Flower [image: kobylib]

A few years ago when my wife was working at SF Network Ministries in the Tenderloin, I went to meet her for lunch.  I just happened to have our dog with me and as I was getting into my car, I had the following interaction with a woman on the street.  Keep in  mind that there was no indication of any ill-intent by her appearance or the manner in which she engaged in this conversation . . . at least that is what I keep telling myself.

Woman: "Excuse me sir?"
Me: "Yes?"
Woman: "Is that your dog?"
Me: "Yes."
Woman: "She is very cute."
Me: "Thanks."
Woman: "Can I ask you a quick question?"
Me: "Sure, what's up?"
Woman: with a decidedly different look in her eye, "Um, do you want me to ask you in your car?"
Me: with a decidedly "Did you just move to the big city, son?" look on my face "oh . . . no thanks."

Yes, funny now that I look back on the incident, and minus the larger issues of prostitution and trafficking that happens in the Tenderloin, it does raise raise an issue for me: just where is that line between being shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves as we hard in Scripture?  Now I had never seen myself as a "La la la la , nothing ever bad happens in the world and we can trust everyone" kind of person, but I do tend to give folks the benefit of the doubt.  Unless you are clearly not all together and you may pose some threat to me, my family and/or those around you, I am most of the time able and willing to shake your hand, ask your name and look you in the eye.

But I must admit there are times when the cynical side gets to me.  A few days ago, I found myself walking down the street in the Excelsior district and this woman stopped me and asked if I wore men's cologne.  the first thing that I thought to myself was, "Hmmm . . . men's cologne, I wonder if that is the new street lingo for drugs or sex?"

This lead me to Tweet my self-observation, "When did I turn into the cynical urbanite that assumes anything said to me by a stranger must be code for a drugs or sex offer?

And then there was the very funny and wise reply from @jrdkirk, "When did you start to think this was cynicism rather than wisdom? ;^)"

Like most things, we live somewhere in the middle of most things.  Our days seems to be a constant search for and hope to live in that place between what is healthy and life-giving and what is destructive to our own selves, those around us and/or the larger global community and creation. 

Sure would be easier of life were black and white.

But it's not.

So I press on, refining my own brand of street smarts, common sense and a childlike view of the world always open to the amazing surprises God may have in store for us all. Not sure how this will go: sure I'll get taken at some point, but the possibilities to be fed by glimpses of God's grace are are just too good to pass up.

I can tell you one thing though, this guy will never need you to ask me any question about my dog or otherwise in my car, so please don't ask.

Follow by Email