About a half hour ago I was standing in my apartment with a women I'd never met. She was there to assess whether or not she wanted to make my apartment her new apartment, since (because we're buying a new house) my wife Cat and I have to move from here.
Meaning we have to find someone to take over our lease. Meaning people are now coming to view our apartment. Meaning I had to clean the heck out of our place this morning. Meaning I had to work. And I think we all know how I feel about working. Enough said.
So this lady---dyed black hair, tight black jeans, General Hipster---had just asked me what kind of books I write.
Now, I know there are parts of the country where Christianity is very popular, but the California coastal enclave in which I live is not one of them. In general (and of course this is the grossest kind of generalization) people here think Christians are intolerant, uptight, self-righteous, misogynistic, right-wing homophobes who, like the lemmings they are, blindly support George Bush and all he does.
So I always cringe a bit inside when people here ask me what kind of books I write, because I know if I say "Christian books," they'll immediately peg me as someone whom they are honor-bound to loathe.
I hate it when I'm someone perfectly decent people feel honor-bound to loathe.
Then again, whaddaya gonna do?
"Christian books," I said. "I write books for the Christian market."
And that's when the earthquake hit! The ceiling fan just above me started swaying. The big water bottle next to us tipped and glugged. The mirror next to her started bouncing back and forth against the wall. The floor beneath us rolled like it was jealous no one ever surfed on it.
Wide-eyed and staring at me like I was a ghost, my guest whispered, "Whoa. It's an earthquake."
"It is," I said. I'm from the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm used to putting chocolate in my milk, and just waiting for the next quake to shake it up for me. So I wasn't too worried. Meaning I had only a minor heart attack.
Then everything calmed down, and assumed its usual holding pattern.
"That was weird," she said in an awestruck tone.
"It was a message from God," I said ominously.
"I know!" she said. "That's what I was thinking!"
So we talked. I don't know if a half hour later my new friend left here a Christian, but I know she left here a lot more open to the possibility of becoming one.
As I waved good-bye to her, I called, "Convert by the time you get to your car! If you drive away as a heathen, God only knows what will happen to you! You've gotten your Big Hint! Don't press your luck!"
That God. He sure does know how to rock people's world in distinctly unsubtle ways.