The Unexpected Bank-Teller Evangelist
The other day I walked next door to my bank to deposit the second installment of the advance from my publisher. Good feels abound when you realize that someone actually paid you to write a book.
At this particular branch I recognize most of the tellers but the one who helped me last week was new to me.
"Hi there," Minda said, "what can I do for you?"
Minda's smile was about as genuine as it gets. Her eyes, sitting behind her thick framed glasses, looked at me as though I was her first and best customer of the day (when clearly I wasn't). She was likely in her 60's, and it seemed to me like Minda was made to be a bank teller. Or at least, made to me someone who's job is to interact with other humans in a kind and approachable way.
I placed the check in the pass-thru, sliding it toward her. "Hey Minda, I just need to deposit this check, please."
Minda picked up the check and read it as she entered the information in to her system.
"Oooo, wow, are you an author?" she inquired, tipped off by the name of the publishing company in the upper left.
"According to that check right there, I believe I am!"
This delighted Minda. Which in turn delighted me.
"And what's your book about?"
For a variety of reasons, I sometimes balk at answering this question. Over the past year, as I've been working on UnClobber, I often interact with people about it. And when inevetibaly they ask me what the book is about, I've caught myself hemming and hawing at times.
Because frankly, as comfortable as I am discussing my belief that the Bible does not condemn those in the LGBTQ community, it can still get clunky. And you just never know how people will respond.
I'm working on not caring how people respond, but I'm a work in progress.
With Minda, though, I just went for it.
"It's about the Bible and homosexuality, and how I think the church has misused the Bible to marginalize and oppress our gay brothers and sisters."
"Interesting," she replied, as she finished getting my check ready for deposit. Was it just my imagination, or did part of that Minda-smile wither just a bit?
"So are you a theologian?" she pressed. Perhaps testing my credibility to write on such things.
"Well, I've been a pastor for 12 years..." I started to say, but then she jumped in.
"Oh yeah? What church?"
I keep Calling-Cards for Sojourn in my wallet for just such an occasion. Sliding a purple card across the same space my check just went thru, I told her, "we are called Sojourn Grace Collective. We are a progressive faith community here in North Park."
"Hmm," she breathed, "a progressive christian church? Well, I probably won't ever come," she said, refreshingly honestly, "but I'll hold on to this card in the event I think of someone who might."
I'll hold on to this card in the event I think of someone who might.
How great is that?! Minda, you just made my day. In a single two minute interaction she went from:
super smiley lady who seemed happy to see me, to
proud of me for being a professional author, to
curious about my book, to
confused about my subject matter, to
doubtful I was qualified, to
interested in what sort of church I lead, to
honest about her plans to never attend Sojourn, to
willing to pass it on to someone else who might me interested.
I smiled, thanked her, wished her day well, and went back to work. Grateful for my new friend at the bank.
Yesterday I walked in the bank again. No Minda this time, but the gal who took my check to deposit it looked at me and said, "are you the guy who came in last week and talked to Minda about your book? How can I get a copy of it? It sounds really interesting!"
I couldn't help but laugh, fondly remembering Minda and her commitment to evangelize my work. Work that she didn't even agree with.
It's a good thing I didn't hem or haw.