QUADRIVIUM

Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head?

Another One Rides the Bus

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Someone tells me at least three times a week that my life will change when my baby is born.  It’s only Monday and I’ve already heard it once.  But my lovely wife and I are taking whatever proactive measures we can, one of which entails me riding the bus to work.  We only have one car, see, and she’ll need it to cart the little guy around once she returns to school in the fall.

What I know of public transit comes mostly from Hollywood—the crowded hordes of business men standing in the isle, clinging to little ropes hanging from above, and whatnot.  And while I know a Los Angeles city bus would never make a fifty foot jump over a gap in a freeway overpass, it’s still fun to watch on screen. 

I stepped on board, and thankfully, I was not greeted by the stench of the cleaner they must use to scour public school buses.  The seats on public transit, I discovered, may still cause the caboose some discomfort, but at least they’re upholstered. 

The small crowd I encountered this morning seemed well acquainted with each other.  I actually felt a little out of place.  Most of them knew each other by name.  I don’t why that surprised me—you don’t think of finding community on a bus when you’re not usually the one to hitch a ride.  This crowd did quite well together.  I sometimes wish I could find such fluid chemistry in church. 

I know this isn’t a problem with all churches.  Many churches have community nailed down to a science.  They recognize that building relationships and earning the right to be heard does not entail leading a person to the altar as quickly as possible.  I’m happy to finally be a part of a church that is starting to take that particular ride.   And some of us feel out of place, but we’ll get over it.  Those riding the bus can be my teachers for a while, I really don’t mind. 

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Written by taj

April 23, 2007 at 4:54 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I rode the bus in Mayport, FL a few months ago when going on a Tiger Cruise with my son Geoff and got the same feeling as you. To me their stares said “interloper”, “stranger amongst us”, “what’s he doing here”?
    That same weekend on my return trip home I stopped enroute to attend church, guess what? I got the same stares that said “interloper”, “stranger amongst us”, “what’s he doing here”. What if, rather than being a passer thru, I was a new christian or new to the town looking for a church to attend? Chances are I would not be returning to THAT church. How do we present ourselves when a stranger enters our communities? What message are we sending?

    BTW congrats on the soon to be extended Johnson family!!!!

    Jeff Roediger

    April 24, 2007 at 9:46 am

  2. I had to ride the bus a lot a year ago when I was in the process of having my truck repaired at least every other week.

    One day, the bus was about half an hour late and I was getting extremely irritated. Luckily, the weather was fair that day. It finally arrived and the driver said, “Hey, man, I’m sorry I’m late. We had a guy on the bus pull a gun, and I had to stop and deal with the police.” Evidently, he just pulled the gun out and waved it around. The driver immediately phone the police who descended seemingly within seconds in a scene straight out of the aforementioned “Speed” film. They took the guy off the bus without incident, the driver answered some questions, and then finished his route.

    That’s the only time I’ve ever heard of that happening, so don’t look into transporter beams just yet.

    Most of what I experienced riding the bus was a “live and let live” quietness. I didn’t really like engaging people in conversation having just spent the last eight hours doing exactly that at work, so I kept to myself. Sometimes people would be friendly, and that was fine, but mostly it was “I just want to get to my stop and go on with my day.” There’s definitely a sense of community on the bus, though. A lot of people who ride every day do end up knowing each other by name, and there are a lot of interesting stories people have.

    Lord Vertigo

    April 28, 2007 at 3:23 pm


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