It was a winter afternoon. I was working in my office, and the phone rang. I didn’t know immediately who could be calling me from South Dakota, but my phone service automatically screened the call. I heard the caller record his name, “Wes White.”
I tried to recall the last controversial thing I had said online. I thought, “well now you’ve done it, you’ve got yourself in the crosshairs of the TR blogosphere.”
For some reason I took the call (of course it wasn’t just some reason, it was the Spirit nudging me toward Christ). I greeted Mr. White and we began one of those awkward cold calls which ministry leaders have from time to time. I kept thinking, “watch what you say! Be careful, or your presbytery will be getting a letter of concern!”
But a funny thing happened, Wes wasn’t looking for dirt, he was reaching out. On several occasions, before this, we had volleyed emails back and forth, but none of them had ended well. I had challenged him about his blog, and more specifically the comments he allowed on a site which carried his name. From those interactions, we seemed to have fundamental and irreconcilable differences. But on this day, he was calling to offer peace and to thank me for my pursuit. He was seeking to repair the bridges which he had burned in the past (I’ll let Wes be the one to tell you about the other people he contacted).
[Tweet “Christ can even bring redemption in the blogosphere.”]
Eventually, we got over our awkwardness and began to talk honestly with each other. We talked about life and ministry. We soon found that for every one of the things we disagreed upon, there were ten or fifteen things we shared. After two hours we ended the call, but promised to speak again soon. I’m glad to say that we kept that promise, we spoke the next week, and the next week, and the next. Over those weeks Wes and I disagreed, sometimes on significant issues, but we kept talking. We even found that on some issues he is the progressive and I’m the TR!
Eventually Wes removed his blog, seeking to redouble his efforts towards local ministry. By and large, I did the same. But we kept calling each other. Month after month we talked. Our interactions slowly moved from seeming like peace talks between warring tribes. They became talk between brothers and friends.
Now before you think that this post is just one long extended humble brag – let me say: Wes has helped me follow Christ way more than any of my emails helped him. He has encouraged and challenged me, and I’m glad to say that he is a friend. Wes is one of the first people I call when Im thinking through things in ministry. I praise God that he called, and that I was willing to answer my phone.
The next time you receive a call from someone you don’t want to talk to, consider what the Spirit might be doing. Remember, the Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is at work in His church. He can redeem the most broken situations. Our God is even powerful enough to bring redemption in the blogosphere.
Wes and his beautiful family