When we [Julia and I] came back to Fresno three years ago, one of the big questions was where and if we would find a church home. We had lived here before, but that was more than 25 years ago and in the meantime Fresno had changed, and we certainly had as well.
I mean at that time the 41 Freeway was just getting started, to say nothing of 180 and 168. And by the time we got back, we were also driving in very different lanes than before.
I had some major adjustments to make after 25 years in Munich. For example, I usually wore suits or sportcoats and sometimes even a tie as I cycled from client to client. I soon realized that men in Fresno wore T-shirts much of the time. That was going to go take some getting used to.
But then I thought, maybe I could combine “going local” with finding a church home. I toyed with the idea of creating a T-shirt like this. [SLIDE showing names of several authors and theologians.] These writers and theologians had been and have been instrumental in my life, and I thought that perhaps wearing a T-shirt like this at River Park or Fashion Fair or downtown would clue people in to what was important to me and either ask what it meant, or recognize a name and strike up a conversation with me.
Thankfully, I didn’t need to go that far, because no T-shirt looks like that on me. But more importantly, it wasn’t necessary because we ended up here. How we got here is another story, but I don’t want to steal Giulia‘s thunder and she can perhaps tell you sometime.
Suffice it to say, we ended up here and all of a sudden I heard some of these writers and theologians mentioned in conversations and sermons and smaller groups. You all seemed to be asking some of the same questions I had been asking in trying to live faithfully at this time in history both in Europe and now back in California.
That felt good, plus you welcomed us so warmly and it became clear that we could ease into things, get our bearings and then when we were able to give back there would be opportunities.
I hope you frequently take time to read the banners on either side of the Sanctuary. The “confession of faith” expressed there is part of the reason I kept coming back.