Monday, July 23, 2007

"I Don't Need to Go to Church"

My heart hurts tonight. For what feels like the thousandth time, I heard the words above. I dropped some teens off in their neighborhood, and a guy approached asking what we were upto with our church. He told me that he prays to God and reads His Bible. The way that he said it, seemed to be telling me the following: "I don't need to go to church. I have my own relationship with God." I asked him if he had anyone who knew his business, if he had anyone to whom he could confess his sins. I told him that he can come as he is to Contact Church, no need to dress up. He asked if we had child molesters at our church.

What is underneath the surface of his statements and questions? Mistrust of churches. Being burned by people in authority at churches. Not seeing the love of God among Christians. Dislike at having to walk with people that you don't like but are saved by Jesus and being sanctified by the Spirit. Pride in having to admit that you are weak and need others to help you walk with God. I think most Christians who go to church have probably had those thoughts or feelings at one time or another. I do not know his story. That is perhaps the reason that my heart hurts. He has reached a point in which he has found individualism as a yoke that is easier to bear than the yoke of community. In some ways, I cannot blame him. Why go to a place where you feel horrible about yourself, and that the people there don't make it any easier for you? Maybe the community of God's people does not image God together, the way we image God individually.

What I dream of doing is going up to Cody and saying, "Let's have church right here. Where two or three are gathered...right?" Pray for the church that we can represent God well as His community.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Lucy has a home

Well, Lucy has found a home with Mike and Kim, a wonderful dog-loving family from Contact. They live out in the country and are the people who helped us get her in the first place. They also helped us train her as best as they could over the phone. We are happy and glad that our ol' dog Lucy has a good home. She is going to love chasing those rabbits.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Goodbye, Lucy

Well, we got rid of our dog. We decided to take her in mid-January though we were not looking to get one. We liked the idea of having a dog, but we are just not "dog people" (whatever that means). We didn't have the time to give her the attention that she needed as such a social animal. We have put an ad in the Tulsa World for a good family to take her. In the meantime, she is at Mike and Kim's out in the country, living it up, I'm sure.

Are we sad that she's gone? Not yet. We feel like we are getting our backyard back. She taught me a lot though. Through all of the dog-training books and help from Mike and Kim, I realize that I too need lots of training and lots of love to become the kind of person that I was meant to be as a disciple of Jesus and child of God. I think that I am a better parent because of her. A calm, firm voice goes much further in discipline and training than yelling. Please pray that she finds a good home, she deserves it.

What Makes Me Angry

Yesterday I sat in our church building's conference room with three 13 year old guys who go to the Contact Church of Christ. We had just finished reading about Nehemiah's grief in response to the news of the sad state of Jerusalem. I was curious to know what injustices or things in the world that are not right, which make them mad or sad. Here's our list:

1. Crime--robbery, break-ins
2. Girls getting raped
3. How some rich people treat the poor
4. Hypocrites
5. Moving poor people out of a neighborhood to build something else
6. People getting "jumped" (one guy fought by a group of guys)
7. The fact that it takes the police a long time to come to their neighborhood even though the police station is close by
8. When someone gets shot in the hood and no one is willing to tell the police who it was even though he/she saw the event happen

Talk about some a great discussion. Even better was to hear two of our teen guys pray over this list. One of the best prayers that I have heard in a while.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Last night I talked to a good friend about the problems of the world, especially poverty. In America, we agreed hunger is usually not the main problem. There are plenty of resources available. From his research, one of the biggest needs to help end poverty is the ability to read. What do you think? I know that it has broadened my horizons and opened doors and worlds that I never knew existed. He has seen the good effects by participating in a program called WizKids, which took volunteers to children after school and read with them. He quoted stats for me that told me of the link of reading ability and whether or not a child will end up in jail someday. I commend my brother for wrestling with the underlying needs. I also wonder what the poor would say their needs are. Let's keep asking tough questions. I am tired of assuming that I know what is need and just maintaining the same outreach efforts.

Demonizing Single Mothers

I read that phrase in a book recently. This is what happens to single mothers in the hood. Do they make bad decisions? Yes. Do they make good decisions? Yes. Here is a story that opened my eyes a little more to their world:

One mom had an eight month old son who went to childcare. The childcare usually dropped him off, but one particular day they had to take the kids home early. They didn't have enough room for him on the first round, so he was at the childcare facility. The mom expected him home at a certain time. When he wasn't there, she went down there. When she walked in, she saw her son trying to pull himself up on his feet. Everytime he got up, the adult worker there knocked him back down with her foot. The mom watched this a few times in horror, not believing what she was seeing. She confronted the lady, and from that day on, she does not trust childcare. She told me that she doesn't work because she has kids that she wants to raise. My respect for her just went up a notch.