Trying out my mad skills just learned in the Kent Weakley Photography Adventure workshop in Vermont
Ever noticed that brouhaha laughs at itself?
It’s a social maelstrom, an uproar, a crisis of sorts.
You could say that is what has happened since Andy Stanley, senior pastor of North Point Community Church, mentioned a gay couple at our church.
Evidently, a man who was married to a woman decided he loved a man. Eventually, his wife also found a boyfriend. The gay couple wanted to volunteer at our church but, since the husband was still a husband, the answer was no. People engaged in extramarital affairs aren’t allowed to lead in family ministry at our church. So, instead, the husband and his boyfriend and the wife and her boyfriend all decided to attend our church with their children to worship together.
What a mess — but our church works very hard to be okay with messy, since most growth occurs there.
You might say it’s a church that unchurched people like to attend.
I mentioned a gay couple, didn’t I?
That means all bets are supposed to be off.
We certainly can’t allow them to come to church, can we?
I mean, we’re Christians.
This is where all theological debate begins. For those who believe that Jesus Christ is God, the son of God and also a holy spirit who resides within us once we’ve asked for that to happen, there is a certain Christian code we’ve agreed to accept.
There’s just one problem — or 80,000, in my case.
I don’t always interpret scripture — and, therefore, the code — the way that you interpret scripture or the way that my mother interprets scripture or the way that Andy Stanley interprets scripture.
In other words, I get to have a mind of my own.
Sometimes, that is not a blessing. I tend to make a mess of things. So I lean on the understanding of those who seem to make better decisions than I do in life — and have fewer consequences.
I want fewer consequences and I want to honor God.
It’s just that what that looks like for me may be different than how it looks for you.
What is important to me is how it looks to God.
He has searched me and knows me. How I feel and what I believe cannot be hidden from him. Like the parent that he is, God looks at me with whole love, discipline, compassion, understanding and, miracle of all miracles — grace.
Maybe that’s because he knows I’m broken. I came into life that way. It is the legacy I was given and the legacy I have passed along.
I seek him, anyway.
I like that the same seems to be true for that family that includes the gay couple. They are broken… and they are seeking him.
And… I hope you can fight to understand this… they are welcome.
That was really the point, as I interpreted it, of Andy’s sermon series. Jesus gave us a secret ingredient to success in our pursuit to be Christ-like:
Love one another.
Love more than you judge. Love more than you reject. Love more than you despise. Love more than you fear. Love more than you demand.
Love more than you don’t.
There are those among us who are broken. Please, Lord, rip the stone from my hand because, if you don’t, I will fling it and damage what you meant to heal.
You never know when life is going to change — or end.
Crisis is just that way, isn’t it?
It’s not much for giving notice.
But, for some, it seems that life never really starts.
You know the people I mean. They trudge along, wishing they could figure out why they’re here, lost in the stupefying sameness of routine.
Something just doesn’t feel complete to them.
Some ache. Others wallow. Some merely fail to thrive.
But all wish they could know they matter.
A few years ago, I was one of them.
And then, from nowhere, someone stepped forward and nudged me toward meaning.
It was subtle, really.
There had been an earthquake in Haiti and I wanted to help.
No, that didn’t make sense. I was a suburban housewife and mom in a nice neighborhood in a big city in what has long been arguably the world’s most awesome nation.
Nonetheless, I felt hungry to know more and so I latched onto Twitter.
That’s where I met someone who steered me toward other people to follow who would change my future.
That’s a story for another day and one you’ve likely heard me tell before.
Today, I want to shine the light on that guy who is so very good at making connections happen — and mattering:
Say hello to Shaun King.
He’s not someone you would notice on the train, necessarily. He’s just a guy. But, if you spend 30 minutes with him, it may take that many years to forget.
He is all about vision and loves to share his:
Shaun wants the world to have hope.
It’s broken, by the way, this world of ours. Think Murphy’s Law — if something can go wrong, it will.
Cancer happens. And earthquakes. And job loss. Tsunamis. Tornados. Debt.
There’s no one who can handle life’s worst alone.
I mean, deep within his soul, he feels the world’s pain and wants to ease it in the only way he knows how — by creating connection.
Tomorrow — in just a few hours, actually — he and a community of other passionate and compassionate people and organizations are launching his brainchild:
He knows he can’t do it alone, any more than the world can, and so he has done what he does best: rallied hundreds of thousands to step up to share stories of need and seek solutions.
That’s right — HopeMob has invited anyone and everyone to tell about that friend next door — or across the world — who needs help.
Tomorrow, you will see the first need that HopeMob will promote.
And promote. And promote.
Until each need is met, the next won’t take center stage.
I’m more than a little excited.
That’s because I’ve seen what happens when people care.
I know what it’s like to discover a need and then see a community meet it. I know, too, how helping changes you.
This week, I launched into an adventure of my own when I joined the staff of All Hands Volunteers. Now, when there is a disaster in our backyard or across the globe, I’ll travel there with a team that rallies volunteers and funds to help.
It’s a mission I feel soulfully.
Sometimes, change is only the beginning.