I have written a new piece over at Relevantmagazine.com, Mother Teresa and the Experience of Doubt. It is strange to think of the well-known as actual human beings. One of my favorite passages from The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne is the one in which he describes his phone conversation with Mother Teresa. Shane writes about how, in his pursuit of living out his faith in Jesus with abandon and authenticity, he wrote to Mother Teresa to seek an “internship.” Through a bit of detective work, he was able to place a phone call to directly to the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta:

So I got the digits for Mother Teresa… we called at 2 a.m. from the pay phone in our college lounge. It began ringing. I was expecting to hear a formal greeting, “Missionaries of Charity, how can we help you?” Nope. I just heard an old raspy voice on the other end mutter, “Hullo.” Thinking I had the wrong number in Calcutta with the tab rolling at four dollars a minute, I started railing: “Hi-I’m-calling-from-the-USA-trying-to-reach-Mother-Teresa… I’m wanting to visit.” On the other end, I heard the muffled voice say, “This is the Missionaries of Charity. This is Mother Teresa.” My initial reaction was, “Yeah right, and I’m the pope.” But I held back. I told her we had written and wanted to come work with her… She said, “No, come for the summer. Come.” Come? Where would we eat and sleep? … She didn’t worry a lot about that. She said, “God takes care of the lilies and the sparrows, and God will take care of you. Just come.” Who am I to argue with that? I thanked her, and we hung up.

On June 20, 2007 the Simple Way community center in Philadelphia was destroyed — along with much of the neighborhood — in a massive fire. According to the latest news on the Simple Way site, it looks like they could use some people who are looking to pursue Christ with abandon and authenticity in their rebuilding efforts — in particular, roofers, carpenters and plumbers. If you’re in the area and can lend a hand, I’m sure they could use your help. Even if you’re not in the area, sending gift cards from Home Depot or Lowe’s would help purchase some of the tools they need in the rebuilding process.