Patrick has never hit me but today it was close. “Go on then…Patrick hit me...c’mon on then...c’mon” I take off my glasses. I can feel his anger through the fist of cloth he has me by. But I know he is not going to hit me – he has never hit anyone.
He tries to side-step me. I refuse to let him by. I want to calm him down. I want to talk. He is pushing me as he tries to escape . “You alright mate…?” a driver of a passing - actually I am almost under it - 'dial-a-ride' van enquires. I weigh it up in my mind 'ok...I’m 6' 3"; 14 stone; 38, once quite sporty!?? and he is asking me if I am alright' – Patrick is 70 odd for goodness sake. “Yes thank you…” I reply politely...my pride hurt.
Minutes before I happened to see Patrick going for someone in our luncheon club; minutes before he had a new member - a sqeaky quiet unassuming little alcoholic guy - by the throat; minutes before Patrick was shaping up to hit this new guy. I know he is not going to hit him– he has never hit anyone! But the guy is clueless he doesn't know that. I bustle him out before he knows what has hit him and here we are jostling in the carpark!
Patrick is calming down- "Pat you went to hit me...you went to hit me". He honestly looks shocked as if he is coming out of a bad dream. Remorse is written across his face. I can see he is shaken. I try to make sense of it all.
I'm following the resentment and theologians debate over at Moot; Jonny Baker; Maggi Dawn - practical theology eh? impact of sociology on mission? lack of theology? Theologians in ivory towers? Smash them down etc...
I'm reading The Prophetic Imagination and uncover:-
"We are indeed made in the image of some God. And perhaps we have no more important theological investigation than to discern in whose image we have been made. Our sociology is predictably derived from, legitmated by, and reflective of our theology..."(Brueggemann 1978)
Patrick has long since made up with me and I with him. My thinking meanders on mulling over my interaction with Patrick; this debate which quite obviously seems to be pretty important for people; and the start of Brueggemann. A penny drops. This 'theological investigation to discern in whose image we have been made' starts with 'Patrick'.
Today Patrick hit me...not physically. Today I learned something and it kind of leaves the debate a little bland. Interesting but bland.
[BTW - Patrick is the only character I write about and use his real name - I want the world to know Patrick and not a pseudonym]