Snatched far beyond the borders of what I consider the comfort zone of my life… yes, that about sums up our recent week’s travels.
Questions intervene and I hear it asked, “How far are you willing to carry good news? Is there a proverbial red line you refuse to cross?” Here, I not so much refer to distance, as I do to radically different lifestyles.
I suppose it will be some time before I can boast of digesting everything I took in this past week. Maybe instead I’m being arrogant. Maybe I’ll never digest all of it. That may not be a bad thing.
Brought about by the festive activities of a fiftieth birthday bash celebrating the life a good friend in the bigger city of Atlanta, my wife and I found ourselves amidst what most in our norm would consider really strange stuff.
In the course of the week, among many, many other things, we were privileged to dine with a single mother struggling to raise a child on her own, attend a metaphysical service with two really cool people of same gender living as partners, endure the agony of seeing a friend destroy himself with alcohol while being encouraged by the sacrifices another makes to be there for him, share in the pain of more than one crumbling marriage, and oh yeah, found out that I’m a really big fan of the Skipperdees.
I will try to be transparent here. Hopefully you don’t want me any other way. Truth is, I don’t very often go out of my way to put myself in the presence of relationships like these. I don’t intentionally subject myself to lifestyles that differ so greatly from my own, but I’m beginning to understand the necessity of it if we will be influential at all in our culture any longer.
Reading a book my friend and Pastor recommended The Most Loving Place in Town by Ken Blanchard really has me mulling over just who the world is supposed to see when they come face to face with a member of the body of Christ.
We have been given in writ the instructing stories of broken people meeting Jesus where they were in life, and often through His compassion, they were compelled to love and follow Him. When some chose to walk away from Him, we are told it was with great sadness.
Wouldn’t that be a neat way to measure our effectiveness as people of the cross? What if rather than condemnation and ridicule of those who we don’t understand, to them we became the people they wanted to be around?