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friday’s twisting spokes & sidewalk religion

Friday, 4 May 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

A few Hightlights from my week:

As many of you know, I’ve been cycling down in the mornings, parking and showering at Millennium Park’s swanky bike station, and then walking to work.  I cycle back home, too.  My first day to cycle down was Tuesday, 01 May. 

Not being from the Midwest, I have at times struggled to navigate the interpersonal dynamics; Tuesday was no different.  I arrived, saw another person’s stuff on the bench, and simply proceeded to my shower.  This didn’t seem that unusual to me!  When I finished my shower, I headed back to my locker area and got dressed, after saying “good morning” to the other person there.  The other person, known now as S.K., replied with a reciprocal response:  “good morning!”  I went about my business, got dressed, and headed to work.  I returned that afternoon and we passed in the bike parking area and exchanged an appropriate greeting which was short, only because I was on the phone!  Wednesday was a littler different!  Let me explain!

When I arrived, S.K. was already in the locker room getting ready to shower.  She alerted me that I had passed her and that I was flying, but I wonder how she “beat” me to the locker room?  I questioned her?  “If I passed you, then how’d you get here so fast?  Did you pass me?”  We were in a full fledge conversation at this point!  It was short, but a nice morning conversation.  We both went about our respective business of getting dressed and heading to work.  We were back at the bike station at the same time, so we opted to ride back together fighting the strong headwind.  At some point during our morning conversation, S.K. mentioned to me how she was surprised that no one ever talked in the locker room?  Referencing this comment during our ride, I shared with her how I thought it was the Midwest, but she was adament that the Midwest was friendly!  I quickly interjected, asking S.K. if she had ever been to Texas?  “Because, sister, that is friendly,” I retorted!  She laughed and we went on our way of fighting headwinds and crosswinds.

Thursday I didn’t see S.K. on the trail heading down.  I was running a bit late, and figured that was she way ahead of me, but when I arrived at the bike station, S.K. was not there.  I thought for sure S.K. was taking a “mental health” day until I heard the sound of the water begin to splash down in the shower that S.K. typically uses.  Perhaps S.K. had arrived?  I would soon find out when I exited my shower stall and head back to the bench in the locker room, where of course we shared the bench for our keys, miscellany, and water bottles.  S.K. had arrived!  Morning conversation can begin! 

We chatted a bit and I mentioned to her how I was running late, but when I had arrived and didn’t see her stuff, I thought for sure she was taking the day off!  “A mental health day, of course,” I said!  She and I both laughed!  She mentioned how she was running late, as well and how the wind had really caused her to be tired; I agreed!  I was complaining about the wind and the Spring like cold weather [it was 48 degrees when I started that morning]!  We made it out of there in enough time to get to work on-time, though we were both running a tad late!

Thursday’s ride home was windy, but manageable.  I didn’t see S.K., though I would learn on Friday how she rushed home to make it to her child’s soccer game.  I struggled with the wind, but it wasn’t near as bad as Wednesday’s wind!  By the time I got home, made dinner [BBQ related stuff], I was in bed by 9pm.  I was beat, spent, and my quads, calves, and hip flexors [not to mention my IT band] were all sore!  I slept so good, and felt so refreshed when I emerged from my slumber at 5:15.

I headed out to the trail again for my Friday ride!  I had finally packed my backpack in a way that didn’t feel so heavy!  Because I carry all of my work clothes and a towel, along w/ my food for the day, my bag can feel really heavy, and it has been super heavy all week long.  Today, though, it felt alright.  I was trucking at 15-17.5 mph, considerably faster than what I had been riding this week with the wind and all.  After passing Michigan Avenue on the trail, I am greeted by a Trek bicycle and while the cool wind is falling on my ears, I also hear “mornin’.”  I look to my left, and there is S.K.  I was later told once we made it to the bike station how she was trying to catch up to me, but I was picking up speed!  I replied by saying, “well, once I got to Michigan Ave., I was tired, so these two wheels slowed down to 13.5 mph!” 

We had a nice conversation and we went our separate directions–not before, of course, wishing one another a “nice day!” 

My walk to work each day, the four blocks that I take to my office, is largely uneventful.  Business suits pass me on both sides.  Folks with their Starbucks, Argo Tea and Corner Bakery cups whiz past me.  On the rare occasion I am gifted with the ability to smell the aroma of their drink, oftentimes coffee.  I pass under the L tracks while I continue to make my way West on Randolph.  Its a nice walk and opportunity to work out any tightness that I might be feeling.  Yesterday afternoon I was greeted with the Bhagavaghita and I passed it. I did not grab a copy of it.  Perhaps I should have?  Honestly, I didn’t want to carry it back home w/ me as my bag was going to be so heavy!

Today, however, I was greeted with the unusual person handing out books.  I don’t ever see folks handing out books in the morning, only in the afternoon.  I glanced at the book as the person handed it to someone reaching for it.  I see in large Red and White letters:  TEN COMMANDMENTS Twice Removed.  I passed it, giving a nod that is commonly understood as “No”.  I wasn’t interested.  But, as I approached the light, I turned around and asked “what book is that?”  The gentle man, brown in color and a beautiful smile, handed me the book.  I took it, and turning back 180 degrees, continued walking west toward my office building.  I looked at the cover once more, hoping that perhaps this is some left-leaning, liberal take on theology.  I peered in a window and saw my reflection, my faux-hawk that was almost perfect, and thought to myself, that perhaps not.  Perhaps this is not a left-leaning, liberal take on theology.  I flipped the book over and read about the authors.  When my eyes read “Three Angels Broadcasting Network,” I sensed that this was not the left-leaning, liberal book for which I was hoping.  I peeled open the front cover, and there was the address for the church along with an admission ticket for some presentation where I assume the authors will be present.

The book sits on my desk now, along w/ Barbara Brown Taylor’s Leaving Church and two stickers–a bumper sticker that reads IMPREACHBUSH [all one word] and the other is an American Bicycle Racing sticker.  As I take a sip of my coffee that is soon cooling down, there is NO question which book I was read today! 

Perhaps the 10 commandments were twice removed!  I don’t know?  I don’t know that I will learn what these authors mean by that…

Sidewalk religion is certainly an interesting phenomena!  From the Friday night Moody students “witnessing” on Michigan Ave. to the Evangelical Christians protesting any sort of theology or inter-religious and/or spiritual practices that are liberal.  These are the days of sidewalk religion.  Always emerging and always dynamic.

My spokes will continue to twist at an undetermined rate of speed.  I will continue to do theology, but I’m getting off the sidewalk.  Sidewalk, though an expression of an embodied theology, is not for me.

Happy Friday, yall!

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