Gospel Matt is a regular guy, but he’s kind of a big deal, too. He works for a monumentally important person in a big building in DC. He lives in a fairly dangerous neighborhood, and is no stranger to guns, point blank. He’s married to a great wife, and they have a little one on the way. So I’m sure his life is filled with many stresses and pressures, yet he keeps a pretty level head.
So when I unexpectedly bumped into Matt and the Mrs. at a conference on the church’s response to poverty in the city, he looked a little different. He was friendly and all, but slightly less engaged than normal. Turns out he was delivering a short talk after the main speaker, so he was clutching some notes, along with a slight preoccupation with this important role. So I was in the unusual position of seeing him nervous.
He rocked the (packed) house, of course, weaving together humor and penetrating thought effortlessly and directly (he even explained the real reason that many of us call him ‘Gospel Matt’). But even better than that, he brought himself. A guy who moved into a difficult neighborhood before most anyone had even heard of the term ‘gentrification’. A friend to his neighbors, and a neighbor to strangers. A mentor to several troubled kids who turned out to be staggeringly brilliant, gifted students, and bright lights in their own right– kids who will no doubt be fielding offers of college scholarships in a few years, and following in Matt’s footsteps after that.
So I was pleased to see Gospel Matt casting some compelling vision, showing the rest of us how it’s done, and demonstrating how we can be transformed in the process. Even better, I got to see many heads turn toward him and his wife when the meeting commenced, and then had the pleasure of extricating myself from the wave of people who converged on him afterward.
That’s my man Matt.