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Jesus and Nicodemus

  • Posted on Mar 21, 2011

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night. John 3:1-2

Not wanting to be seen fraternizing with Jesus in the light of day, Nicodemus comes to Jesus by night—in person—to have a discussion about being born again and about having faith. On Sunday morning at the 8 am Eucharist in the Round, we had a discussion about how we talk about our faith. We started at 8 am and had to stop at 9 am. We could have gone on much longer. Speaking on matters of faith necessitates speaking to one another in person. While we can write and ponder on blogs and in books, real faith conversation needs a community and a conversation.

I continue to ruminate on how we have these important discussions of faith when we all lead lives of such speed and busyness that we often only communicate with a text message or a quick e-mail. Voice mails are now becoming obsolete. My college-age children never really listen to my voice mails left on their cell phones. They see I have called and just call me back. They do respond to text messages.

The home phone is even more obsolete. Many folks don’t install a landline anymore. We have just moved to a house on the Gilman campus. We did have a landline installed and were able to keep our same number. I have been asking Bryan over and over: “Are you sure the phone works?” No one has called. Not even sales calls. It seems so strange.

In my favorite section of the Sunday New York Times–Sunday Business–yesterday’s Corner Office feature interviews Irwin D. Simons, who is CEO of Hain Celestial Group, maker of natural and organic foods and personal care product.s He says: “I’m big into communicating face-to-face, eye-to-eye and not through e-mail. Part of what’s happened today is we lose a sense of communication because everything is done electronically.” The interviewer then asked Simons this question:”People may say that sounds great, but there’s just no time to do it face-to-face.” Simons replies: “It comes back to, what are your priorities? Am I doing that for everybody in every place? No. But I live by this philosophy: I juggle 13 balls, and there are certain balls I never drop.”

One of the balls that I never want to drop as a pastor, as a rector, and, most of all, as a person of faith is the ball which places in-person communication as a priority in conversations around faith, around pastoral care and around community. I wonder how Jesus would be communicating these days. Would Nicodemus have sent a late night e-mail or text today? How would that make the conversation different?