WHAT KIND OF EVENT DOES THE FOLLOWING REMIND YOU OF:
A small group of a dozen men meeting for two hours on a Saturday morning.
Ages range from 40-something to almost 90.
Singing gustily along with a three-piece band.
Eating an excellent breakfast from a Mexican menu.
Listening to a guest speaker share how his life was changed.
Requesting others to pray – honest, touching, and serious prayers.
AND WHAT WOULD BE THE LIKELY VENUE? A nursing home? A hospital? An AA meeting? A Shriner’s gathering? A church group?
LET ME TELL A LITTLE MORE ABOUT SOME FOLKS WHO ATTEND THE MEETING:
• One man is a successful and well-known businessman in Santa Fe.
• One man runs a TV station and a radio station.
• One man was incarcerated twice before he looked in the eyes of his young daughter and made a decision to go straight.
• One man works for an NGO that tries to steer students away from the myriad temptations and fears and failures of high school.
• One man was called to the hippie communes in the mountains behind Santa Fe, to help them find faith. Nowadays he arranges regular visits to help inmates of a New Mexico prison.
• One man puts out a regular blog about ongoing faith events in Santa Fe.
• One man visits India to engage with Hindus and Buddhists about their faith
WHAT WOULD YOU GUESS IS THE COMMON DENOMINATOR FOR THESE MEN?
The short answer … is in this video.
The long answer is …
These men believe implicitly in God and in Jesus. It comes out while they’re singing – and it sounds even more exuberant by the acoustics of the small restaurant room. It also comes out in their confidence – they talk as if they know God and his son personally.
The guest speaker is always someone whose life was changed by an encounter with God. Every story is different in the details. But it’s always the same story in the big picture. They chose to accept that God showed up as Jesus, and they chose to follow this Jesus.
The most attractive thing about the meeting for me is the joy and hope expressed by these men. They have their problems, yes, and these problems are laid on the table transparently during the prayer time. But these men are eternal optimists. They come from a variety of jobs, families, and social standings, but they all share the same optimism.
Although from different churches, catholic, protestant, and independent, these men are unified in one important way: they belong to God. And a visitor senses this belongingness. This manifests most simply in humility and a love of God and fellow man.
A unique thing is that no pastors or priests are involved on a regular basis. It’s a group of lay persons who run the group. Their formal name is Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship.
POST-SCRIPT. To a scientist like me, who was trained to observe things, there is no way these very different men could be fooling themselves, or brainwashed by their upbringing, or idiots, as some new-atheists like to argue.
I have concluded that what these men have is true spiritual experience and it manifests as an enthusiastic love for God and for people.
If you live in the Albuquerque area and would like to visit the group on a Saturday morning, please contact me. I can introduce you to a room full of encouragement and can promise a very uplifting time. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I would love to hear your thoughts or opinions, if you would please post them in the blog comment box below.
PPS: I write blogs about three topics: Science and Energy, and Health and Hiking, and Inspiration and Hope.
My next blog will be A cosmic mystery, Part 2: Quasars. About my introduction to quasars in 1981 at the University of Arizona, and how astrophysicists have only recently understood what kind of stars they are (think black holes).
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The Gray Nomad ….. Read and renew hope.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.
[Book of Psalms, chapter 28].