The Year of Chuck

The Year of Chuck January 3, 2006

I checked my archived emails. It was January 3, 2005 that I received an email containing the following text:

Hello Rev. Butler

I work in the office building across 8th Street from your church. My office moved here in June. I’ve obviously noticed the construction activity on your building. Being on the 8th floor, I get a fantastic view of the work being done on the spire. I also noticed all the Camp Fraser activity this summer. My curiosity got me onto your website and I’d like to take you up on your offer to meet you and find out more about Calvary. How about giving me a call sometime when you’re about to make a Starbuck’s visit and wouldn’t mind some company?

I’m always game to meet new people, and I love coffee, so that all sounded good to me. Little did I know that one conversation over coffee would turn into a year of standing on the sidelines watching the incredible work of God’s Spirit transforming a human life.

I am quite sure that Chuck would love to give anyone who is interested the details of his adventure (email me and I’ll pass your comments along). To summarize, what started over a cup of coffee has grown into Chuck’s baptism on November 20th and an exploration of faith that involves church membership and more (things like playing the banjo at Thomas House last month).

Sound like just another day at church to you? Not me. Don’t get me wrong. I believe that God can change people’s lives. I just don’t always go around expecting it to happen right in front of my eyes. (These are my issues–I know, I know I am working on them . . . .) See, I spent too many years listening to preachers call for one more verse of “Just As I Am” and hoping beyond hope that someone, anyone, would go down the aisle so we could all get to lunch.

So, tagging along over this year while Chuck has asked really hard questions about life and faith and God and community and stepped out to explore some of the answers has been life-changing for all of us at Calvary–not just Chuck. Isn’t that one of the greatest gifts of the community of faith?

A lot has changed for Chuck in this past year. For one, he no longer calls me Rev. Butler (those days of automatic respect are long gone, I’m afraid). More than that, I think he’s gained a whole new perspective of life, one seen through the lens of faith.

For those of us along for the ride, Chuck, you’ve reminded us why we wanted to be followers of Christ in the first place. Thanks for everything you bring to our community. We’re looking forward to another year full of difficult faith questions and cheery banjo tunes.

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