Grenades and Blue Like Jazz

I had a comment on one of my blog posts this morning that made me think a bit. It was on the post “Jesus to a 4 Year Old” and the person posted that we (Christians) are stupid and we’re corrupting our children and making them stupid. Wow. Good morning! I can understand that. There are many that have experienced Christians as judgmental, hypocritical, unethical, and dillusional. There are some who assume that to believe what we believe, we must be stupid, unenlightened, or just ignorant.

It’s ironic reading this comment after watching a screening of the Blue Like Jazz movie last night while at the Refresh campus ministry conference. If you know me, you know I’m a big supporter of the book and have been a big supporter of the movie. I didn’t know what to expect last night and was trying very hard not to get my hopes up or set the bar too high. The book and the movie are VERY different in a lot of ways. It was hilarious last night explaining the differences to the many who had not read the book yet. They are so different that the wonderful Donald Miller wrote a book about the making of the movie – A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Read it. (I may actually it more than Blue Like Jazz.)

Some of the questions afterwards were what kind of audience is this going to be directed to and why was it so different than the book, etc. This is not geared towards the Christian audience that would go see something like Fireproof or Soul Surfer. I don’t know if they would it make it through the slightly over the top first 5 minutes. It’s slightly more appealing to those of who believe that we can be authentic and real people of faith and can still enjoy a good sometimes crude laugh sometimes a la Jimmy Fallon or Bridesmaids. Even still to me it’s really geared to those who have railed against the church and the things that don’t add up when comparing the love and actions of God with the love and action of God’s followers.

The Book of Mormon Broadway musical writers said that it’s a love letter from atheists to people of faith. In some ways I can see this as a love letter from Christians to atheists. In a lot of ways that simplifies it way too much, but it is something different. I can’t say enough: read the book, read the book, read the book.

It’s easy to throw pot shots at each other – whether people of faith or those ticked off at the Church. It’s easy to make judgements and assumptions and believe in the cliches. It’s harder to engage and dialogue and admit fault -not just on a personal level but as this body of believers that we represent. I know there are times when I want to apologize to folks for what some do in the name of Christ and the church. I know there are times when we as Christians hate on each other and judge each other because of worship styles or how we live our lives. Part of it is admitting that there’s something wrong – that we are culpable or personally responsible for some of these things and not just pointing fingers at particular bodies or theologies or idealogies.

All this to say – talk to me – give me a dialogue on what you believe or don’t believe. Engage. Chat. Share a meal or grab a cup of coffee. Don’t just toss an anonymous grenade where you feel self-righteous and filled with purpose, actually get to know people and see them as who they are as people – not just what box you have put them in.

I’m saying this to myself as well. We have put up the walls to our boxes so high and so thick that we don’t get out of those very often…whether we’re scared or angry or indignant or ignorant as to the whos and whys outside of stereotypes. Do you have friends that aren’t Christian? Do you have friends on the fringe? Do you have friends who don’t look like you or talk to you or believe exactly as you do?

I admit that after seeing the movie last night, I’m a little nervous. I’ve used this book countless times in sermon illustrations and small groups. I’ve pitched the amazing story of funding the movie and how I believe in this thing that’s not Evangelical or Liberal but it’s one person’s story of faith and a journey we’re invited into. But the movie is a heck of a lot more risque than that and there are some seens that I’m like – can I promote this movie? Not just in campus ministry/college student land, but to multi-generational crowds? We don’t blink twice about some of the tv shows or movies we watch or what we read, but when we throw Jesus into it, it makes it that much more layered and complicated. So am I going to promote this knowing that there’s profanity and drinking and who knows what else not to mention the disregard and mockery of the church for much of the movie?

Are you? What do you think as pastors, as lay people, as Christians, as people of faith in a sometimes hostile world and a sometimes blissfully presumptive world??

http://www.bluelikejazzthemovie.com/

The Cycle – Suffering, Poverty

Music Space at Rebel Diaz Arts Collective

The United Methodist campus ministries went on our annual trip to New York this past week.  It always a rich time with students getting to make new friends and see and learn so much from the city.  It is also a blessing to be able to stay at Metropolitan Community UMC in Harlem.  Their hospitality has always been a huge gift to us and a shining example of the United Methodist connection.

This year the United Methodist Seminar Program led by Jay Godfrey and Jennifer McCallum outdid themselves, scheduling 3 parts of our group in 3 different areas of the city for 3 days to learn about the communities, culture, and social action taking place.  We were divided into groups going to the Bronx, Lower East Side and Harlem and had one day of service at a meals on wheels sort of thing where we actually walked to apartments and delivered meals to the elderly, one day of learning about cultures in our particular communities, and one day of seminar focusing on some of the issues in our communities and what organizations in those communities are doing to combat them.

I had spent some time doing seminars in Harlem and the Lower East Side so I was particularly interested in the Bronx.  What a huge area and diverse group of people the Bronx includes.  In all of the stops at museums, art collectives, a Yankees game, community action groups – each area of the Bronx was really different.  They were all so proud to be “Bronxites” that their enthusiasm for their borough was infectious.  We all felt like Bronxites to an extent at the end of our time.  Did you know that the Bronx has more green space than any other burrough in New York?  Me either.

What we heard from a lot of people and I would think the other groups would say this to, was people saying that they grew up dreaming of moving somewhere else and starting a new life, but that through whatever experience, education, epiphany moment, they decided to stay in their community and try to bring about change and keep fighting for chances and opportunities for the children growing up behind them.  Many of the speakers we talked to were born and bred in these communities and the passion, devotion and pride that they felt for these places was evident in everything they said whether the good or even the challenging issues that they are still battling.

It was good for the students and me to see these people standing up for what they believe in using real, practical, and change-bringing principles to their every day, bringing voice to the voiceless.

The divide I feel when I’m talking about us going to a living wage rally or fighting on behalf of the poor versus some of the questioning looks I get from people back home, has a lot to do with people’s questions about justice and righteousness.  We say we don’t believe all of the malarky about people who suffer having done something wrong or may not have lived right and have caused their suffering.  We say that we need to support our mentally ill, veterans, the widows, the orphans, those that can’t help themselves.  But then again, when it comes to our wallets and our own comfort, it seems easier to say and assume that if people were just working hard enough, if people just did what it takes to succeed, they would somehow pull themselves up out of these places of poverty.

We just witnessed a royal wedding where a commoner who descended from coal miners and criminals married a prince.  As much as I like the fairytale and as hard as her family worked and as many names they have been called for “social climbing,” I think it paints a somewhat unfair picture of what the cycle of poverty really looks like.  To say that it is hard to break that cycle is such a rough and belittling use of an adjective that it feels wrong to say.  To stand up in the face of corruption, in the face of not just people but entire systems that abuse you, to demand the same rights that others enjoy when you’ve never gotten a fair shake – that is scary, it’s terrifying, it’s intimidating.

I am constantly amazed at the voices that do stand up though.  I was glad to hear of a student from the Bronx talk about students in the Bronx organizing a walk out of thousands of students when the government was going to take away their right to a student metrocard to get to and from school.  I was inspired listening to Intikana from Rebel Diaz Arts Collective talking about how they’re using art and music and film and all sorts of creative outlets to give people in the Bronx a way to express themselves in non-violent and constructive ways.  It’s great to see young people working to bring about a new day.  It’s good for all of us to see that we can make a difference, whether through our churches doing a soup kitchen, clothing closet, food pantry, or other social action.  In the midst of the sometimes uphill climb and little defeats in the battle, it’s good to know that none of us are alone in this battle and that we have folks journeying with us all over the world.

From a faith perspective, we are clearly called to the poor, to the wounded, to those that need to feel that love and wholeness and new life.  This isn’t just the obvious poor among us, but it’s also the single mom trying to make ends meet, it’s also our cranky next door neighbor who’s as lonely as heck, it’s also our friends, our family, the people we see at the office or grocery store or school.

One of this past week’s lectionary texts was 1 Peter 2:19-25 and it talked about suffering and following in Christ’s footsteps.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t ask God for suffering.  If you suffer, you suffer, but Christ suffers with you, I get that.  But I’m not asking for it like the lovely Mr. Wesley in his new year’s service.  There’s two things I like in particular about this text – one that Christ suffered for us and so God knows what suffering feels like – for real without a doubt not even his fault suffering.  There’s a song in the new Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon that’s called “Man Up.”  I am NOT endorsing or saying you should go out and watch Book of Mormon or get the soundtrack.  The story is about two Mormon missionaries in Africa and needless to say, one of them is seeing that he has a challenge before him and he’s like, hey – Jesus had to man up, so I need to too.  I’m not saying that we all have to man or woman up, but the song is right in that Christ did suffer and die and he’s been there.  He knows what it’s like to feel alone, tired, hungry, beaten, ridiculed, and tortured.

The other thing is that he did the suffering for us, that “by his wounds you have been healed” and he is our Shepherd leading us home.  To me, this calls us in two different directions – one to realize that we realize that this LOVE and sacrifice was for us.  The other is to realize that we have to share this LOVE and sacrifice with the world.  We can’t say, that’s not my problem, it’s a problem over “there” with “those” people in “that” place.  Nope, it’s something that we all must wrestle with as we share the light and love of Christ.  This cycle of poverty only ends as we all jump into the fight, pool our resources, and leave our pride, self-protection, and rationalizations at the door.

We learned a ton in New York.  It was a great trip.  The thing I like about these trips is that it’s not just something we leave in New York, in this far away place, but these are things we learn and do and bring home to make a difference where we are, not just in a nice, greeting card kind of way, but for real.

How do we break the cycle of poverty in our communities?  How do we break the cycle of unbelief and fear and doubt?  How do we break the cycle of people believing that Jesus would just look at them with contempt and say that they deserved it because of what they did?  What are our churches saying about the cycle of poverty and suffering?  Anything?  What message are we telling?  What inner soundtrack are our lives rocking along too?

A nice, tame song by JJ Heller, “What Love Really Means.”

Man Up from the Book of Mormon – (don’t forget this is a satirical musical written by the creators of South Park and Avenue Q so listen at your own risk…this is your disclaimer, seriously.)

If someone was going to write a satirical musical about our faith?  our denomination?  our churches? what would it say???

Info about Rebel Diaz Arts Collective:  http://rdacbx.blogspot.com/

Info about the United Methodist Seminar Program:

http://www.gbgm.umc.org/UMW/work/mission-education/seminar-program/

Mean

On the Wesley trip to Washington, DC for spring break, I finally got a chance to listen to the new Taylor Swift CD all the way through.  I know there’s some Taylor haters out there, but I’ve always really liked her and I love this CD.  And all of us – ranging in musical loves – enjoyed listening to it, which is always a good thing.  Who knew you could bond over Taylor Swift singing at the top of your lungs together?

The song that keeps replaying over in my mind is her song, “Mean.”   The lyrics are below.  In talking with students or youth or friends for that matter, there are so many people that have been wounded by “that mean guy” or “that mean girl.”  There’s that person or people that get under our skin and say words that go straight to the heart in amazingly hurtful ways that we can sometimes remember for years.

It’s crazy how much these things can hurt.  And it’s amazing to me how many people are affected by this and they never get a chance to speak up for themselves.  I think about the movie “Mean Girls” and all the hate and power trips and nastiness.  I know, I know, that many a time these mean folks are covering for their own insecurity, but that still doesn’t justify their uber mean behavior.

Here’s the thing.  We’ve got to let go of the mean.  We’ve got to let go of the rude things people have said.  We’ve got to let go of the hurtful things that we remember at our lowest points or times when things feel like they’re falling apart.  We’ve got to step out of the round and round cycle of drama and situations that just hurt us, and say enough!  There are so many students that I see that are in friendships/relationships that are just plain stressful.  Nobody needs the added stress and emotional energy that it takes to deal with unhealthy relationships that just bring you down – especially during the end of semester crunch.  Maybe this Lenten season, letting go of some of those wounds and hurts is something we should think about.  As we look at this season of repentance and renewal, maybe it’s time we open our hearts to the Spirit of Truth and let go of the hurtful crud.

I think about the ending of The Help where Aibeleen tells Mae Mobley, “You kind.  You smart.  You important.”  That’s the part that broke my heart because so many don’t realize this, and it was so evident that Aibeleen wanted badly for Mae Mobley to get and feel this.  I know about the “me” generations and I get that, but I also feel like often my students are reflecting their questions about themselves back to me through their questions, their hurts, their eyes.  The heck with the mean ones that just want to tear you down.  The heck with those that haven’t walked in your shoes and who are just hurling darts because they’re scared themselves.  You are kind.  You are smart.  You are important.

Let’s let go of the mean…and grab hold of the good that God has spoken over our lives.

Taylor Swift – “Mean”

You, with your words like knives
And swords and weapons that you use against me,
You, have knocked me off my feet again,
Got me feeling like I’m nothing.
You, with your voice like nails on a chalkboard
Calling me out when I’m wounded.
You, pickin’ on the weaker man.

Well you can take me down,
With just one single blow.
But you don’t know, what you don’t know,

Someday, I’ll be living in a big old city,
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean.
Someday, I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me,
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean.
Why you gotta be so mean?

You, with your switching sides,
And your walk by lies and your humiliation
You, have pointed out my flaws again,
As if I don’t already see them.
I walk with my head down,
Trying to block you out cause I’ll never impress you
I just wanna feel okay again.

I bet you got pushed around,
Somebody made you cold,
But the cycle ends right now,
You can’t lead me down that road,
You don’t know, what you don’t know

The song –

Taylor Swift talking about the song “Mean.”

Not just “Virtual” Community

My mom had surgery this past Monday.  It’s at least a 4 week recovery so we appreciate the prayers!  I talked to her Monday afternoon when she got out of surgery on the phone and one of the first things she said – “Prayer request” and she asked that we would pray for her recovery, doctors, etc. but mostly that people would be able to hear her with her hoarse voice after the breathing tube during surgery.

What is the fastest way to send out a prayer request?  Pray of course -duh.  But a great way to get a lot of people praying – facebook.  Suddenly there were clergy people, friends, church members from all sorts of previous churches, family – all praying with a sentence typed into a status. 

I’ve been to the church conferences and I’ve read the articles about “appropriate” technology and the ones asking if this virtual community is really killing our real life community, etc.  I get that.  I understand that people need to go outside and build relationships and engage in hands on experience, dialogue, etc.  But, I also think that social media offers a great chance for building community with people you may have lost touch with, people who you may not have ever met but you share communities in common, or people that maybe are just acquaintances but that you care for, support, and pray for.

A colleague of mine said that if he has a bunch of mutual friends with someone on facebook he’ll go ahead and friend them and will explain to them – if we have this many people in common and paths that have crossed, inevitably we will be friends.  Something to think about.  And then there’s the thing going around facebook now saying that we can’t possibly know everyone we’re “friends” with and asking these same friends to post how we’ve met.

I know that some of these are generational, societal, even security questions about what information is shared and how comfortable we are about sharing openly and honestly on the internet where as the lovely Social Network says – things are written in ink not in pencil.  But I hope that we are able to support each other whether near or far, whether close friend or acquaintance, whether we talk every day or it’s just a Christmas card or we had some powerful shared experience long ago.

I truly believe that this community is not just a virtual community, but that it’s real and alive.  I don’t think it always is and I know there’s exceptions to everything but I know that I can personally say that I’ve been moved by people’s support not just in cards or letters but in emails and comments and any other electronic communication.  That is just as meaningful to me as anything else.

Maybe everyone doesn’t feel that way?  How does the different form of community affect our love and support each other?  our pastoral care? 

Listening to a sermon online?  Watching a worship service from a podcast?  Having a small group discussion on skype?  What do these mediums to do the essence of our faith?  I certainly don’t have all the answers and I definitely don’t have the inside track to all of these different technologies but I do think that wiping them away as things that don’t build “real” community is a disservice and a shame when they can be a powerful resource for hope, healing, comfort and love.

What have your experiences been with virtual community?  Yay or nay?

Advent

Advent is one of my favorite times in the church calendar.  I guess it’s that sense of expectation and hope that draws me in.  It’s a time of preparation, different from Lent, when there’s a sense of anticipated joy and hope not just from the ashes but at the end of a long journey.  Maybe those are similar in your minds but to me there’s a difference.  Take the Gamecocks.  I know, I know.  In many ways it feels like you’re living a life of Lent.  From dust you came to dust you will return and to hear our statistics against Clemson, in having so few seasons where we’ve had 9 wins, etc. you would think there are ashes all around.  But then there’s that sense of hope that comes with being a true fan.  The hope that the unexpected will happen.  Who in the heck thought we would ever see a day where we would go to the SEC championship?  Who can forget that Alabama game early in the season?  It’s the unexpected – the things that we don’t prepare for – the things that shock are socks off – the things that blow away our preconceived notions and judgments.  These are the things that meet us where we are, root us to our core and it’s just CONTAGIOUS.  It’s absolutely contagious.  These unexpected and gamechanging experiences that open us to this season and greet us anew as we prepare each year – the joy, the beauty, the WONDER are contagious.

I can’t say it better than this clip does.  I love it.  It makes me smile every time.

To me – this is Advent.  The world is looking like the girl with the smirk or the arrogant unimpressed Simon.  There’s no way this frumpy woman has a chance in hades of doing anything but something pitiful and off key, but POW!  It’s not just the surprise – it’s not just the huge unexpectedness of it all – it’s that in the midst of this beautiful thing – somehow people get drawn in.  You see Amanda raising her hand with her to hit the high notes, you see faces transformed, and you see the lovely Simon grinning like a cheshire cat with dollar signs.

This is Advent.  Not just a time of talking about dreams or what if or one days, but getting ready right now.  Putting yourself out there right now.  Going for it right now.  It’s easy in the consumerism and the narcissism and the pessimism to let the weight of the world fall heavy on our shoulders.  It’s hard in the lives of students right now to feel the full weight of the semester with assignments, tests, papers, group projects, etc., with most of them exhausted, sick and ready to have a break.  It’s hard in the lives of teachers and parents trying to get through these last few weeks before Santa, Santa, Santa.  It’s hard for those who have lost loved ones, who have lost jobs, who have no idea where money is going to come for electricity much less gifts.  It is hard.

But Advent is so much more than just our personal worlds.  It’s the inbreaking of the kingdom of God as God Almighty, the Great God of the Universe, became One of us.  It’s the waiting not only for this child (the already) but for the Triumphant King (the not yet).  It’s the waiting for justice and righteousness and all of the beautiful words in Isaiah 9:6-7 “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom.  He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore.  The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”

So in this season of Advent I’m doing my best to focus on the thanksgivings.  I’m doing my best to open my eyes and my heart to the unexpected all around me.  I’m trying to not let the to do lists or the gifts to still be gotten or the Christmas cards that probably won’t happen or the people that cut you off in traffic or the things that constantly go wrong in the midst throw me off track in the midst of centering my heart and being present to the journey towards the stable.

I am asking God to wipe away my cynicism and my weariness and to fill my heart with the joy and wonder and Christmas spirit that’s more than a cheesey Christmas song or tv movie, but that is life giving and life changing.  Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

Gripey no Griping!

Are you a griper?  Not sure if griper is a word but I know the sentiment.  I think it’s easy to gripe in our society.  Maybe it has to do with how blessed we are.  Most of us have food to eat, have a roof over our heads, and generally compared to many in the world are hugely blessed beyond imagination. 

For a while it was the whole comparison of who has the biggest house or car or highest paying job – the oh so loved keeping up with the Jones’.  But these days it seems that it’s who’s got the worst life or the most to complain about any given day.  Who’s having the worst day ever?  I love social networking – facebook, twitter, etc. and I’m glad that people can share with each other and lift each other up.  I think it’s an awesome community thing and heck there’s a lot of pastoral care out there.  I’m unsure though if we’re noticing the line between venting and griping.

Griping.  That negativity.  That dissatisfaction.  That yuck is contagious.  If enough people complain about something, it becomes the reality for those people and it’s just an open festering wound without any hope of repair or restoration.  What good does it do to gripe?  Does it make you feel better?  Why?  In my lovely little defensive driving class Vicki Reavis said something that has stuck with me – you can’t control the other car.  You can’t control what the other person does.  But you can control how you react to it.  You can control what you do.  So when that person steals your parking space and you had your blinker on or doesn’t give you the courtesy thank you wave or goes super slow in the fast lane or drives in “stealth” mode with no blinkers or cutting you off in traffic – you can’t control them – but you can make sure it doesn’t get under your skin and shape your day.

The thing is – if we believe in a Savior – a God with us, if we truly believe that this Teacher that came and walked among us really calls us to this new life….if we really believe that – than we’ve got a lot to be thankful for.  I loved seeing people’s thanksgiving facebook statuses.  It was fun to read what people are thankful for.  I wonder how easy/hard it would be to keep up that practice all year long?  Could you come up with 1 or 2 or 3 things to be thankful for every day?  If you had the discipline to do that, would that change the way you see the world?  Would you appreciate things or look for things to be thankful for in a different way if your eyes were open and watching for them?

Don’t go down the griping road.  Just like on Dora the Explorer – Swiper, no swiping! and in life Griper, no griping!  Vent.  Get it off your chest.  Verbalize it.  But don’t let it ruin your day and rule your life.  Look around you – these beautiful trees changing from Autumn to Winter; the expectant and crazy anticipation of Christmas in the eyes of a child; the mighty wind blowing through the trees.  God has provided for us everything that we need.

Check out Chris August’ Starry Night.  I love this song.  If we believe this, we won’t be griping.  We’ll be praising.

So even on this cloudy day during the last full week of classes when students are swamped completely and are trying to figure out how in the world they will get everything done – may they get the strength that they need, may the keep going in perseverance, may they get restorative rest even on little sleep, may they find time in the day they didn’t know they had, may they have wisdom in scheduling their time, and may they know and feel the love and grace and peace of God surrounding them!

Don’t Break Even

I keep hearing The Script’s Breakeven when I’m in the car.  The opening lines “Still alive but I’m barely breathing.  Praying to a God that I don’t believe in…”  I wonder how many people start to feel that at this time in the school year when people are tired, sick, maxed out, and papers/tests/projects/finals are creeping up?   Heartbreak and things not seeming fair and things not going as planned, that’s not just college, that’s life.  But the song is right in that sometimes things don’t “break even.” 

Some seem to get all the breaks and others don’t.  In this National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week, that seems really fitting.  As we have walked in CROP for the hungry, as we’ve been packing boxes for children all over the world in Operation Christmas Child, as we have given up meals for Oxfam and are sleeping out Friday night for the homeless…as tough as we may have it – we’re still really, really lucky.  That’s not just a cliche or empty words.  I’m glad that in the love of God, we all come out even.  I just hope that as the people of God, we do our best to even out the injustice, inequality, and crud in the world so that the light, love, grace, and truth of One who calls each of us is shown in all that we do and say. 

Last week I had the honor of participating in the Killingsworth Gala in Columbia.  Wearing high-heeled shoes when you’re already close to 6 feet tall is not something I choose to do in the day-to-day.  Actually barefooted is much more like it.  In the midst of getting ready (all white outfit with white fur hat and leopard print high heels = hilarious) though we all bonded.  I ended up sitting beside a beautiful woman named Jenny and I helped her with her clothes.  We were all really nervous.

I had no idea why Jenny was nervous until she walked out on the runway the second time and began to share her story.  Killingsworth is a place for women to go that are emerging out of crises situations.  Jenny very humbly and powerfully and eloquently shared her story with the over 700 people in attendance – her abusive past, her drug addiction, the loss of her children and then her truly turning her life around.  It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen or heard.  That took so much guts to do in front of all those people!

After leaving that night I heard this song in the car.  In thinking about her story and the story of students and friends and loved ones who have been through beyond hard situations and that helpless feeling that you feel especially when it looks like the other person or people are getting the breaks.  Why is that?

I don’t think some of us have all the answers and I don’t think we should start spouting off things like if you do x, y, z then life will turn up roses.  It’s hard to hear but I totally get what Becca was saying in her blog from the CDCA today.  http://jhc-cdca.blogspot.com/2010/11/to-hell-with-good-intentions.html  But I do think we each have a story to tell.  In the midst of me not breaking my neck walking down the runway, the lovely mc said I was a walking miracle.  That’s not necessarily someway you’d like to classify yourself because you then know everyone’s looking at you and thinking what happened to her?  And that’s what Jenny asked me.  So what did happen to you?  Oh, just a brain tumor.  No worries.

In the grand sceme of things – it really is no worries.  I’m fine.  And there are loads of people out there that are not.  We each have a story to tell.  Seriously.  No brain tumor or drug addiction or bad car accident needed.  We each have a story of redemption that does make us walking miracles.  In some ways it may not be a big deal to us, but if we’re not sharing these stories than there’s a whole world out there that thinks they’re praying to some crazy punishing God that zaps some people and not the rest.

Things may not break even.  But the gift of salvation is offered to each of us.  And our stories tell that louder than anything else we can make up.  A clergy colleague shared with our district clergy meeting last week something that his church did last year called Cardboard Testimonies.  Apparently, a bunch of folks have done this at their churches.  I love it.  Not entirely ready to spring this on our church, but I like the challenge of sharing even a bit of your story with others.

Here’s the link.  Check it out.  http://www.vimeo.com/5088437

For more info on Killingsworth and they’re amazing work: http://www.killingsworthhome.org/page6.html