Tuesday, March 21, 2006

how do we balance our words to motivate?

I find myself too busy to blog. Too busy to sit down and write about life here on West Green Road.

When I first moved here, it all seemed so crazy and ridiculous that writing about it was a way of releasing some of the burden and stress. But often, it now just seems like normal life, and so I don’t write about. I just work and sleep and try and get up and do it again the next day. Unfortunately, for many of my readers, the things that usually motivate me enough to write are what I believe to be the arrogant, ignorant, (stick with me here, it gets better) and misinformed actions of the Christian church. My church. The church that represents me. The church that I’m identified with. The church who’s banner goes before me when I try to convince non-believers that Christ, and therefore God, loves them and died for them. I find it so frustrating that I should have to apologize and justify the actions of my church. I find it so frustrating that certain (mostly) men have such a stronghold on the media that, when they say something like “God destroyed New Orleans!”, I am identified with that and never get to voice my opinion (an opinion, btw, which might include the fact that God promised to never again destroy the world by flood, but I digress).

So for those of you who read this blog and get weary from post after post of my vented frustrations, I am sorry. Those are just the things that motivate me to write most of the time.

I’m not sure how to find balance in it all. As I said to one of my commenters, there are plenty of evangelicals out there already singing the praises of our church, but very few who are willing to point out our shortcomings. As Paul spoke boldly to the Pharisees, his people, I feel more and more that I am called to stand before my people and say, “hey guys, we’ve got to straighten our church out.” But how do you do that and keep people listening? I guess that’s why pastors have stopped preaching about gossip. It’s not a popular topic.

But with balance in mind, let me share some of the good things that are happening in my community.

One of our Sudanese girls led Simon Says, yesterday, in Arabic. Incredible! Easily the highlight of my ministry year.

Mel was invited to help the cook out in our favourite local restaurant. Unless you live here, you might not realize what a big deal this is. But for a Muslim/Turkish chef to ask the Christian Irish girl for help, and to invite her behind the grill, was a big, big deal. It is evidence that we are building bridges here in this community. It is also evidence that we eat at Genc WAY too often! : )

We are continuing to build bridges with parents. Particularly the parents of some of our rougher young people. Each time that we visit with them about their child’s behaviour, they expect us to kick their child out of our clubs. When we assure them that it is our intention to grab hold of their children, not let them go, the door is cracked open just a little bit more. Chris, you are going to make it through your adolescent years if it kills us!

Our divisional ministry is becoming what I always believed a divisional ministry should be. A resource and a tool to equip local ministries. My experience with divisional ministries is that they often steal from local ministries. The local ministries are there to resource the divisional ministry which, therefore, brings glory to TSA. But I truly believe that we are on the right path to being there to resource, equip, and encourage local ministries. I submitted my budget proposal today which reflects that. Your prayers that that budget will be approved are most appreciated. For those of you not in the Salvation Army, I apologize for that extremely confusing and coded paragraph.

I worship at an amazingly diverse church. There was a time in my life when I began to wonder whether a church ever could be diverse. I had begun to give up on the idea. And then I stumbled onto a Salvation Army church in the West Green community. It has more than thirty different nationalities represented in its congregation and is truly becoming mission minded.

I have the most beautiful and amazing daughter in the world. I don’t care what Drew, Shaun, or Dave say, they aren’t bad, they’re just wrong. Proof of this is in the video now playing in my right hand column. If it’s not playing by now, give it another second to load.

Jamie and I have fallen in love with our community. It has its days, and especially nights, but we’ve never felt more like we were in the right place. I know I use the word “bridges” a lot, but I don’t know a better way to describe what is happening here. As I shared many, many months ago, God just keeps working. He wants the world to know Him and He’s prepared to make that happen whether we’re prepared to be used or not. He’ll introduce Himself though films if He has to. Or rocks (according to the Psalmist)! But I’m happy for him to use us.

I just realized that this is post number one-hundred. I’m so far behind Gordon that I have no chance of ever catching up. But I’m glad that post number one-hundred has some balance to it. Maybe it will be a good reflection of the next one-hundred. We’ll re-evaluate when that time comes. : )

Comments on "how do we balance our words to motivate?"

 

Blogger Taminee said ... (6:01 AM) : 

It's been awhile since I've even posted to my blog so please bear with me as I comment on a few of your posts.
First of all, you are rightt hat there is a lot that people just don't get. As much good as there is in this world, the bad seems to weigh in a little more on our minds. I don't think it is so much dwelling on the bad as it is wishing that those people could make the changes for the better. How many days do I see someone famous on TV and wonder what they do with all their earnings. Some make mroe than enough to live the rest of their lives on. The other day, Takyra said she wanted to sell jewelry she makes and give the money to charity. I laughed and said I had a great charity for her to donate to: "The Tamra and Takyra fund." Yes, I make more money than people in other countries, but it's not enough to provide for both me and my daughter. Why can't Trump just give away some of his money? Even so, you mentioned the numbers in Vietnam who made so little off the Nike shoes they make. Fact is, they are making a living and they have chosen that job. Not that it is right what they are paid, but they are given some payment for their work. I have a friend from Cambodia, and she showed me pictures of her last visit. Her family is from a tiny fishing town, where they fish in the mud. Most of her pictures were from her town and the family was fishing and playing in a waterfall. There were some pictures of a big family feast and they were having so much fun. She had a couple of pictures of a major city where some of the "dancers" were performing out in the gardens. She informed me that most women hoped to make it to the city to be a dancer. When I asked if that was what she always wanted, her reply was, "NO!" She wanted to come to America. She said that when she went back she questioned why she wanted to come here, because she loved where she came from. She is going back to her simpler life of way less money than she can make here and she doesn't regret it. I look at the pictures and see people content with their way of living. If money buys us happiness, then by all means, we need better paying jobs. If we can get by on our bills with a lower income and find joy in everyday life, I'd work jsut any old place. I am spoiled and need to learn that there are some things I don't need.
Okay, next issue. The church. Luckily, the church is not meant just for Christians. Unfortunately, I think members of the church take for granted the people they have seen in the church for years. One primary example: I was shocked when I found out my lifelong friend jsut accepted Jesus into his heart this year. I always assumed Matt was a Christian. Shame on me for not making sure my friend was a Christian years ago. How many of us walk into church and put on our Sunday best, and I'm not talking about our clothes? I know I did. It is just recently that I have decided I have to walk the walk, but no one around me would ever guess I've done anything but. What would people at church do if they ever knew how some of it's members "are" outside of church? It takes me back to the summer after my Sr. year of high school. My best friend from Colorado went down to OKC with me. I had been going to church all summer long and had invited her to come during her time in town. I'll admit, she is the biggest flirt (even still since she's married). One night, two guys form the youth group invited us out. We had gone to a movie then went to a park after and talked while playing on the playground. (yeah we were so populr with our ways LOL) The next Sunday we showed up at the youth group and a certain WPBC member who we'll call Donnie, came and told me my friend shouldn't be there. I asked why. " Rumor has it she did "things" with one of the guys in our youth group." First of all, he had no idea I had been with her the whole night and none of that had happened. Second, he did not find out the facts before believing the lie of a newcomer to the youth group. Most important, rather than witnessing to either his friend or mine, he decided to shun my friend for her actions and accept the wrongdoing of his friend. Many Christians talk about witnessing and yet they turn people away who don't live a Christian life. When do we stop whispering and condemning and start witnessing? Tim, I am a huge fan of your efforts. I read about the church you are involved in and I love what you stand for. You are putting into action the beliefs I have had for the past 13 years. I pray that people see your example. I pray I can be that kind of example. If we only accept and witness to our fellow Christians, our numbers will not grow. We have to "Go ye therefore and teach ALL nations..."

 

Blogger Evangeline said ... (6:43 AM) : 

I struggle with much the same problem. I do see the negatives in life, in church, etc. I guess it makes me feel a little better, but at the same time a little worse to know that every religion, philosophy and belief structure - not to mention hobby group - suffers the same problems (taking this from my experience with christians, pagans/neopagans, atheists, animal rescuers, knitters... etc).

The only solution I've found is to avoid letting myself spew out negativity - where possible - and to make sure that any criticism I offer is useful, and prayed over beforehand with great humility. Otherwise, aren't I just adding to the whole problem? Oh... and the other half of the solution is to radiate positivity - love. Light conquers dark, etc... even when we don't see it.

This is NOT saying that your frustrations, and writing about them, have been wrong, prideful or whatever!

 

Blogger Gordon said ... (9:19 AM) : 

That was like a cool glass of water on a hot day - what a post to bring up 100 - thanks!

 

Blogger Larry said ... (12:52 PM) : 

Tim,

I have been in ministry for years and still have many of the feelings you share. I am thinking this post shows you are starting to reach a balance.

We still need your prophetic voice and sensitive spirit. Great post for number 100. I came so late to the dance, I will never catch up.

 

Blogger shaun said ... (6:55 PM) : 

Just about the time I'm going to make Jamie's blog my means of information on your family, you go and write something like this... :)
For whatever it's worth, by demonstrating the glory of the gospel in these "every-day" accounts of ministry you have motivated me personally to keep being faithful in my own little sphere of ministry...Perhaps balance isn't really the issue after all but rather how can we point to the glory and beauty of Jesus at work in his world, even in seemingly small places. Maybe that would go even further in helping those who aren't christians recognize what the true church is about (even when goofballs talk about assasinating politcal leaders or assigning weather events with meaning that the scriptures don't endorse, or "baptizing" political views in ways thatmake me want to be as dissacociated from them as possible and would they please stop using the term "christian"). Maybe that would even motivate believers to participate in Jesus' mission...i'm thinking of a kind of "in view of God's mercy..." Rom 12:1 approach. I know that is needed as much in my pca as in your tsa...
On another note I think your assessment of my daughter is really clouded by the genetic hill she is having to climb because of me. I have to admit that makes sense even if it isn't quite fair :)

 

Blogger Taminee said ... (11:20 PM) : 

I had to add to what I typed yesteday. First of all, olyvia is gorgeous and I love her little giggle. My favorite part is toward the end where she's seems a bit warn out and she does that high pitched sigh of a laugh. Too cute.
Okay, I saw a bumper sticker you would like Tim. It read " If you aren't outraged, you obviously aren't paying attention!" Amen! I think that sums up what you are saying right?!

 

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