The Handshake Guy

David-the-Artist-Pastor is cool. With spiky hair, earrings, and a closet full of funky shirts, he looks much more like my friends than the pastors I grew up with. David's been instrumental in my growth spiritually more than any other pastor I've encountered. Mostly because David doesn't stand far away on a platform. David lives life with us.

I heard the story of an encounter David had yesterday at a religious meeting in our denomination where a man refused to shake his hand because of his earrings. Specifically the man's words were "I might catch something." At first, David thought it was a joke. Then quickly learned it wasn't.

And while hearing that story may make you feel bad for David, you shouldn't. David is fine. His life and heart are swimming with tremendous grace. Grace which flows easily to "the Handshake guy."

People often confuse the actions of "Christians" like Handshake Guy with Christ. And so it is easy to miss that Christ said things like "Do not judge, and you will not be judged." and "Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." Or that Jesus was frequently criticized by the religious leaders of the day for His choice of company.

Handshake Guy isn't living Christ. And that is absolutely tragic. It appears he is trapped in a world that has become so narrow, skewed and filled with fear, that he's totally missed the point of love.

And so it occurs to me, that if love is truly more powerful than hate, then all of us could completely rock the world of Handshake Guy. What if we started praying for him specifically that God would introduce him to grace? What if we asked God to so cover this guy in love that like the Grinch, his heart would grow "three sizes that day"? What if we asked that the tiny little cage this man is trapped in were completely broken open so that he could walk around free like the rest of us?

That's the kind of faith I'm signed up for. The one that appreciates both suit-and-tie pastors and pastors-with-earrings, and can set free all of the people like Handshake Guy.
© Random Cathy
Maira Gall