by Tony Nester

Ruth's Journey
Tony Nester
Ruth 1

I'm old enough to remember when televisions were first becoming a household possession. Today, of course, most homes have several televisions, just as we have more than one phone. But that's now how it was when I was a young child.

I remember the day when we learned who on our street had a television - black and white, of course. Several of us children would go up onto our neighbor's porch, put our faces up against their living room window, and peek through to see what we could on their TV screen.

That's one of my memories of being an outsider - peeking through that window looking in on someone else's living room and television.

Along the way I've had many other experiences of being an outsider:
• Moving to New York from Pennsylvania and living in someone else's home.
• Leaving my own United Methodist Conference in New Jersey and transferring to Iowa.
• Being a Methodist in a Roman Catholic spiritual retreat center.
• Being discovered to be a minister among a group of people who suddenly become uncomfortable because they don't want a minister inside their conversations.

We know the difference between being an insider versus being an outsider.

When I pastored a church in a very small town - population of 350 people - I tried visiting everyone in the town who wasn't connected with a church. I called on one man who told me he didn't attend church because he was a newcomer and knew people wouldn't pay him any mind. Since I had just arrived as a newcomer myself I saw that we had something in common. ''I came last June. When did you come?'' ''Twenty-years ago,'' he replied. Sometimes you can feel like an outsider forever.

Ruth was an outsider. Her story, and we're only touching on it briefly this morning, is the spiritual journey of an outsider.

Her story is important because many of us - all of us at sometime - feel like outsiders.

We look at other people who are doing so much better with G ...

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