Wednesday, February 24, 2010

True Community: increasing understanding

Jake and I had an amazing morning meeting with Josh Fox, the lead pastor at Vintage Faith Church. Josh just finished a worship album and this Sunday will be sharing that album with the church. One of the songs that he wrote was inspired by Jacob's Journey. It was written from his heart, in the midst of tears, in a moment of understanding the pain and suffering that we were going through. Josh asked us to be a part of the services this Sunday and share a part of the story as he shares this song. Service times are 9:00 am, 11:00 am, and 7:00 pm. (see So many of you have been a part of this story and I feel like this will be an amazing time of coming into the presence of God and celebrate. Josh shares our heart that those who are hurting might find healing. We are finding more and more that this healing is found in the midst of true community - it is what we have and continue to experience.

In looking at a building we make assumptions as to what is going on inside. What we see on the outside is observable and verifiable according to our point of view. From where I am sitting right now in a coffee shop I am looking at what looks like a house. Chimney, roofline, windows etc. It was designed for people to see it as a home and yet there is an "open" sign in the window and banner for it's "pie sale". What is on the inside is right now is subject to my expectations, experience, assumptions and beliefs. It may look like a a home but I do not have to knock before entering; I need to pay for whatever I ask them to serve me; and I am expected to tip those who serve me.

We do the same thing with people. It is the same with our opinions about what is proper and what is improper. We carry with us judgements and evaluations about what is right and wrong based. The attitude that we bring can and does shape our response. So often we need to find a cause, a pattern, a reason for why. We want to make sense of things but so often we do this from the outside safety place and not from the inside place of understanding. Going inside makes us vulnerable.

As I try to step toward what is next for career-income-ministry, I deeply desire to step into a place of helping those in tragedy - to walk alongside those hurting and help their community to surround them, not forget them, carry them through their time of trial. As I was speaking with some hospital chaplains I was struck but the necessity to step into the the life of the person leaving judgement outside the door. Whatever wisdom I may have comes from my learning, my experience, my goals. This does not mean that they need, want or desire MY wisdom. So often we want to impose our wisdom and yet our first and best step should be understanding. As we understand and build relationship and trust we are in a position to truly love the person and support them as Christ does.

Issues that we face in life are never black and white - there is always some shade of gray. If we are going to be a community that surrounds others - if I am going to be a person that comes alongside those that are  in trial, the practice of understanding. When Jesus encountered people, he was able to see the outside and the heart. He knew what was being whispered and what was being thought. He knew the heart of the widow that gave pennies in humility and the wealthy that gave a large sum with arrogance announcing to all around how great he was. We may not have that ability but as we spend time understanding, caring, walking with them - we can show that we care and direct them to the God who does know all.

For those following Erica: the reports that I am getting are that familiar and frustrating roller coaster ride. A stable night followed by almost losing her and then back to stability. We continue to hold this family and her community up in prayer before God who knows her name and loves her. In the midst of His will we call for healing.

Grace and peace,

Tom (daddy)

"Wisdom is proved right by her children." - Jesus

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