Archive for February 2010

Outreach FAIL

February 13, 2010

What I’m about to post is very ironic, considering my last post.  You may conclude I’m a hypocrite…no worries, I often draw the same conclusion.

Like many others this morning, me and the kiddos headed out to explore Cartersville and find a big hill.  Objective: Sledding (and snowball fights and getting wet…and cold).  We found a nice sized hill next to a church where others were already and decided to join in on the fun.  As we approached the group of adults & kids – about 10 of them – a man approached me with this, “Hey man, we are having our own family thing here but you can use that slope right there” (pointing to a smaller hill about 50 yards away).  My first immediate thought was I’ve stepped on to private property and he’s just kindly telling me so.  My second thought – exactly half a second after the first one – was YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING ME as I surveyed the TON of space and the FEW people utilizing it.

I really wish it was just a property issue.  Unfortunately it’s much worse.

“Oh, I’m sorry, is this your property?” I asked.  He said no and then continued, “But it’s church property and I’m a member.” He then reminded me that they’re just trying to do a “family thing”.  He could tell by my silence and facial expression that the conversation was going downhill – pun intended.  All I could think was BITE YOUR TONGUE SUTTON.  Don’t be stupid.  Let it go.  Just walk away.  Instead, I replied, “You got to be kidding me” as I looked to my right and left as if to say “all this room and you’re going to stake your claim to a hill that doesn’t belong to you?!”

As I turned to walk away and head toward our smaller patch of paridise, one more thing came out.  I’m still discerning if it was of the flesh or of the Spirit (ha).  “Cmon kids, the church people don’t want us here” I said.  I wanted the weight of that to land on this dude.  I wanted him to think I was an unchurched guy and that he had just blown an opportunity.  Most likely though, it didn’t.  He never came over to apologize and they continued with their “family outing”.  It perhaps only gave me an opportunity to try and explain to my kids what I was attempting.

Maybe I’m missing something.  Maybe there’s something within this story I’m not grasping.  But from best I could tell, it’s an outreach fail (and a reaction fail on my part).  I couldn’t help but think about how many of the friends I’m blessed to know at Oak Leaf would have reacted if they had been in this guy’s shoes and a stranger had walked up.  “Hey, cmon over!  Can I help you with your sled?  What’s your name?  We got a table with hot chocolate over there.  Watch out for that big grassy patch.  You live around here?  Go to church anywhere?”

No need in naming the church…and no need in trying to blame them for one of their members being a twerp.

Bonus: Wonder if I should tell the church that this same member later brought out a 4 wheeler that made quite an impression on their landscaping?  🙂

Putting Down

February 9, 2010

During my exciting errand this morning of going to purchase stamps, I was listening to talk radio.  In the middle of the normal he said-she said gunk, an interesting parallel developed in front of me…one that personally hit (convicted) me right between the eyes.

Putting Others Down: Not Just A Bad Idea For Politicians

At times it can be extremely popular for a politician to “turn” on their own.  I’m not talking about completely switching parties, but rather verbal jabs and putdowns toward their own in order to gain political favor…or so they think.  Many are doing so because they think it will A. Gain some merit from a needed few in the other party to help push through a piece of legislation or B. Gain more votes from independents or even opposite party voters.  THE REALITY THOUGH: It rarely works.  In fact, in this current political climate, people are fet up with the trashing of others.  The historical blame game is losing momentum, and fast.

But enough about politics.  I’m not going to pretend to know more than I do. (I’m your typical sound byte American. Ha.)  There is an unfortunate parallel with those who profess Christ.  We are often guilty for putting down other Christians, thinking it will gain favor with those “like minded” believers around us or even crazy enough to think it strikes a common bond with unbelievers who hear our garbage mouths.  Seriously, this is a bad strategy.  Trust me, I’ve been foolish enough to try it.  Oh, no, I didn’t sit down and plan it out on paper…it comes much easier…in everyday conversations.  “Yeah, but you have to admit, there is CRAZY stuff out there done in ‘the name of the Lord!”  I agree.  And to some extent, it’s OK to judge harmful, unbiblical speech and teach our children the difference.  But I’m referring to the unnecessary negative talk we toss out there that’s in no way Christ-like or even remotely smart.

So I’m trying to learn John 13:34-35 in a new way.  It’s one the most powerful weapons God gave us.  For many of us, it’s what drew us to Christ in the first place…seeing others care for each other and respect each other like never before.  Let’s not fall into the trap of thinking that putting down a Christian is going to attract a nonbeliever or please God in any way.  Let’s instead use something that seems to be void from politics…something that stands out and grabs attention better than any good slogan: True Love.