I don’t even know how to get in touch with “Rick,” but he used to be a “work friend” back in my telemarketing days. I hadn’t seen him for several years, but I bumped into him at Chinamart the other day and we had a nice conversation. Rick was pretty popular with most of his coworkers. He certainly projected a recognizable image. He stood about six feet tall and had Guy Fieri hair long before anyone ever heard of Guy Fieri. He often wore a leather jacket, boots, and sun glasses. He had multiple tattoos and body piercings and sang with what I’m tempted to call a punk rock band, though I’m no expert on rock music classification.
Rick was born on the Emerald Isle, but his mother, soon moved to England. I believe he lived in both Birmingham and London, but mostly London. His mum wasn’t well off, so I think they lived in the poorer sections of town and Rick sort of grew up on the streets and reached his adulthood doing what most poor city kids do, drinking, partying, dancing, and probably fighting on occasion. Still, Rick was a jovial soul, so I suspect that he was as popular there as here. Somewhere along the way, he became an honest-to-gosh stone mason of the old school. That always sort of impressed me, since it’s a dying art over here. I think he moved here because he married an American girl. I’m not sure how he ended up in telemarketing, but his good manners, smooth voice and English accent served him well, especially with the ladies.
Rick had a tiny bit of burr up his backside about church, Christians and Christianity, though. He was polite, but firm; he wanted no part of any such thing. Usually, such folks have been badly mistreated by so-called Christians. In his case, I think it was actually his mother who suffered some sort of self-righteous abuse at their hands, so she avoided church from then on. In the process, she raised a son with no respect for anything Christian. He wasn’t out to change anyone else’s opinion; he just wanted no part of it himself.
It’s hard to get such folks to understand that many people who CALL themselves Christians actually are not, and that even sincere Christians are too often far from perfect. I tried on occasion to talk to him about the Lord, but to no avail. He was simply closed to the subject, though never rude. After out little visit was about over the other day, I asked if he’d ever given the Lord a chance to work in his life, but once again, I got the jovial brush-off. His little girl was with him, so I didn’t push the issue, but I told him that I was very happy to have seen him and that I’d be praying for him. That doesn’t seem to insult him, I’ve learned.