Thursday, February 9, 2017


Ordinarily, driving in the city doesn’t concern me.  After all, I was born and raised in New York - and, as the Sinatra song says (sort of), if you can drive there, you can drive anywhere.   Besides, on the very first day I got my license, I drove through/around major cities like Orlando, Jacksonville, Savannah, Richmond, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, Newark and New York, as I sojourned non-stop from my sister’s house in central Florida to my mother’s home on Long Island. 

Like I said, “ordinarily”.

But fast-forward 40 years, and I’m driving a friend and colleague into the heart of the capital city of the Red Sox nation, in a car with license plates that are positively pro-Yankee.   In fact, so concerned am I for the safety of my car and my passenger, that I even pull into a rest stop off the Mass Pike to buy some New England Patriots paraphernalia to display in the rear window in hopes that it might dilute the venom of my vanity plates.

Despite outward appearances, though, this is not a suicide mission.  Actually, it’s quite the opposite.  You see, we are in Boston on a recruiting trip, looking for divinity students who might bring another generation of life and light to the United Methodist Church in the New York Annual Conference.  

Our recruiting team has three players, each selected with intentionality and purpose.   Heather is a highly regarded young clergywoman who is originally from the Boston area.  David is an African-American pastor who is a proven church grower with a keen eye for green sprouts.  And I, well, I’m the guy with the company credit card.

Because of a prior commitment in the area, David takes his own car and meets Heather and me on the third floor of parking lot K.  This particular lot is attached to some Boston University dorms and is directly across the street from the school itself.  After exchanging hugs and pleasantries, we review our itinerary and see that we have just 5 minutes to get to our first stop.  So we hastily head over to the parking garage elevators, push the “down” button a bunch of times, and wait.

And wait. 

And wait some more. 

We’d probably STILL be waiting there if David doesn’t eventually use his keen eye to read the small sign that said that these particular elevators operate only twice a year – when BU students move in, and when BU students move out. 

As we fly down three flights of stairs, and then dodge four lanes of city traffic, I cannot help but feel profoundly sad..... for those elevators.

Oh, sure, it might sound appealing at first – you only have to work twice a year.   Yay!

But consider this: would you really like to spend 363 days out of the year being unproductive, useless, and unhelpful to anyone and everyone who could really use a “lift”?   Hmmm?

Would you like to be a parent who is disobliging, obstructive, and unaccommodating to your child every single day of the year except two?

Would you like to be a worker in the vineyard who is idle, fruitless, and uncreative more than 99% of the time? 

Would you like to be a church member who worships only on Christmas and Easter?

Would you like to be a believer in God and a disciple of Jesus Christ who reads the Bible, prays, and/or forgives those who trespass against you once every six months?

This might sound harsh, but if you are anything like those elevators in the parking garage, I wouldn’t want to BU.