Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Prayer

We have a friend who loves us the way that she can. I feel honored when she is free enough to confide the most horrific episodes of her life to me.

She lived in a box in New York City for more years than she can remember, with her husband. Her life, as early as she could remember, was filled with the most disturbing kind of abuses you ever heard. I am nauseated and repulsed by the extreme pain she was forced to endure. This stuff makes people react very differently, to every circumstance, than what you or I would consider normal; a type of primitive self preservation. Her moods swing from elation to abject fear in one instance. Her impulses are more in control than her conscience. A word can conjure up the worst memories that become real to her within. She is more like a wild animal than civilized; more like a child than an adult.

Her church experience has been people becoming exhausted in helping her, with comments like, “she just keeps making bad decisions,” and “why can’t she just act right?” She has 48 years of trying to survive in the most primitive ways. She can’t.

Another good friend rescued her. She took her into her home, managed an arsenal of drugs that would boggle the mind and keeps her alive, navigated doctor appointments, HIV treatments, and put up with the most difficult rejections of God’s mercy and impulses that I’ve ever seen; and working tirelessly as Christ’s representative in an 83 year old container.

We’ve needed to help to modify things for them, but we must not allow either of them to feel as though their great gains amount to loss. We must work to keep our dear friends connected to each other and us. We trust God that the strides that they made together, will move her ever closer to Christ’s healing.
How much love will help her? How much inconvenience will we need to endure to comfort her? How much love will be needed to assure her of Christ’s love? Isn’t this who HE is? Isn’t this who we must become?

Kork Moyer's----Believe It of NOT

I just visited juvenile court again this month. I needed to put a friend (one of our single mothers), at ease while we drove to an uncomfortable appointment.

This is a true story that I told her, and unfortunately, it is normal for us. (Please don’t read this if you are faint of heart or prudish.)

I told her;
The last time I was at Juvenile Court I thought that I was going to jail myself.

I was bringing another person to her son’s hearing. I was just concerned for her and trying to comfort her, thinking and acting all spiritual, and zealously wanting to know the right “God words” for every question. Such a giant for God...

We walked through the Court door (I’m not sure how my mind works, or what woke me up to a horrible fact), and must have visibly turned white as the blood drained from my head in horror.

You see, we held a church service at the Mental Health Association’s Peer Resource Center here in town. On any given evening, we would have 2 to 20 people. Often, Big John and I would sit there and twiddle our thumbs out of boredom. We’d create games like counting down to when certain people would explode certain expletives while playing pool in the other room, and what each individual’s expletive of choice was; we’d guess at where convoluted discussions would go, that we would eves drop on... Stuff like that. It is those boring times, that rest you, for when the circus comes to town—if you know what I mean.

Folks began to come in that Thursday, and we knew it was time to get serious. It was a decent size group. We solved the mysteries of life and enjoyed spirited conversation, but Randy was wide-eyed and quiet—scary quiet! I was reading, with my nose buried in my bible (unaware of the rest of the world), when a really big hand slams down on my bible in front of me, shocking me out of holy space. It was Randy, and he screamed, “take this *%#@^&-ing thing away from me, It’s killing me!!”

Under his hand was his crack pipe.

We hugged and prayed. The whole room joined us and we made some big promises to each other. Incidentally, Randy’s openness and vulnerability led others to share terrible stuff too. It was Christ. I told Randy that I’d dispose of the contraband later that night. The meeting ended, and I went home.

I used to be the house parent for a very difficult person. He is mentally retarded, with a narcissistic personality disorder (totally serious), and unbelievably addicted to rough gay porn. I made a deal with him that I didn’t want to see it, as his landlord didn’t either, nor the other folks from his agency, nor the plumber, nor... you get the picture. He had a huge amount, and also had this habit of leaving it out in the open, and the deal was what ever was left out when I showed up, I would confiscate and toss in the trash. Earlier that day, that was the case. Playing cards. Right there for everyone and God to see. I flipped them into my bag.

Here we are... Friday morning... walking up to the Juvenile Court door... Where I know there are metal detectors, and BAG SERCHES!! You guessed it... I slid the pipe into my man-bag with the porn cards! I can only tell you that I broke into a sweat that made my shoes slosh, and I could see no way out as my blood pressure dropped!

Realizing my slight miscalculation, I pulled the officer aside.

“Sir,” I said, “Do you believe in God?”

“Would you believe that I am a pastor?”

His sincere look was worrying. “Yes,” he said.

“I’ve got a story for you.”

I can only believe that he hadn’t laughed in years and was making up for lost time.

(A note to all in ministry, always, always, always carry your Pastoral Credentials with you!!)
I think my friend forgot her troubles temporarily, and I am the poster child for “Don’t let this happen to you!”

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Holiday Charity for the Well-Off

So often, we remove ourselves from people who might be a little different than us, even ignoring people who desperately need us all year long. Then, around the holidays, we decide to engage those very same people, calling it humanitarianism, or charity, leaving us with warm holiday feelings. I truly do love who we become each Christmas season.

But consider, how those who are on the receiving end of our charity, feel. They don't regard themselves as anything special. In fact it can be down-right embarrassing for them as we do "ministry" at them. Most of them only want to be equal.
There can be a real poverty of a different kind among those who are above the poverty line--those "Well-Off."

Our community wants to bless them with Christ's charity this holiday season, to "minister" to them with God's mercy, and comfort.

Please join us, the Homeless Community, those with less, & Still Waters Church, in blessing those who are Comfortable this Christmas.

December 13 & 20, at 5:30 pm

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The prophets had one foot in Israel and one foot outside. So must you have one foot in your faith community and one foot in the world.

Always we have to find our love, then give our love away.

Sometimes it isn't easy to give or to see.

We must love where we are called to love, and sometimes that means loving people and institutions that really turn us off.
-- Fr Richard Rohr