Glory Bound and Growing

Right now is the best moment, the blessed moment.
*corny, but I kind of like it*
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine here, in a place called “Dark Hollow.” In mid-America? Yep.
I swing on a swing-set with my two best friends (both under the age of 11). I love knowing that if not for me, they would not be at the park. And if they did not love me (even when I’m late and my truck is so messy there is barely room for them!), I would not have these sweet relationships. (Who would I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe too?!) They show me Jesus every week. The body of Christ is interconnected in a dazzling way. Praise to the Lamb!

Men sit on the park benches, dirty, next to their glitzy new cars. The skin on my legs that is exposed tingles unpleasantly as I walk by, not because of anything they have done or said, but because society has branded the word “rapist” on their foreheads. My preliminary judgment rests not on the content of their character but on their location and the way they wear their clothes. What if we look past their brands, Martin Luther King Jr. style, and invite them in to the Kingdom to worship beside us? What could people do if they were empowered by a friend who has everything (the Gospel) to offer?

I close my eyes. No guilt in life, no fear in death.

I know I’m spending my life in the right place. I am selling myself for the cause of righteousness, investing in a market with eternal dividends. Her smile, set off by the gap between her over-sized front teeth reminds me that darkness cannot hold back the light. Even when it seems we have the time and resources to undo only a fraction of the evil that exists, we know that there is hope. No soul is beyond redemption. Maybe if we take them gently by the hands, if we bid every other broken person come and worship Jesus with us, the lightness can push away the darkness. The church will grow, because we will grow. We’ll dance and sing and eagerly await the happy day when the Jesus who bids us be children comes to redeem this unimaginative world.

Christians should be troublemakers, creators of uncertainty, agents of a dimension incompatible with society,~Jacques Elliot

I ask the good Lord to cure me of my dry skin and my disobedience.

Let my actions speak loud enough to drown out my faulty words.

He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.~Isaiah 30:19b-21

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Make Way

Walking out of the gym I hear a man ask, “you did not get a snack?” I stop him as he tries to walk back in the door. I peer into the rainy, street-light-orange night. Round heads on stick necks, all dark silhouettes with white eye balls, turn towards me. I address the first pair of eyes I see:
“Did you just straight up lie or did I not give you a snack?” I ask in a slightly too loud & accusatory tone. He shakes his head. He can’t help it, his eyes dart to the boy beside him whose head is hung. I had noticed this boy trying to get a snack from someone else earlier in the night, though I know I gave him one. I approach the little boy, full of disappointment and fear that he does not get enough to eat.
I bend over, wanting to read his eyes to discover the truth. I address him by name, “are you hungry or do you just want another snack?” He does not answer or look up. I try to raise his face to mine but his chin is glued to his chest. His mouth is set in a deep frown, certainly his eyes are full of tears. I’m afraid of squeezing his cheeks too hard. When I see that he is adamant in his resistance to my efforts, and horribly ashamed, I kiss him on the head and walk away.
Seconds after turning my back I regret not trying harder or praying for him or reminding him to ask us for food if he is ever truly hungry. I re-hash my actions all the way to my truck but I know that what I did was right. He knows that lying is wrong. I showed him a tiny glimpse of redeeming love in the face of sin (in the tangible form of a kiss on the head.) I wish nothing so deeply as for him to see that as a reflection of Christ’s loving, atoning sacrifice. Now I ask and plead that the Holy Spirit move in his little boy’s heart. That his guilt be turned into a quest for forgiveness, instead of to apathy and selfishness. I long to know that he stays up, even now, considering the futility of his sin, and recalling the Bible verses we have led him to so carefully store away in his heart.
I have done my part. I have fought against barriers and made room for revival.
There is nothing I can do to ensure a desire for forgiveness in his heart.
No card I can send,
No money I can raise,
No verse I can quote.
This is the part where I submit his oppressed soul to God,
And intercede on His behalf
The way I am sure someone interceded for me on the night I was saved.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom~Psalm 90:12

Righteousness will go before Him (the Lord) and make his footsteps a way.~Psalm 85:13

God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”~Galations 4:6

Fish Bowl

In two cultures I find myself a day to day observer. There is “A” where I make my money, there is “B” where I spend my money (and free time.) I am a fish out of water in both: uncomfortable, tortured by the screaming discrepancy.

A) West side. Big brick houses, private Utopias bursting with full-bellied babies. Laughing and playing on Ipads, eating fruits and vegetables. The mommys and daddys do their work and keep their lives pristine. They buy their kids a car at 16, a college experience at 18. Lawns are well-manicured, separating one family’s space from the neighbor’s. They are healthy; one generation looks no different from the last. Ray Bans. Religion. Restaurants. The ideal world in which to raise children.

B) Pockets of people in “project” housing. Hundreds of apartments with paper thin walls. A concrete maze winds through the community yard, littered with trash. Kids fly in and out of doors, living with Grandma and Great-Grandma and an uncle or two, never safe from gunshots, rape, or coarse language. There are no daddys. Mama is the rock but she was only a child when she got pregnant; she never had a chance to learn life for herself. They are surviving, one generation looks no different from the last. Potato chips. Pickles. Perverts. No place at all to raise a child.

If the traffic is light it will take twenty minutes to get from A to B. Yet no one ever does. To each, the reality of the other is unreal. People don’t actually live like that, they both say.
I bang my head against a glass wall, a fish seeking to break the barrier betwixt water and air, trying to alert one to the other. We have so much to learn from each other! I’m met with blank stares, emotionally detached well-wishes, sometimes disbelief, apparent apathy.
Quick to denounce what the government is doing, slow to confront the oppression.
The difference between my morning world and my afternoon world, separated only by a quarter tank of gas, is startling. Sometimes I forget it is real. I see how easily ignored that which we abhor can be.
How will we change this? How do I wrap up a blog post about issues I don’t know how to solve?
Today I am a learner. Tomorrow I hope to see things change. One has to come before the other so absorb all that you see, drive a little farther South than you normally do, spare some care, enact the change.