Do for the one… A lesson from Baltimore

Crazy stuff… kids looting, rioting, and out of control in a major US City.

Baltimore burning.

Rage and Frustration literally igniting a city as millions watched and took sides.

As a pastor a thousand miles away…my heart ached. 

Such fear and confusion, politics and posturing. Agenda’s seen and unseen pushing from behind the scenes to move us in calculated ways. It’s so messed up, it makes me want to throw my ‘hands up’ in a completely different way.

But way down deep in my heart is the sadness of knowing, this explosion of emotion is based on more than a rage at the machine or the ‘man’ in charge… it’s deeper than any political movement or social injustice. This is a symptom of darker and simpler things. - Baltimore MD Riots – Baltimore MD Riots

The foundations are falling and the family is the first to go.

Baltimore is burning, lead by its dis-enfranchised youth. Where are the fathers and mothers to lead their family’s home ?

Are they absent for the decades of unresolved social injustices in their city, is it generational poverty, education erosion, violent gangs, drugs, a culture of open promiscuity… or is it the overall lack of faith or hope in the future that’s fueling this growing lack of respect for authority?

Take your pick. 

In the end, it’s about the home… or the absence of home for our youth.

America, it’s time “we” (Christians /you and I) do something about this, and stop allowing the media to push us into one camp or the other. We must see the outrage of our heavenly “Father” at the widows and orphans of our land. To ignore this is to be asleep or worse… apathetic to our selfish bones.

The words of a great sermon still echo through my heart’s halls... “Do for ‘one” what you wish you could do for all” (Andy Stanley) 

Ask God to show you ‘who’ and where and when, but it’s time we move from the sidelines to the front-lines of this modern american tragedy. It’s past time for God’s people to make a tangible difference. To risk being uncomfortable.

It’s as simple as looking for a life to invest in.

Find a young man or woman who isn’t in a healthy home or family. Adopt them. Take them in. Love them, teach them… learn from them. Grow. Become the hands and feet we sing about on Sundays. - Baltimore Riots April 27, 2015 – Baltimore Riots April 27, 2015

Do for the one… and change the world. 

Pastor B

Tired of talking?

I’ve been traveling since the recent tensions in Ferguson Missouri erupted, which gave me a ton of drive time to tune it all in and listen as dramatically different versions of what happened droned on. Polar opposite opinions escalate like the volatile emotions on the ground, as pundits and politicians, activists and angry American’s vented their wrath and frustrations all over the airwaves.

I couldn’t help but feel the bitter sting of the Millions of lives impacted by the actions of just a few. 

I listened as generations of anger and hatred, fear and frustration all came bubbling up and boiling over as each side aggressively took their stands,  prepared to defend the sanctity of their actions to the bitter end.

Forming ranks against any who would dare debate or discount them, people from every walk of life spewing toxic opinions all over twitter and Facebook as the Media machine blew on the smoldering agitation to heat their ratings white-hot, as they ride this tragedy straight to the proverbial bank.

As a pastor, as a man…my heart is seriously grieved.

I have deep friendships with people who are taking up positions on both sides of this tired debate. Each one emotionally sharing their “opinions” to me, needing me to agree with their “take” on exactly what should be done and by who…

Social media blowing up with angry accusations and judgments from one group to other. What should a ‘good’ Christian do or think ? How should churches really respond etc. Good people standing stubbornly on opposite sides of this cultural divide, re-creating in our small groups, schools and homes the same seething emotions that are being acted upon in the streets of Ferguson MO.

What is all this really ?

Why are we so enraged to ‘defend” and debate before we have the facts? Even if we did know what happened, what will that do but confirm to people what they already believe to be true.

 Wrongs  passed down and repeated, injustice and suffering expected, predicted and allowed. A state of mind and life that stems from a broken heart, a condition no doctor, educator, social worker or psychologist can fix? 

It’s hard to take responsibility for our actions. Good or bad, right or wrong… we dislike the shame and humiliation of admitting we are in the wrong. Like a marriage relationship gone really bad, both sides refuse to forgive the other. Each spouse absolutely convinced of their being in the “right” and seek only to “prove” to their point to everyone around.

With humility and some perspective, I am suggesting to each of these polarized camps….the truth might actually be smack-dab-in-the- middle. That each of us has a significant part to play in this social tragedy.

As Christians… God calls us to lead the way in reconciliation, in forgiveness and in patience with our fellow broken and imperfect man.

Living in Ferguson MO this is nearly impossible to hope for, and God’s grace will need to flow like a literal river for this mess to be resolved. But what about the ‘rest’ of us?

Are we gonna keep sparking it up or give this over to our God in prayer ?

Guys…If we don’t let God in on this stuff, we’re missing out on another fantastic opportunity to show supernatural love to a broken and bitter world.

I believe Prayer is where the things that matter the most can be changed… the state of the  human heart.

Parents, your kids are watching and listening… be thoughtful in your words, just in your action and compassionate in your opinions, it’s the only way we can go forward with our Faith intact. 

Pastor B.