When in Atlanta, do as the Atlantans do?

Atlanta City emblem

Atlanta City emblem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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?

About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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15 Responses to When in Atlanta, do as the Atlantans do?

  1. Pingback: Skipperdees Do-Dah Skipperdees-a; my oh my, watch what you say | Resting in His Grace

  2. Challenging . . .
    I must admit that I have ‘avoided’ meeting some people without a single thought that God might have a word for them through me. I need to stay in tune to His direction.

  3. RJ Dawson says:

    Thanks Mike. The Lord said the unsaved are often wiser than the saved, so it is generally not due to a lack of intelligence or insight. The simple fact is that many Christians are indeed brainwashed and don’t even know it. The world can see right through fake Christianity. And the world really loves the real unconditional love of real Christians reflecting the heart of their Maker. But the world remains very, very uncomfortable about sin, is convicted easily, whether a Christian says anything or not, and the world does not like this and must therefore find some means of denigrating real Christians even though it cannot deny the love they show. But again, the world is very accepting of sappy Christianity, that with no backbone, that with no strength, that which condones sin, and that which is no reflection of the Lord Jesus at all. Our Lord Jesus is very loving. God IS Love. But He will never condone sin. Indeed, He died to set us free from its power.

  4. Sean Breslin says:

    Hope you enjoyed our city!


  5. How profound are these words, “who the world is supposed to see when they come face to face with a member of the body of Christ”. This should be a distinct difference between the world and a believer. Because of the façade so many believers exude its like we are walking in camouflage. There should be something different about the body of Christ. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Steven Sawyer says:

    Gee, and if you’d only had more time you could have met a fellow whacked out old timer blogger. My wife and I live in Atlanta, well, Lawrenceville, a nearby suburb. But we were in midtown Atlanta Saturday for a NAMI walk. Next time you head this way, let me know. I’d love to meet a fellow blogger, especially you, whom I have admired since I read your very first blog post. And, you’re right about the traffic.

  7. ccragamuffin says:

    Just this morning I copied into my quote collection journal a thought from Anne Lamott…””You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do,”…and while my pride may well up at the word “hate” and pronounce that it does not hate anyone…a still small voice asks me “but what about friendship…have you created a God who only has the same friends that you do?”. Then I read your post and must again turn the probing light of Truth into my own soul. Painful.

    • mtsweat says:

      Wow, just when I thought there was no beating myself up any worse, you offer a quote to trump everything. 🙂 It was a growing adventure for us this week, one we’ll not soon forget I pray. I also pray doors were opened so when they visit here we can show the same hospitality we were given.. with a Lighthouse gospel twang. Thanks good friend, your words are always an incredible encouragement.

  8. creativekim1 says:

    Thank you friend for this challenge! We were able to be in Atlanta this week at a Conference. We have MUCH to share, but a couple of things I was reminded over the week are : I am known… To make Him known. And, While ministering to people, Jesus didn’t hold them “accountable”, He held them close! I am praying today that my Father will break my heart for what breaks His!

    • mtsweat says:

      Those are fantastic liners good friend. That we will all join you in your pursuit of brokenness and that we will find ourselves being known for only one reason, to make Him known.

      We must communicate better. Both in Atlanta and didn’t meet up. Of course, there’s some places in Atlanta that may as well be three states over, traffic and all. Navigating that… that is the real challenge. 🙂 Next time… blessings and many thanks for being the great encourager!

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