Kiddie Pools and Oceans

Why are Christians so terrified of reaching out to the lost?  We were called to be in the world but not of the world and yet we are afraid to actually go out into the world in any way.  We are terrified of non-Christian music, rated R movies and wearing hats in church.  But we are also afraid of bars, 'bad parts of town', credit cards, public schools, and even Santa Claus (He's not the real reason for the season....surprised you didn't know that [in the voice of Chris Farley in Tommy Boy). When we are afraid long enough, we can become utterly indignant about it.  We find ourselves flaring up our chests at Olive Garden to proudly deny the complimentary taste of wine.  "Proud to say I've never touched the stuff," while the waiter thinks to himself, "Okay, fine!  A simple, 'No thank you.' will suffice.....jerk."

I think it is because if you jump in the deep end without knowing how to swim, you will likely drown.  So why not just stay the heck away from the entire pool?  We are afraid of the world because we can't swim.  We are not confident and strong enough in our faith, beliefs, and stances to not be swayed by the thoughts and ways of the lost.  I think we are afraid because we are not strong enough.

On the other hand, I do not think the fact we cannot swim should keep us away from the kiddie pool or maybe, I know its risky, the shallow end where at least the water comes up to our chests.

We have to learn how to swim and we have to begin getting out of our pool and swim the ocean as we are called to do.

But we are terrified of the world for some reason.  I think that reason is because we are too weak to stay strong while being in the world.  Sure, it's risky and it will come with temptation, but how strong am I?  And if I am truly not strong enough yet, then what have I been doing in the church this whole time?  Have I been strengthening myself enough to get out into the world or am I just going to bask in the kiddie pool for the rest of my life?

* We should know where we are especially weak and stay away from dangerous temptations we KNOW we will fail in, but we cannot avoid the entire pool.

He'll just buy booze with it

My heart breaks to know many Christians and I have disregarded certain people because they'll buy booze with my change, they got themselves into this lifestyle, or their parents were piss-poor.  It breaks my heart the most to realize I focus more on HOW they got there than the fact they ARE there. I am broken at reading the story of the prodigal son and knowing the father did not withhold compassion because the prodigal chose this life.  I am hurt not to find the prodigal's father within me and my friends; this father who realized only one thing in the moment.  He realized his son needed compassion and love.  YES, his son DID choose this life.  His son DID use the father's money for booze, sex and other disgusting things.  These are all realities, but the father chose to realize only one thing: his son needed compassion, love and relationship.

I am broken at the reading of the prodigal son's brother and finding myself resonating, "Exactly!  He's been there at home serving his Dad faithfully.  And now look!"

I am broken to my lack of compassion, love and relationship with the least of these.

Are these things excuses for these people's current life choices?  No, but I cannot overlook the fact it just may be part of the reason.  Never mind how they got where they are; the fact remains, these people need compassion, love, relationship, and Jesus, and I have all of these to offer.

Bullet pointed update

* Back from Mexico where God did some incredible work in mine and others hearts. Broken chains! Serving the poor and deported! Watching my students present and BE the gospel in a dark, dank basement.* Still pursuing and learning about restoration in many parts of my life * Got the flu a few days ago. First time in years! * Change is imminent and on the rapidly closing horizon. * Listening to: Ascend the Hill, new Counting Crows album, and Oddisee * Reading: The Hunger Games, Simple Church, Growing Disciples, and Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl * Discouraged by: turn out of our taxes, the weight of change not exactly "resting" on your shoulders * Encouraged by: amazing wife, beautiful daughters, stronger relationships with students, hope for futur * Right NOW I miss: football, Anderson University, my nieces, and SYTYCD * Watching a lot of: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Fresh Beat Band, Whitney, and SNL