Brian looked like a Harley Davidson enthusiast meets pro-wrestler. He was nearly seven feet tall, weighed over three hundred pounds, usually wore all black with a chain connecting his belt to the wallet in his pocket, had long black hair, a full beard, and blasted heavy metal in his car. It might have been because of this that he was lonely. In certain spaces, certain looks don’t always garner desired attention. Especially since Brian was training to become a pastor in a denominational context not too friendly to Brian’s look. Brian knew that the Jesus to whom he dedicated his life wasn’t very well-received either. But, still; Brian was lonely.
Since Brian was training to become a pastor, he had to become part of a local church. So, he got involved in a youth group nearby his university. Brian was nervous. His fellow students and a few professors at his university did not approve of his look and he knew that teenagers were notorious for making fun of people that they did not deem welcome. Brian pulled into the parking lot, turned off the car, and sat in the silence before walking in. After breathing a few times, he opened his door, crossed the parking lot, and entered the building.
This particular youth group had its space in the church’s gym. There were basketball nets on either side, a full kitchen, and a platform with a drum set, guitars, and microphones. And all-around Brian were dozens of teenagers screaming and running around. Brian fidgeted and did that thing when you don’t know what to do with your hands. He tried putting them in his pocket, then at his side, and finally settled on crossing them across his chest. But he squeezed too hard due to his nerves and began to sweat. All this happened in the span of ten seconds as he stood looking at the chaos around the room; feeling the energy emanating from the teenagers and other youth leaders. Music, laughter and screams, and the sounds of basketballs hitting the floor flooded Brian’s mind.
He began to move toward the other youth leaders, but they moved as he got closer. He expected that. He was used to being ignored by his fellow pastorate trainees.
Well, he thought. What to do?
Then he heard, “Oh my word. You are SO cool!”
Brian spun around and saw this lanky teenager dressed eerily similar to Brian, only the teenager was substantially shorter and didn’t have the beard.
“Dude! Who are you? Tell me all about yourself!” The teenager held out his hand and Brian grabbed it in turn and told the teen his name. “You MUST listen to metal! Tell me about your favorite band!”
Phew, thought Brian, now this I can do.