon The High Calling website. It was by slim chance that David Rupert read a story on my own blog. It's by a slimmer chance that we live in the same town, and it's flippin' ridiculous that we live down the street from each other. Or is it?
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." -- Romans 8:28 (NIV)
Do we need to be here?
Well, we certainly want to be here. We want The High Calling to be a place where people connect and interact about faith, work and God. We want to see God at work among us as we tell stories, laugh, cry, think, and learn together about how to live out our Christian faith.
And every once in a while it happens in person, like it did for Brock and David...and for Charity and me.
What about you? Do you wonder sometimes if you need to be here? Or have unexpectedly close online connections convinced you of the value of being here? Did you, too, discover that one of your cyber-friends lives nearby?
We'd love to hear about it! Drop links to your cyber-life/real-life stories in the comments below. In fact, let’s up the torque: let’s make this a contest—best story wins the book What Good Is God?: In Search of a Faith That Matters, by Philip Yancey. We’ll announce the winner Wednesday, Jan. 5.
Main Image by Jesslee Cuizon, used with permission via Flickr. Photo of Brock and David provided by Brock Henning. Post by Ann Kroeker, author of Not So Fast: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families.