Agent W

One of the more disturbing images I see from time to time is homeless people camped right up next to a locked church-house door – sometimes literally right against it under the shelter of the overhang of the roof or awning.  More often than not, I actually don’t see it (which also disturbs me).  And I recall a night about three years ago when I gathered up a group of street friends and suggested we go sleep at a church where I was attending, but the street friends protested strongly saying they did not want to wind up in jail!

A few weeks ago, Agent Mamma DJ and Agent V and I met Agent W in her camp spot on a tennis court in a park in central Lubbock.  Agent W is the one that had all the dogs.

I failed to even try to describe Agent W’s rig at the time.  The thing about her that caught our eye that day was the rig.  But it defies description, I think, and I just left it out of the report on account of that.  But if you had been there, you would have found it most remarkable – remarkable among eye-witnesses.

But how to describe it… to others who were not there to see it first hand?  hmmm….

I want to say go watch Mad Max in the Road Warrior.  But of course that is a fast paced movie with all manner of hot rod contraptions.  The “contraption” part is where we are getting close, however, I did not see the contraption move, but I imagine it moves very cumbersome and slowly.

I did not examine it when I was up close to it.  I was so very deeply engaged with Agent W herself at the time that I really did not notice where the shopping cart ended and the fence around the tennis court began.  But I think that if I called to your mind the skeletal frame of an old West covered wagon, and then transferred that picture onto a grocery buggy, and then loaded that with all manner of junk dangling off the scaffold contraption, then maybe, just maybe, you would begin to imagine the gaudy, tacky, and sophisticated trashiness on wheels that Agent W manages to relocate around town (along with five or six dogs).

It so happens that I have regular business that takes me up on 34th Street near Ave Q on a weekly basis.  There is a Sonic drive-in and a Family Dollar store there on 34th next to each other and flanked on either side of these neighboring businesses sits two small churches.

I have another memory from about three or four years ago when Ms. Jenny from Restoring Hope street ministry introduced me to a couple of guys who were sleeping behind one of those church buildings.  I recalled then that it was daring for those guys to sleep there, and they told me at that time they were staying away until they knew the pastor and all the congregants were gone.

Knowing that, I always glance back in that direction to look for evidence of squatters every time I drive through that part of 34th Street ever since.  And sure enough two weeks ago, I spotted Agent W’s rig back there across the parking lot from the church building and tucked almost out of sight behind the Family Dollar.  I drove up and spoke with Agent W briefly on that occasion and told her she is in my daily prayers.

But yesterday, as I was making my way through there, I saw her rig jammed up against the church-house door under the protection of the shade on a day with record-breaking heat.  I noticed no cars on the lot, suggesting that no pastor or congregants were currently around.

I did not stop to talk to her.  I was way too busy with foster care business, and I make a point not to seek out street homeless people when I have foster kids in the car with me.  I have no way of KNOWING, at this point, whether Agent W had express permission from the church to camp there like that, but I highly doubt it.  I doubt it because I have only ever heard of one church, Bacon Heights Baptist Church, that made such an arrangement with street people in Lubbock on the one hand, AND based on my experience with psych patients plus my conversations with Agent W, I expect she is delusional on the other hand and may well squat like that rather boldly without permission.

There are so many burdensome side issues raised in these observations I make here that I cannot address them all in a single post.  But I can, in under 800 words so far, do my best to create the snap shot of what I saw as I drove past.  It is a disturbing image.  “The least of these” camped outside the locked up church-house door in all the glory of junk a grocery buggy can possibly carry, and with six or more dogs all chained together making dog messes and passing the time away on a hot day like no one has a care in the world.

WWJD?

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15 comments

  1. clashofcashntrash · 28 Days Ago

    The sight of homeless people squatting on a church door step is disturbing and also not disturbing. What do you mean?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · 28 Days Ago

      Great question. I think my post could use a bit of sharpening up on that point, alright.

      When I see homeless people camped at church house doors, I think it is a shame the door is closed and they are not let in. When I see church doors with no one camped outside them, then I think it is a shame the needy aren’t flocking there trying to get close to Jesus (like we see all through the Gospels).

      Either way, it’s shameful, but each going along different lines.

      Hope that makes sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The Devotional Guy™ · 28 Days Ago

    I think most churches lock their doors when no one is there. I’m not sure that’s a measure of their compassion, but rather a by-product of having to protect the building from vandalism and theft. It would be great if we lived in a society where a church didn’t have to worry about being robbed or vandalized, but that’s not the case. Generally, churches lock their doors during the week even when staff members are there or limit access via one main entrance. Again, this isn’t due to their lack of compassion, but a means of security, particularly if they have an on-site school. I get what you’re saying though–it would be great if a church that had homeless people camping in front of it could/would reach out to them, invite them in, offer them food/shelter and such. Since they aren’t there to see them, they may be totally unaware that they are camping out there at night.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · 28 Days Ago

      Thanx for the comment, DG. So glad to have you, and I sense your comment gives voice to those I oppose, which is good since they are not responding. I mean, I could be wrong about that. It is possible they have some entirely different thinking behind having a door, locking it, and walking away, but I really expect they have concerns for vandalism and security and all that pretty much in line with your comment here.

      Actually, to be clear, I am saying that the desire to protect (what we might call self preservation) against vandalism, theft, and insecurity is a measure of their compassion, and its demonstrating the lack of it.

      Jesus does not teach us self preservation, he tells his disciples to take up their crosses and follow him, a teaching that leaves no room for self preservation at all. To follow Jesus is to die in his service. Church has gone the way of the society we fear, it seems, and that fear prevents us from opening the door to him (he says that stranger in need of hospitality is him in Matt. 25). He warns the door keeper to be alert for the Master’s return, but locking up the door and walking away is not alert, and when the poor embody him and camp outside it, then the door keeper is not worthy of the Master.

      On the other hand, I John 4 tells us that perfect love casts out fear! Thus, if we want to overcome our fears (of vandalism, theft, injury?) we must love more – which points back directly at the compassion we sacrifice for “security”.

      Somewhere along the way, church became a social club, a business, a school and perhaps some other things too. Pastors have careers and so forth. They have all this STUFF to lose and protect and all that. It was a subtle shift, but it happened, and we now chafe at the idea of a cross. So did St. Peter at first. And Jesus said to him, Get behind me Satan. You do not have the things of God in mind, but the things of man…. And that is exactly what social clubs, businesses, schools and so forth have in mind.

      I am grateful for a chance to hammer this out in these terms. I truly hope some of my church leaders will read this and find their concerns answered.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Devotional Guy™ · 28 Days Ago

        I agree that this is the case with some churches. But I think we make a mistake when we lump all the churches in one big mixing bowl. Plus, I know a lot of churches who are actively present in their communities, transforming lives for Jesus, showing compassion and ministering to people in all walks of life, including the homeless. It’s easy to throw rocks, regardless of what POV we approach this from. For instance, what do you do when you start a benevolence ministry and people show up who aren’t really in need, but just looking to take advantage of your compassion?
        I agree, we should all strive to be more Christ-like in our walk and respond more like Jesus in our day-to-day. I agree, the church can and must do better. I’m not sure how tearing it down lifts up the homeless.
        I always appreciate our conversations and like you, I’m grateful to have the opportunity to hammer this out. Like you, I struggle with what Christ calls me to be and how that plays out in my daily life. I also struggle with what Jesus calls the church to be and what too often it is and is not.
        But, I think it starts with each of us, as members of the body of Christ, doing what we know to do and praying God will give us strength to do what at times we feel we are unable to do. Grateful for you brother.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Agent X · 28 Days Ago

        DG, thanx for visiting again! Your careful and thoughtful and respectful comments are welcome here! Deeply appreciated, actually. Thanx.

        I am glad we agree on so much. Let me respond on the few points where there seems to be either disagreement or misunderstanding.

        We agree this is the case with SOME churches, but it is a mistake to lump ALL churches in one big mixing bowl…

        I keep hoping this is not the case for ALL churches. I am looking for even one that is the exception. I have experienced a couple of partial exceptions, but precious little. I have volunteered with Family Promise here in Lubbock in the past, and this ministry (historically, if not presently) networked with churches around town to open their doors to host two, three, or four homeless families at a time. Mom and kids, and sometimes dads too. And a church would network creating a circuit for these families where class rooms in the building would be converted into bedrooms on a one week basis, and the more churches involved, the less often our number would come up, which was 3 or 4 times a year. Members would volunteer to chaperone the families and sleep in a neighboring room.

        This was very close to a good ideal, in my mind, in that a church actually hosts needy people! What a concept!!! However, it limited this work to only families and only a few times a year. The need is FAR bigger than that. But it was a terrific start. However, I don’t know of any churches that matured the ideal, and in fact, in recent times I have heard about Family Promise purchasing property relieving churches of ever hosting in their own facilities anymore. I think that is the wrong direction.

        I also volunteered with Lubbock’s Premier Homeless Pseudo Church (Not its real name) for a couple of years. They were doing a lot more Christlike work in the early days. Once upon a time, Lubbock city ordinance did not allow them to host the homeless at night to sleep in their facility. The church was faced with following Jesus and braking the law or following the law and betraying Jesus. They found a daring and creative civil disobedient solution. They held all night prayer vigils and invited the poor to come in and pray, and no one got upset if a homeless person fell asleep praying. As long as at least one volunteer was awake (taking turns keeping watch) all night, it was a prayer vigil, and it skirted the law! However, over time, this church “bought in” to those other worries you bring up about being taken advantage of by the undeserving poor, and eventually decided to “teach these people a lesson” by kicking them out to the cold of night again.

        You know a lot of churches doing a lot of good work transforming lives and helping people in other areas of life and with other kinds of needs, and so do I. The church I currently worship with does some wonderful work esp with foster care. They have other worthwhile missions, too, I think. And I don’t disparage any of that one bit! They can have my praise for that kind of stuff, but like every other church in town, they lock up the building at night and leave it empty (except for the occasional youth group lock in). And there is no excuse for this when Jesus, the least of these, mills around just outside – especially in the cold of winter. Matthew 25 makes no mention of the we-were-doing-other-good-work excuse, but there is judgment for failure to take the stranger in.

        I also am not throwing rocks here. On the contrary, I am knocking on that door. I am blunt about it, sure, but why help those inside ignore the knock I am bringing to them. If the noise inside is that loud, I must knock louder still to be heard over it.

        As to the concern about people taking advantage of compassion. So what? Got a verse for that? Does Jesus say, give to all who ask unless they are just going to take advantage of you? What happens when he heals ten lepers? What happens when he dies on a cross? Did he ever help anyone who just took advantage of him? Did he shut down the compassion for fear of this? I suggest that if there is an error to avoid there, lets err on the side of compassion.

        Finally, I never saw myself as tearing down anything. I see myself as opening a door. I suppose we could think of it as tearing down a barrier. But opening the door works fine in my view.

        That is Jesus outside these church buildings (Matt 25). And Jesus says, Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If you open up, I will come in and eat with you. (Rev. 3).

        I am glad to have this exchange with you. I hope you find me as respectful as I find you.

        I think we need a new world view. I think our idea of church is really trapped in a box… in some very modern American expectations that look and feel a lot more like social club etc than like the Body of Christ, the man walking those dusty Galilean trails mobbed by all those broken needy people. One of these is Jesus and the other is a franensteinish monster of our own creation.

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  3. The Devotional Guy™ · 28 Days Ago

    Yes, I find our discussions are healthy. We do agree on a lot and disagree respectfully on some other points. But I think that’s what iron sharpening iron is all about. I can certainly find a ton of verses that encourage me to give to anyone who asks. No doubt. I also see how a pastoral staff might wonder if they are practicing good stewardship of God-given resources if they knowingly give money intended for someone who is needy to someone who is deceitful. And they are charged to be good stewards of the resources they are given.

    But this is the same dilemma you and I face (at least I do) when I walk out of the grocery store and a panhandler approaches me and asks me for money. I have to decide how I’m going to respond. I’ve come to believe that my role is to be a cheerful giver and that what that individual does with my gift is something they will be accountable for.

    “And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Luke 3:11

    “So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” Romans 14:12

    “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” Ephesians 4:28

    Certainly, I don’t mean to insinuate that you’re simply throwing rocks. I get that you’re attempting to get the church’s attention–knocking on the door. I guess I see the church being attacked a lot these days and have become sensitive to insults hurled at the Bride of Christ (not by you, but in our world in general, and from within our own body at times). I’m simply hoping to add to the conversation by sharing my own personal experiences. I’ve worked at a church. I minister to people daily. I’m imperfect and attend an imperfect church full of imperfect people. Compared to where a big chunk of my ministry takes place, our church is an affluent North Dallas suburb. The dichotomy of these two worlds can be extremely striking.

    I don’t deny that the church is often trapped in a box that is unlike anything Jesus ever intended. And I think it is good to challenge it, just as it is good to challenge ourselves and hold each other accountable, in unity and in love. We need to proclaim Christ to a lost, fallen, hurting world. We need to show Jesus in our daily walk and in our deeds. We’re either pointing people to the Cross or pushing them away. I believe we both strive to point people to Jesus and make each other stronger from these digital conversations.

    Blessings my brother. Keep on doing the good work you are doing. And definitely keep on blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · 27 Days Ago

      I have addressed stewardship a time or two on this blog in the past as it relates to keeping the church door locked with Jesus (the least of these) locked outside it. Personally, I think we are misusing the idea of stewardship in general here, and especially as it concerns whether we give a dollar to a bum we meet on the street. But even that is mixing oranges and apples to a degree as far as this post is concerned.

      Being pressed for time and all today, but still thinking about our discussion here… let me cut n paste a large part of a post I offered about a year ago that I hope reframes the discussion. When we start throwing the word stewardship around too loosely we are pitting it against God’s will and using it as a smoke screen behind which to do that.

      Consider these words from Tony Campolo (which I found in Mike Cope’s very old book)…

      The book is called Living in Two Worlds by Mike Cope.  I am not recommending the book, but I think this tidbit from it will be worth your time.
      From Page 54 and 55:
      The kingdom of God, not things, should be central to our lives (1 Timothy 6:11-16).  At the core of our lives should be found, not cars or homes or IRAs, but the kingdom of God.  Jesus put it this way:  “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and then all the things you really need will be added to your lives.”
      Tony Campolo tells of a Mennonite conference debating their historic position that a Christian shouldn’t fight in a war.  A wealthy old Mennonite gentleman who wanted to be able to protect what he had if anyone invaded his property attacked the position.  He was answered by a younger Mennonite.  “It’s all right for you to talk in this lofty manner,” the old gentleman said, “but one of these days they’ll come and take everything you have.”
      The young man responded, “This poses no problem for me.  You see, Sir, when I became a Christian, I gave everything I had to Jesus.  If they come, they can take from me what belongs to him, and that’s his problem.”
      “All right,” the old man responded, “They can’t take what you have because you don’t have anything, but they can kill you.”
      The young man answered, “No, they can’t.  You see, Sir, I’m already dead.  When I became a Christian, the life that belongs to this world came to an end, and the new life that I received in Christ can never be snuffed out.”
      In frustration, the older man said, “They may not be able to take what you have and they may not be able to kill you, but they can make you suffer.”
      Once again the young man answered, “When that day comes, I hope I will remember the words of Jesus, who said, ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ You see, Sir, there is not much you can do to somebody who doesn’t have anything, who’s already dead, and who rejoices in persecution.”
      If the kingdom of God is at the heart of our lives, we can use the things we have to his glory.  It’s not right or wrong to be rich or poor.  But wherever God has placed you in this life, be sure that you possess your things as a steward of God and that they don’t possess you.
      I wonder if, when Mike Cope wrote these words way back in 1987, he imagined all those Christian homes he was preaching to with their guest bedrooms going empty night after night being filled with the homeless.  If he did, he did not tell us and we did not think it, but the implication certainly seethes beneath the surface of his words anyway.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The Devotional Guy™ · 26 Days Ago

        Interesting perspective. Personally, I lock my front door at night and keep my truck locked as well. While I’ve ministered countless times at the local homeless shelters, I’ve never invited anyone of them to stay with me. You?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Agent X · 26 Days Ago

        DG,

        Thanx.

        Personally, I lock my front door at night, I keep my truck locked as well, also. Likewise, I ministered countless times at homeless shelters. And yes. I have invited street homeless people to my home for meals many times AND to stay the night many times also.

        Also, I have been burgled by both strangers and friends. I am pretty sure that 100%, or very close to it, have stolen from me. It can be very painful. And I even called the cops once, and the friend went to jail for a year. Actually, that is a long complex story, but it happened.

        These days I keep foster children. Every room in this house has someone sleeping in it, and some rooms have extra. Foster kids are homeless too.

        Like

  4. T. F. Thompson · 26 Days Ago

    Personally, I see a difference between a church being locked and someone being locked out. The locked out part, I think is where we all agree.and surely we are all against that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · 26 Days Ago

      Ohhh… Tom! Thanx for putting this back in perspective a bit.

      I openly confess that my post is overly wordy with run-on sentences and all that, but I did state that I was offering a snap shot with it. I was capturing an image. Yes, I have a bit of backstory to provide, but basically there is this image. No, I don’t have clear information about the pastor and whether he gave Agent W permission, but I have reason to believe otherwise.

      I am cool with discussing all the stuff about giving to the poor, the deserving poor, decided who is deserving all about stewardship and all that. It is related stuff, I agree, but it runs the risk of making is so we don’t see this one tree for obstruction of the whole forest. And that too, I believe, is one of our manipulative tactics to avoid the issue (if we are not very careful).

      I already have plenty of reason to believe that even if – EVEN IF – even if this pastor granted permission to Agent W to be there like that, it is the exception, not the rule! In Lubbock, such permission is not given hardly at all. And I have asked street people about such matters. I find it odd that they don’t give these matters much thought usually, but then that means their answers are more candid. And in my, admittedly anecdotal, experience, street people FEAR the church will run them off AND throw them in jail for such shelter.

      Couple this with other evidence such as “no trespassing” and “no loitering” signs mounted around church property at several churches. Couple it with evidence that absolutely no church (to my knowledge) has publically invited the poor to take shelter with them on TV, on billboards, in the Newspaper, on flyers, or through word of mouth. On the contrary, plenty of them (with the Premier Homeless Pseudo Church (not its real name)) actually denounce directly helping the homeless! If you want to give money, they say, send it to the professional helpers instead of the poor, they say. And just ASSUMING they never dip in the till or use it unwisely, this still does not say anything about how much of it winds up paying overhead expenses, NOR does it say anything about how Jesus tells his disciples to give to all who ask and even to sell everything and give it all to the poor.

      So, yeah, even if this pastor is the exception, the picture is still a STUNNER! That door is closed to the lady like Jesus with a lock on him.

      Now, of course, when you approach all this with a very modern, American mindset influenced by country-club Christianity, greed, and insidious contempt for the poor, it is EASY to think – X, you are out of your mind! A pastor’s gotta go home sometimes and that church has a right to lock up their precious stuff to keep it safe from vandals and so forth when they are not around.

      Yeah, that is an easy conclusion from that point of view.

      But IF you look at it from her point of view it starts looking different.

      Let’s switch from hot to cold a moment, because I have better personal experience with that. I have camped on church house door steps in the cold of night with the poor. It is miserable! And I am dead sure that if the deacon in charge of locks and keys were there camping with us, it would occur to him that we would all be warmer and safer if we went inside. I cannot in my wildest dreams imagine deacon Doorkey laying there shivering all night long out of love for the-least-of-these Jesus and it never dawn on him to open the door!

      But, BUT, but, this is still not a biblical viewpoint. And I think dear old Pastor Bates should have that viewpoint in mind first and foremost all along.

      There is no way around the Matthew 25 passage. It is a judgment passage. IN the great coming Judgment, just what excuse does Pastor Bates think he is going to give? Do you think this “pastor” will say to Jesus, “When did I see you a stranger and not let you in?”

      No. He will know better, and thus take his place with the goats – UNLESS he repents now and lets Jesus in! The door keeper is warned by Jesus elsewhere to be ALERT, you do not know the day or hour when the Master of the house will return!!!

      Honestly, that alone should be ENOUGH to settle the matter. It’s not like we need to run looking and go to digging up every possible exception or loophole to the very clear demands these passages place on us. Do you really think that you can pit a passage from I Thessalonians or II Timothy against this passage and temper it? Are you going to take the hot seat in the Judgment and say to the King, I was just following orders!??? I didn’t take you in because I was trying to be a good steward of YOUR stuff, so I didn’t share it with the needy, (but I sure indulged all my whims with it!)??? Are you going to lecture God on his own Word???

      But lets get back to that snap shot I tried to create in your mind of Agent W and her dogs and that rig jammed up under the shade against the locked church house door. Let’s look at that against the Bible.

      A woman came to Jesus. She did not ask permission, nor did she receive it. But she came and reached out to him seeking relief for her life. (Sound like a story you know in the Bible?) How does this turn out in the Bible? And why isn’t it turning out like that down on 34th Street?

      The woman reaches out and just touches the hem of his garment! Not even his skin, just the hem of his garment! And he FEELS THE POWER GO OUT OF HIM!

      okay back up and look at this again…

      The woman reaches out and just sits on the step of this churches front door. But since the pastor was not there at that moment to run her off, he never felt any power go out, and since he was not there to run her off, she never felt the power of his rejection (thank God).

      How on earth will we ever be the Body of Christ we so proudly claim we are on our marquee in our bulletin, and on our website?

      We need a different worldview, and different self assessment a full body repentance!

      Here’s the thing…

      I know that pastor cant be there watching 24/7 to welcome her or any of her friends – ahem – I mean guard the property from such people. But 34th street is no stranger to the homeless, as the newspapers tell us nearly every week. That pastor cant be that stupid to not know such people are rummaging through the alley and up and down the sidewalk just feet outside that front door. IF that pastor wanted to welcome her or any of these people, he doesn’t need to take a class on helping the homeless; he need only practice the stuff he preaches about Jesus doing.

      I am not against a lock on the door per se, but the way it is being used by the church of Lubbock (assuming we really need it) betrays our self image. We are a contemptuous lot! If we wanted to invite Jesus in, we certainly can! All those clever messages on that marquee make this clear enough.

      Meanwhile Jesus stands there (also a biblical image) pounding on that door saying, “Behold! I stand at the door and knock! If you open up, I will come in and party with you….” (Rev. 3:20).

      My whole point here is how sad it is that he is knocking be he can’t come in!

      Please, please, please… Somebody open the door! That’s Jesus out there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • T. F. Thompson · 26 Days Ago

        It all comes down to whether or not Jesus is welcome at our churches. Mostly not.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. The Devotional Guy™ · 26 Days Ago

    I agree. There is “a difference between a church being locked and someone being locked out.” I have found Jesus to be welcome at numerous churches. All? Most? Don’t know. Not sure. I know that there are churches far removed from the Gospel. I also know that there are churches doing their best to live out the Gospel, locally and globally. Are churches perfect? Of course not. There are people involved and people aren’t perfect. But I personally know Christians who care, are compassionate, try to love others the way God has loved them, and strive to be Christlike. Do we fall short? No doubt. I’ve found that I’m a good starting point for any change I want to see. I may not be able to control what the church does, but I can control what I do. Am I being compassionate? Am I loving my neighbor, especially my downtrodden homeless brothers and sisters? Am I pointing people to Christ? Can I encourage my fellow church members to do their best to point people to Jesus?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · 26 Days Ago

      Thanx for visiting again!

      I remember when I was a kid, a large part of my growing up happened in a small West Texas town where we did not lock our doors … ever really. Everybody knew everybody else, and we pretty much knew when a neighbor was home or out of town, and often were asked to feed the pets and water the plants etc. There was basically NO FEAR, but that is because there was a very strong, though subtle, TRUST going on throughout the community.

      Today that is views as quaint and or naïve. But I think the church is the group of people who live with a different kind of worldview and models a different way to live. One that embodies trust like the small town experience, only even more so. We are heavens ambassadors living out the lifestyle of God’s good creation in the midst of this dark age like a light. That appears naïve, but actually, it is very brave.

      I too see myself as the starting point for change. Sadly it got me kicked out of one church and shunned at another. Even now, I am in trouble with leadership where I currently belong after they held a class for how to deal with the poor and homeless, and I challenged it so deeply that many people are upset with me over it. Amazingly, I am called “unloving”. How ironic is that? I am the only one taking a stand for bringing in the poor on a cold night, and that is so upsetting that I get in trouble over it AND labeled as “unloving”. Hmmm…

      I understand that following Jesus involves risk. Faith involves risk, by definition. I too get scared. I have not faced every fear in my own life. But I push myself out of God’s way every day and seek after him where it hurts, where it scares me, and definitely where it scares my church friends too.

      We can do better. All of us.

      But saying that is not enough.

      Liked by 1 person

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