I had a last minute encounter at church that surprised me. And I came home from church wondering why I'd popped my little protective porcupine needles out. In thinking about it I realized why I don't like asking for help. Spontaneous kindness is easily accepted. But kindness that comes in the middle of problems makes me feel like a ministry requirement. I actually haven't visited someone for the last 4 months because the last time I saw them they gave me money. I'm the dumbest mule kind of stubborn.
Even so, I understand some things better now than I did before. Note that I say "better", I certainly won't claim to entirely understand or to have grasped the full concept of these things but...
I understand why people don't return to church. Why they don't feel they fit in with the 'group'. Real people, have real problems. And sometimes those real people don't have that whipped cream and cherry to put on their problems saying that Gods gonna fix it or that He's got a plan. They walk around scowling because it hurts. And they don't enjoy being around people that are smiling and telling the world that "Gods gonna fix it" and "He's got a plan."
It's not about whether or not those things are true. And I'm not saying our churches shouldn't be a place that exudes the confidence that God is gonna fix it, and has a plan. But... sometimes it's not about that knowledge. It's about what helps. If someone wants a shoulder to cry on now, I think now they'll find me simply crying with them. Not trying to say the right words. As for me, I'm sick of crying. But I've learned a value to it now that it didn't have with me before.
And speaking of valuable things...
Little Ones first unsupervised visit with her parents took place Saturday. At the end of this month the courts will more than likely approve overnight visits, and it's likely that by March Little One will return to her family. Her parents miraculously are doing wonderful. For me there is still the question of LO being protected from certain things, and as the time gets closer I find more of my time spent praying for her future than for her present. In a world where the State of Texas has custody of a child, LO became neither mine nor her parents, and in that void I told God she was His. In a few short months I won't be there to protect, and I need Him to. She needs Him to.
She sat down to supper tonight and informed me we needed to pray, so she quickly folded her hands and said "Thank you God for me, thank you God for food, aaaamen." Maybe she'll make her parents pray. At least I know she'll make them sing about the B-I-B-L-E being the book for her.
In other things... the web is just bursting with good posts lately. And I want to link to an interesting article. Today At The Mission posted a clip from David Hansens The Art of Pastoring - Ministry Without All the Answers" and to give just a snip from their snip:
"Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison and did not help you?" He will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. (Matthew 25: 44-46)
What an irony: many social-activist Christians have rejected the doctrine of eternal punishment because they think it detracts from social concern. But if Jesus' words are taught straight from the Gospels, social concern will become central to every Christian, since our eternal destiny hangs in the balance.
It was an interesting article. Also, the post TATM had written before that: "Movie Night" was encouraging. The post talked about how people are always trying to add "ministry" to love. And they were saying that love is what Jesus did all the time, and it didn't always come with a sermon or testimony, or a walk through the salvation process. I'm paraphrasing. You can read the article for yourself.
Also, at some point I'm going to have to take time to update my 'links' section. I've got about 40 regulars that pop up on my google reader now. I won't give out all of them but this one I wanted to make a special note of. Once I update, this one will definitely be in my referral list.
It's Tolle Lege
And, for the best idea of why I love their blog so much, hit their 'about me' page here where it describes their blog. I'd love to spend a week in this guys library. As it is, I'll still be spending several weeks trying to take in as much of their archives as I can wheedle time for.