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Re-seeing Lee

I just had brunch with Lee.  If you’ve not read the earlier months of this journal you may not know who Lee is.  He was my partner in ministry from before “go.”  He was the very first phone call I made when I came to town and the very first non-married-to-me partner we had in this venture of church planting.  We started Embody together and then he joined the Air Force and moved to Nebraska.  I know.  I know it doesn’t sound like it makes sense, but in a strange and beautiful way – it does make sense…upside down, kingdom sense.

Anyway, he is in town this week for weddings and such.  The text message caught me off guard this morning, but I jumped at the chance to hug him and eat a cherry turnover at De Boer’s Bakery on the North Side.  He looked the same, but there was something new.  There was some intangible change in him and it’s beautiful.  If you know Lee, you know that he has this humble, shy, honest, self-deprecating thing going on.  Then the more time you get to know him you find that he has a dry and witty humor that is intoxicating and draws you deeper into loving him.  That was all there, but there was something different.

He told me the stories about playing guitar and leading worship in a couple different worship situations in the Omaha area.  Of course he can do that kind of thing, I wasn’t surprised.  He also told me about the drummer in his unit (they play rock and roll on the Air Force dime…yah, it’s his job for Uncle Sam…told you it made sense.)  This drummer friend of his used to be a Roman Catholic, but now is a bit of an agnostic.  “He’s trying to figure it all out” is the way Lee put it.  They’ve had a few chances to talk while on the road between gigs, and I can see that Lee is being a missionary in his setting…intentionally…being himself.  (While this is not something new, it plays into the something different about Lee.)

Then he told me about the chaplain at the Air Force base.  He and his drummer friend started playing on Sundays there, and it was going really well until the chaplain found out that the man behind the drumsticks was not “gung ho, rah rah, on fire” Christian guy.  Drummer friend was dis-invited to participate.  WHAT?!!

Lee is upset about it, as all of us should be, and he’s going to say something about it to the chaplain.  The way Lee sees it is this: why would a church tell people they could only be involved in the church’s activities (especially worship) if they were already believers?  He didn’t get it.  Doesn’t it make sense that you would want people who were “trying to figure it out” involved in the body of Christ’s business?  Wouldn’t you want them to rub shoulders with followers of Christ?  Wouldn’t you think that Jesus would make himself known by those called by His name?

Here’s how I re-saw Lee.  He was sure of himself.  He was still self-deprecating and humble, but there was a new holy fire burning in his belly for his friend, for his God, for righteousness, for what is right, and what makes sense.  He always had that, but it was like he took ownership of his faith.  Moved to Omaha and became a spiritual friend to someone and is set to disciple those he meets – to be Christ’s ambassador in Nebraska. 

Something that grew roots in Michigan is producing fruit in Nebraska – home of Arbor Day.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Sara Van Doornik
    June 7, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Thanks, Jim, for the update on Lee. I’m so glad you two were able to come together for turnovers and talk! Lee is a blessing to all who meet him!

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