In last week's lectionary, Jesus tells the fishermen Simon and Andrew that he will make them fishers of people. So Simon and Andrew abandon their nets and follow Jesus. Bad move, Simon and Andrew! As a "fisher of people," let me tell you, those nets could have come in handy! I could set up a couple of giant fishing nets in Times Square and have a boatload of people in no time. People there are already packed so tight half of them wouldn't realize they were caught until I dragged them into the nearest subway. This brilliant plan is only foiled by the fact that giant fishing nets are really expensive, and the bishop's office is unwilling to give me funds to buy one. So instead I'm forced to wander around from place to place trying to meet people who'd be willing to talk and listening what their lives are like and learning from them what they want and need from a spiritual community. I've ended up in coffee shops, theatre workshops, police precinct meetings, parties, races, basement concerts, protests, and more coffee shops across northern Brooklyn and Manhattan. To illustrate how much less efficient this is, here is a map of northern Brooklyn (in the southeast corner) and Manhattan (in the northwest corner).
Each color line represents my movement for one day. Each corner/bend/end of a line represents a meeting (my goal is to someday have two meetings back to back in the same location). I include the initial trip from home but I do not include the return trip home.
Looking at the map, I realize that I am creating a net of sorts. It's a web of relationships, woven out of conversations and shared hopes, a web in which hopefully people will find they are meaningfully connected to each other and to God. Still...if anyone has a giant fishing net, let me know.