This picture was taken on my walk through Cal State University in Berkeley on Tuesday, January 30, where there are a group of students protesting the removal of a section of oak trees in order to build a new gym facility. Some of them have built platforms and are actually living in the branches in makeshift shelters. It is amazing to me the various causes that people will get behind and pursue with a zeal that makes many of us uncomfortable. What is worthy of my public protest? What would I live in a tree for? What would I lose my so-called respectability for? I used to be quite the religious zealot (with judgmental tendencies often masquerading as zeal), going around telling people Christian rock music was an oxymoron and the celebration of Christmas by giving gifts might steal your soul (I even renamed it "Gift-mas"). Zeal without wisdom and love is a fire that can easily bring destruction to the very causes it means to spread and the people that encounter it. Thank God that he continues to show us his mercy and gracefully teaches us a better way.
Currently, I am a generally easy-going and fairly unopinionated person, so there are few issues I would sign up or go on record as being a staunch supporter or activist for, but when it comes to people I love, I believe that I have developed some fanatical tendencies. I want everyone to know that I am Dean's biggest fan and would do the silliest, embarrassing thing just to make him smile. I have no problem traveling long distances just to spend a few hours or days with the people God has put on my heart. I usually stop everything I am doing when a friend wants to talk to me on msn - because "stuff" can always be done later. My highest calling is to be a friend - of God, of Dean, of those Jesus points out to me as important in my life. Friendship takes time, and we all have equal amounts of that; it just depends who or what you want to spend it on.
Trees ARE important: Jesus did not think it beneath him to be nailed to a tree in order to make my (and your) friendship with God possible, so like Zaccheus, I will not think it too foolish to climb a tree to see God more clearly.