Yes, I know it sounds like an Oldies’ radio station up in here right now, but that’s the reality of my life today. Let me give you some examples:
The other day I was browsing Facebook and I noticed that a clergy colleague was looking for suggestions on how she could update her 100+ year old sanctuary with more screens and better sound system for worship and events. Her ideas are, to my certain knowledge, very expensive to carry out. While I’m glad that her congregation has the funds to do these kinds of remodels to their building, I couldn’t help but wonder if there wasn’t some other use - some “missional” use - for the money. I happen to know that this particular congregation is in an urban location that has undergone gentrification in recent years . . .
A couple of hours later I answered the door to an elderly, homeless, blind woman. She was concerned that she was too late to receive food, because it was after the hours that we usually give out food. She was actually a whole day late, but that wouldn’t have kept me from helping her, if we’d had any food to give. But we don’t. I had to apologize because we had no food to give her - none at all. For some months now no one has brought food to our pantry - not church members, not the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, not any of the groups who meet in our church hall - no one. The cupboards are bare. It seems like there simply is no money in our community right now for people to buy food beyond what they need for their own families to eat . . .
Seeing both sides now. Church needs to reach out with great tech to bring people in. Church needs to forget about the tech and out out with food to care for the people.
Meanwhile . . . a woman and her daughter have been attending faithfully for a couple of months now. They’ve been working hard at our church work days. They’ve brought the fellowship meal once or twice. They participate in everything we do. And then one Sunday they weren’t there. I remembered the mom had said the daughter would be with her dad that week, so I wasn’t too worried until they didn’t show up again the second Sunday. I emailed, and got a response. They were with family, and she wanted to call later in the week with a question for me. The third Sunday they weren’t in worship I called. Mom is concerned that we are Open and Affirming, that I perform Gay Marriages and how that conflicts with what she learned growing up in a Fundamentalist congregation. She said she loves all the people in our church but is worried that her daughter will be exposed to things that are against God’s law. She was, however, willing to accept some reading materials and will come talk to me about her concerns after reading them . . .
A few days later, a lesbian who started attending the same 12 Step meeting that I also attend came to see me. She had missed the meeting last week after learning that I am the pastor of a Christian church. She thought maybe she wouldn’t be welcome where I was. That maybe I was judging her. She let what she believes to be true about what Christians believe get in the way of getting to know who I am as a person (and as a Christian). But she looked at my Facebook posts and prayed about it and talked to friends about it and decided to give me a chance, and return to the meeting I attend. . .
Stuck in the middle again. I’m a Christian so how can I accept “those people” over against I’m a Christian so I can’t possible accept “those people.”
This is my life today. What’s your’s like?