Transcending Silos as Siblings in Christ (part 2): interview with Josh Plausteiner
What do you learn about religious life when you talk to neighboring Christians outside your network?
Early on the morning of Good Friday I drove to a nearby state park to go for a run. I was accompanied by my toddler son in his stroller. After the run, as I was putting my son back in his car seat, I overhead four “tree guys” talking outside side their truck parked next to my Subaru. They were oiling their chainsaws, putting on their chaps, and debating whether baptism was necessary for salvation.
I’m an introvert and not prone to interrupting strangers’ conversations; however, it’s rare in Vermont to overhear a conversation about baptism. And maybe Holy Week had me more willing to reach out to fellow Christians. So I interrupted them, introduced myself as a priest, and asked if I could join the conversation. I don’t remember the details of the discussion but I know that it ended with handshakes.
The moment made me aware that I need to expand whom I speak to on this podcast about the meaning of religious life. I value the perspective of religious professionals -– clergy, academics, monks and nuns – but I also need to speak to my brothers and sisters in Christ who are religious non-professionally. They have just as much at stake in living faithfully into their baptism vows; and as I learned, they know a lot of things I don’t, like how to pray up in a tree or across a store counter. Given that I’m called to live in the Connecticut River Valley (I just moved to the New Hampshire side of the river) and that local adaptation is an important tenet in Anglican spirituality, it struck me as especially important to talk to such folks who live in the same geographical corner of the world as I do but inhabit different social worlds.
I’m releasing two episodes together. I spoke with one of the self-described “tree guys” whom I met on Good Friday, Josh Plausteiner – father, husband, Roman Catholic, boxing coach, and Latin student. I also spoke with Susan Nichols – mother, grandmother, Episcopalian, small business manager, biker/motorcyclist, and gay woman. With each of them I spoke about their call to follow Jesus and their understanding of what it means to be faithful to their baptism vows.
Much has been written about the political silos in which most Americans live. However, in baptism folks are family, regardless of which silo they inhabit. I hope that these conversations provoke new thoughts about your own calling and faith, and maybe even encourage you to reach out to someone who is both a sibling in Christ and outside your network.