My response to Abraham’s post from last week.

Couldn’t it have been like this?

Adventures of Ogden – Man of the Suburb: On The Issue Of Carpet Squares

Most of his life, Ogden reflected, was comprised of experiences that he really enjoyed, or marginally enjoyed, or merely tolerated. Rarely did he find himself doing something that he really, really didn’t want to do.

This evening was one of those times.

He was in a mini-van heading downtown on a chilly night with a group of Christian men – men in his weekly Bible Study / Accountability group. He knew these men well and genuinely enjoyed their company.

T hey had decided that they would drive together for tonight’s ‘activity’, and he was the fourth to be picked up. The men greeted him as he sat in the middle row. And then he heard the driver (his name was Jerry) ask Tyler in the front passenger seat , “Where next?”

Tyler was the leader for the evening. When he heard the activity suggestion three weeks earlier he’d run with it and made it happen. When Tyler had called Ogden, Ogden could have thought of any number of excuses to help him get out of this excursion, but for some reason (he hoped that it was in accordance with God’s will), he’d said “Yes, ” knowing full well that he would dread it and wish he couldn’t go.

Tyler apparently had the route all figured out in his head: “Well, first to church and then we’ll pick up Terrence. He’s expecting us at seven.”

“Why Church?”

“You’ll see,” Tyler responded cryptically.

Four minutes later they pulled into the parking lot and Tyler ran in. It was Friday night, some other activity was happening. Ogden wished he was staying for it – it didn’t matter what the event was.

In only took a couple minutes and Tyler was coming back to the van, carrying a bundle. He sat down with the bundle in his lap.

“What’s that?” asked James. James was sitting next to Ogden. He’d been pretty quiet.

“It looks like . . . Carpeting squares.” said Jerry, as he pulled out of the parking lot. Ogden tilted his head and looked – indeed it looked exactly like 1 foot by 1 foot carpeting squares. From the preschool room.

“Good guess,” replied Tyler.

“And why do we need those.” Ogden could tell that Jerry was troubled by what he feared would be the answer. The question was a statement.

“We’re going to sit on them”

“Ah.” And there was a pause, and then Jerry spoke up again, “I’m not sure that’s a good idea.”

“You’re afraid we’ll look silly.”

“Yes.”

“Unfortunately, I agree.”

“Ah. So . .. “

“So, I really wanted Terrance to come, and he was extremely hesitant. I couldn’t really figure out why, since he said it wasn’t our destination. I finally got out of him that he was afraid of being cold, sitting on the sidewalk. I came up with this plan and he finally agreed. You see?”

“Yes,” Jerry replied, apparently still not convinced. He looked into the rear view mirror and asked “James, what do you think about this?”

James did not respond immediately.

Their planned downtown destination for this Bible study was the sidewalk just in front of ‘Reggie’s’, a ‘high-class cabaret establishment,’ otherwise known as a strip club. It had been James’ idea.

Reggie’s had been the kind of place frequented by James before he’d become a Christian, and for three years after. He had not been there as a patron for the last five years, but he had only lately told the group about this vice. Ogden knew that sanctification in this arena of James’ life had been difficult. James had earlier stated his opinion that a group of men praying just outside this club might have a positive, if intangible, effect on at least a small number of individuals. At least it wouldn’t hurt. Ogden had found himself in reluctant agreement with this. James was hoping that their presence on the sidewalk there would make a statement.

So it was only natural that Jerry would want James’ opinion on the carpet question.

“Well,” James finally replied, “It’s not as if we want to look at home there.”

No, indeed they did not. So the issue was resolved.

So, after picking up Terrance, they made their way across the river and it wasn’t that long before Ogden found himself sitting on one of those carpet squares and praying hard that any ridicule thrown their way wouldn’t be that difficult. And then he chided himself.

That isn’t the point, is it?

So he prayed that good and God’s glory would come of it. For someone.

==

Fifteen minutes later, a man drove by. He’d been forced to circle around a bit; it was a Friday night – parking was scarce. As he drove by the front door of the club he’d been trying to make his way into he saw …what is that? A group of men sitting just outside with a . . . yes, that was obviously a Bible. He looked at the faces and –

He recognized one of them, and then another. His heart rate shot up. He decided not to take the left turn he had planned. He found himself praying that he’d not been recognized. He headed north and crossed the river back towards home and his wife. The tears started as he got on the highway.

He never went back.

==

You can count this kind of carpet sitting as something I’d add to my list.

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