The other day I had the profound gift of sitting with a human I treasure deeply here in my hometown. His name is Keith Case - as his newly changed Instagram handle @keithcase_ now reflects - and West Palm Beach is blessed to hold him and his family in the embrace of home. Keith is a lot of things to this town and I’d be inclined to label him as a “community leader” who is creating the conditions for people to lean into the homes inside themselves and to cleanse the muck of shame from their souls. One of the ways Keith stewards his gifts is as the founder and Pastor of @providenciawpb. I’ve sat with Keith many times now, and this particular sit was the first where we spoke in depth about scripture. If you assume that Keith was the initiator of that particular dialogue, you’d be sorely mistaken.
I am not a Christian.
In fact, I am not affiliated with any organized religion at all.
I AM a Jew and a claim that as a part of my culture and heritage and I am still in inquiry and discovery around how my Spirituality aligns with my Judaism.
None of that is the point.
I asked Keith what made the Bible a book of truths.
I asked him because I was curious. I’d recently read a book that made me want to ask. Keith and I have a lot of congruencies in our worldly and spiritual beliefs, and in some ways we certainly form oppositional gazes.
There is a phrase in Judaism - Tikkun Olam - that refers to the human responsibility to heal what is wrong with the world.
I asked Keith because I believe this is how the world heals. When we approach each other, not with the need to be right, but with the intention to be curious. This is how we come closer to one another amidst the differences we perceive as alienating.
I asked Keith not because I wanted either one of us to be right.
I asked Keith because I wanted to understand.
And you know what? Keith gave me the gift of HIS truth. He let me come closer to what he perceives and believes and in that, he removed some of the film from what I’d long misunderstood about this holy text. Hearing him healed some of the pain I’ve felt related to “evangelizing” throughout my lifetime. And as a result, I formed a new relationship to some of the teachings of what I can perceive as a valid Spiritual lineage wrought with wisdom and beauty. He spoke to me, not to evangelize someone who was vulnerable enough to be coming to him with questions, but to connect. To my heart from his and to humbly offer what he sees.
Together, it was safe to ask questions and share ideas about the Spirituality that breathes into us because neither was there to bring the other to “our side”. We were just two humans, opting to sit outside and feel the warm, Florida winter wind on our skin, eating tacos, and listening with the intention to do just that. Listen. To understand what we could. To come closer to each other.
I asked Keith because I need to ask everyone who sits on another side of an illusory fence from me.
I asked Keith because sometimes I don’t understand, but I want to have the courage and humility to invite people to help me do that.
I asked Keith because I want our world to heal.