from Dietrich Bonhoeffer Life Together:
"God did not make others as I would have made them. God did not give them to me so that i could dominate and control them, but so that i might find the creator by means of them... God does not want me to mold others into the image that seems good to me, that is, into my own image. Instead, in their freedom from me, God made other people in God's own image. I can never know in advance how God's image should appear in others and two others. That image always takes on a completely new and unique form."
Bonhoeffer points something out here vitally important to us, esp. to ministers. this is something i should have tattooed over my heart and on my forehead. others aren't a roadblock to God, they're the super highway. I've seen recently too many "christians" say things like "I just hope you find the true Christ." or "i hope you're striken to your knees and find christ as we've found him" or "there is only one way"...
how many people are on this planet? a few billion. good. each one is a different way to God. you can learn something different from each. take away the notion of "only those who actively come in the name are the only ones worth paying attention to" because that's just short-sighted. God isn't the most obvious, infact God is very subtle. there are better ways than a sunrise to let people know that you're there, but that's the method i see God reminds us everyday that God's there... discard notions of secular.. there's no such thing. God is everywhere. The trick is to be atuned to seeing God and finding God in unexpected places.
We do not have control of one another.. as a pastor i don't WANT control over others. i want to enter into dialog and see how that reflects back on us both... let's look at the strange feedback loop we've created.