Tag Archives: spirituality

AWOL For the Greatest Humanitarian Crisis of All Time

AWOL Absence With Out LeaveYikes. It is super hard sometimes to take a an honest look at myself, at my family, at the culture of church that I am so proud to have been raised in and be a part of. But to be open and honest with our faults and failures is the only way to be real. It’s the only way I believe to start making a difference and to truly loving on people. If a broken people can’t and don’t feel loved and accepted, if we can’t show each other the warts, we can’t fully build trust and love.

Well, this chapter showed the warts of the Church. There were times I was cringing! I was thinking of a good friend who is a very vocal atheist and flat out against “religion” (if he only understood that I TOO am against “religion”). But I was thinking of him while reading this chapter and hoping he never really found out some of this stuff, even though it’s such a huge vocal part of the history of the world AND the Church. But I would think, “Is this why? Is this why he is so angry?” There are moments while reading where I see his point.

We have historically been AWOL when it mattered. Nobody reminded us more of this than the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.~

We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people… I felt we would be supported by the white church… Instead some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leader; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained-glass windows.

Yikes. I pray that God will reveal to me where I am more cautious than courageous. Where am I remaining silent? The Church, yes, the Church needs reform, we need to understand TRULY IN OUR HEARTS and lived out through our lives the normal automatic marriage of faith and works – this is the way to proclaim God’s love for a people who desperately need hope and who desperately need a meal. But it doesn’t start with “The Church”. It starts, with me. What am I doing? What am I not doing? What do I need to START doing?

The passage by John Stott that Rich quoted (I won’t write all of it but I highly encourage you to re-review it because it’s awesome) rocked my world:

Just so, if society deteriorates and its standards decline until it becomes like a dark night or a stinking fish, there is no sense in blaming society; that is what happens when fallen men and women are left to themselves, and human selfishness is unchecked The question to ask is “Where is the Church? Why are the salt and light of Jesus Christ not permeating and changing our society?” It is sheer hypocrisy on our part to raise our eyebrows, shrug our shoulders, or wring our hands. The Lord Jesus told us to be the world’s salt and light. If therefore darkness and rottenness abound, it is largely our fault and we must accept the blame.

So there it is. In black and white. Extremely clear. Lord, forgive me. Help me see where I have been a hypocrite and help me change, give me the courage to Do. Something. Because that’s where is starts. Without those two words moved into action, we really are AWOL for the greatest humanitarian crisis of all time.

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Chapter 5 – The Three Greatest Commandments

I cannot get away from the simple three words that continue, not haunt me (although it feels that way sometimes because they are everywhere), but follow me. No matter what I read through scripture, through this book,  through conversation with others, through the message at church. I can’t get away from them.

It. All. Matters.

It’s that simple.

Two things struck me in this chapter. The first was an incredibly long sentence that was even more impactful because it was only one sentence I think. It was actually a quote from N.T. Wright, from his book Surprised by Hope:

Every act of love, gratitude, and kindness; every work of art or music inspired by the love of God and delight in the beauty of his creation; every minute spent teaching a severely handicapped child to read or to walk; every act of care and nurture, of comfort and support, for one’s fellow human beings and for that matter one’s fellow nonhuman creatures; and of course every prayer, all Spirit-led teaching, every deed that spreads the gospel, build up the church, embraces and embodies holiness rather than corruption, and makes the name of Jesus honored in all the world – all of this will find its way, through the resurrecting power of God, into the new creation that God will one day make.

Do you see it? It all matters. And not only does it all matters, but it all matters in a big way, in an eternal way. I kind of like to do things big, in a big way, and can find myself  stressing or being frustrated with myself for not accomplishing that. My friend Caleb once told me, “We can only do what we can do. God will work out the rest.” It has stayed with me since he said it (and this was with him in Haiti and me in Target with a one-year-old son who wouldn’t stop yelling, “Mom! Mooom! MOOOOM!” So the message had to be powerful to get through – ha ha!).

And it keeps getting repeated over and over and over through  various channels and mediums. God can take the small and turn it into big, turn it into forever. It’s kind of humbling to think about. And kind of awesome. We can make a big difference no matter the status of our checkbook, title on the business card, or the name embroidered on our shirt, whether children have let us shower and we look into the mirror at the end of the day and think, “What did I even accomplish today?” – if even one act of kindness, a moment in prayer, anything to love on others and further the gospel happened throughout the hectic, hurried day – you, we, just left our fingerprint on eternity.

Here’s number 2. Pastor Ourng (his picture is above). His then church of 83 people, teaching, trying to gain understanding through only the Bible. Longing for other resources when I have everything I want at my fingertips. Just speaking with a friend this weekend about a book she recommended and I have it on my list. One I can download at a moment’s notice onto my Kindle. I take that for granted. It is something to be cherished.

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