Can I cook you an omelette?

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In some ways this is an extension to my blog post from earlier this week as it also is a result of a lunch I had with a fellow blogging friend (see Karl’s Questions).  I was given a not-so-gentle reminder however to write this post by something that happened whilst on my summer field placement at ECS’s Downtown Safe Haven yesterday.

I arrived at the house, as usual for a Saturday, just as some of the residents were getting up and thinking about breakfast.   One of the residents, Fred* was cooking himself an omelette.  I told him how good the mushrooms that were cooking smelled and in response he asked me THE question:

Can I cook you an omelette?

My immediate response was to decline.  I was there to help out, not the other way around.   But Fred would not take no for an answer.

I can easily add an extra egg and there will be plenty

He seemed pleased that he could do something for me and so finally I said yes.   The omelette arrived a few minutes later and I had the best breakfast in San Diego on Saturday morning.

As I reflected on what happened and my response, it struck me that my reason to be at the house was not necessarily to help, although that can be an important element of what I do there, the main reason is to build relationships with people at the house.   In light of this how could any relationship form and grow if it is always one way?  Just as much as I want to help and to give I need to learn to receive, and in that receiving be transformed by the relationship.

As Christian’s we often want to ‘do good’ but we have to be careful not to run the risk of becoming righteous as a result of our good deeds.  In our Baptismal covenant we promise to respect the dignity of every human being.  To do this we must be open to the Holy Spirit working through the person we are walking along side.

I am reminded our of Ecumenism and World Religions class last semester.  When discussing Ecumenism we noted how it can only truly be successful when all sides move into dialogue and be prepared to be changed and transformed by the conversation.  What comes out, must be different to what goes in, otherwise progress is not made.

Navigating our faith is a two lane highway with traffic in both directions, it is not a one way street.

Can I cook you an omelette?

Yes please, I would like that very much.

 

 

* Name changed.

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3 comments

  1. alextfe

    Richard, I could have easily chosen a different sentence which impressed me. However, this is the one which really caught my attention: “Just as much as I want to help and to give I need to learn to receive, and in that receiving be transformed by the relationship.” This is just the opposite of what I was taught in seminary: “it is we who give; it is others who receive.” That’s one teaching you won’t have to revise later on!

    Like

  2. roughrhodes

    Richard, Wonderful share and you set a great example in pulling scripture into your blog. I must spend more time with you ( how about another year?) in order to learn to be better at that! Keep writing, you have a gift my good friend.

    Like

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