I sometimes receive emails from readers telling me they love my columns so much they read them to their Bible study group.

It’s a nice compliment, but on the other hand, I work hard to make this column about spirituality in everyday life, not just Sunday school life.

I want it to appeal to those who are unconnected or disconnected to church. And because of that I encourage editors to place me on the community pages or the Living section and off the church page.

And please, keep me as far as possible from the fashion pages. I’m definitely not a fashionable guy.

But if I was writing a fashion column, I’d tell you about my trip last week through the St. Louis airport where I saw men of various ages dressed in, well, I-don’t-know-what.

I saw a young man with trousers riding low enough to qualify him for entrance into the Plumbers Union. I saw old men wearing pants high enough to double as a face mask. And of course, more than enough middle-aged men wearing sweatpants to accommodate their growing bellies.

The fashion didn’t improve much on the plane, where I sat across from a girl with fingernails painted traffic-cone orange. She was prewired to her phone and didn’t notice me.

With so many fashion-challenged children of God, airport crowds do make a good segue. Cue Bible study.

That’s because the airport crowd reminded me of the one Jesus likely encountered as he walked into a city looking to recruit a Band of Brothers who would change the world.

Unlike me, he had a keen eye for the quality of the soul over the quality of the fabric, the cut of a man’s character over the cut of his shirt.

This is the eye Jesus used to quickly single out an eager young recruit named Phillip who followed him without so much as blinking.

Exhilarated at being chosen, Phil found his bud, Nathanael, and begged him to come and meet the teacher from Nazareth.

Upon meeting Nathanael, Jesus quickly pronounced, “Now, here’s the real deal. Not a false bone in his body.”

Nat, not easily moved by flattery, asked, “Where’d you get that idea? You don’t know me.”

Nat was partially right. The two had never been formally introduced, but Jesus had observed Nathanael on several occasions where he sat under a fig tree, deep in thought.

The best translation of the scripture says that Nat was a man “without guile.” That means he didn’t try to hide who he was. He didn’t demonstrate any pretense in his choice of clothing, friends or mannerisms.

Well, it’s not because he was intrinsically happy with who he was. He knew he was not completely accessorized, so he was willing to undertake a fearless inventory of his soul closet.

And I think it was his self-awareness about truly lacking something that made him a prime candidate on the first-round draft pick for a disciple.

In that moment, Nathanael discovered the most profound truth of all: God is always able to pick us out of the crowd. But, he sees us best when we lay aside our pretense and all the religious fashion that goes with it.

Next week, I return to regular programming in the everyday life sections.

And, just to be clear, if this were a fashion column, I surely wouldn’t be the author.

Readers: I return to Honduras next month to help establish the 86th library for Chispa Project. As of this date, the library isn’t fully funded. Can you help us reach our goal to create six new libraries this year, reach 4,000+ more students and 200 teachers and buy 9,000 new books? Every $100 donation will provide library access to four children.

Give online today at Chispaproject.org/chaplain or make check to “Chispa Project.” Send to 10556 Combie Rd. Suite 6643 Auburn, CA 95602. Email comment@thechaplain.net or message at (843) 608-9715. www.thechaplain.net.

By admin