Slowly Kicking Jesus (and me) Out of Church: The Beginning of the End (from the archives)

Archived 2013

In recent posts I have begun (temporarily) breaking with tradition on this blog and using actual names. So, let’s talk about that a moment.

Since I find the content of a few old journals so compelling and important to share, and since the narratives offered in them are so saturated with names, I will use first names of real people in the telling of these stories as an exception to the overall practice of this blog. It will keep things less confusing (something I have been criticized for in the past when several characters are portrayed as Agent This and Agent That over and over within a single account).

However, I will restrain myself from using any real names of any real people with whom I am in conflict or controversy (including my own name or those closest to me). I also will continue to use pseudonyms for institutions, organizations, and churches. If I attract local readers, especially those familiar with the streets of Lubbock, there is a strong chance they will know who I am referring to, but not necessarily, and people not local will almost certainly not know or figure it out.

Okay, enough with the disclaimers. From this point on, I will copy from the journal(s) with minimal editing and let the entries speak for themselves. I will be happy to entertain questions and fill out more context if needed in the comments section below.

Here is the entry:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


The first thing to say is that TECHNICALLY it did NOT freeze last night. However, there is a powerful wind chill this morning that the weatherman claims feels like 29 degrees F.  (I do not believe wind chill can be objectively measured, but I do believe it is a real phenomenon.)

Anyway, I had offered to chaperone the street-homeless in the [Premier Homeless Pseudo Church]’s building last night if only they would open it up.  [I have been deployed as a volunteer for this service many times before.]  I was informed (later – via text msg) that [Pastor Bates] had decided against it.  But my offer had been made publicly in front of a handful of people who would have benefited.  [Btw, I prefer we do this kind of decision making out in the open rather than behind closed doors.  Leadership should be held accountable, I think.  I also happen to think that text msg communications are one of the weaker ways to handle official business. (Necessary, sometimes, of course, but so full of pitfalls that opportunities to avoid it should be taken – unless of course you want to keep you decisions and decision-making process on the DL.)]

This morning I stopped in at [Premier Homeless Pseudo Church] again and spoke to (and/or in front of) [Tiny], [Agent J], [Other Agent J], [R-man], [Agent D], Patty and others.  [Other Agent J] spoke of how cold it was and lamented that my offer to help had not been accepted.

[Tiny] made some off-hand remark about how that only people “on the team” can open the doors to chaperone the others.  No one made a distinction of whether I was part of that team or not, but I wondered about it.  [Having been a valued volunteer in the past, I didn’t really know.  Of course, since I was getting most of my information from “underlings” excluded from the power-broker meetings, I suspected I was not.]  I began asking nosy questions of [Tiny] to try and fish out more information without directly asking him if I had been excluded from “the team”.  We thus hashed out some issues, but settled nothing.

I asked, “Is there a temperature threshold we must reach [as a matter of policy] in order to decide it is time to open the building?”  [Tiny] seemed confused by the idea, but [Other Agent J] was not.  We explained to [Tiny] that [the other (here nameless) major homeless ministry in town] has a publicized policy that when the temp’s fall below freezing by 5pm, they open their doors – no questions asked.  [R-man] actually corrected this observation saying it triggers at 6pm instead of 5pm.

Still, [Tiny] did not know.

It all seems suspicious to me.  I am intrigued that [Tiny] is not better informed, and besides, his off-hand comment that started me fishing suggests (though does not prove) that he may know more than he is letting on.  I also have seen evidence over the past year that [Tiny] bends a lot of rules from time to time because he does not really find them to be right or good sometimes.  However, he is a junior partner [a none-decision making team member].  And I have sensed on some occasions (though this is not proof either) that he subtly has reached out to me for encouragement as he feels caught between rules he doesn’t like and pleasing his boss.

That is all speculation, I know, but my guts tell me there is truth being shrouded in that confusion – and I have long ago learned that these gut feelings are very rarely wrong.  And if I am right, about these suspicions, I expect [Tiny] will roll with me until the pinch is on, then he will back out on me.  He is a “bruised reed” – in my book.

But I do love and pray for him by name frequently.  I will continue to do that – even if he sells me out.  Jesus would.  So will I.  But I will not lean on this “bruised reed” either.

I do not envy [Tiny’s] position.  He does lack understanding.  But he has taken the role of a shepherd nonetheless.  I figure Satan will sift his soul.

*On the apocalyptic side of things, I believe we are a ministry driven by Republican/conservative politics who/which reach(es) out to the poor (typically Democrat/liberal domain).  This means we are trying to baptize Democrat ministry in conservative waters.

Conservatives hold that each person should be responsible for themselves.  The poor and needy have lost their way in the realm of personal (esp. fiscal) responsibility.  Yet conservatives also give lip service to the Bible and the God of the Bible.  This dictates clearly that Jesus shows concern for the poor and needy.  But, in the end, I said “lip service”, and not actually commitment to the very real, very deep, personal sacrifice Jesus clearly displays in a big waste on sinners!

…  [More of this upon request, but I doubt it proves useful from here on.  The rest of this entry is a lot of reflection on these matters, most of which (if you are a regular reader on this blog) you already expect from me.  If you are not, then it likely will not interest you.  However, I will share it IF someone really wants it.]

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