Thursday, July 12, 2012

Will you be the one?

Churches are scattered like birdseed throughout the south. On a recent trip to Milledgeville, GA I passed no less than 46 churches in a 2 hour drive. 46!!! They were named things like, Unity Missionary, AME, Church of the Nazarene, New hope, Cool Water, Primitive, Church of Christ and Pathfinders Christian. So many little clicks for one general religion. It's apparently very important to have your own little sectioned off area of beliefs and to build a building so that others will come and share those beliefs with you. Maybe it's worship style or basic biblical principle that divides them all. Maybe it's the modern day version of the Tower of Babel so that we do not build a spaceship to heaven now that our resources are expanded and our knowledge vast.
It just struck me as amazing to see so many, yet so different a church in such a short period of time.

What if church had no building? What if church happened every day with the way we related to the hundreds of people we come into contact with each week? What if the members of all those churches I passed formed a chain, hand in hand. How long would their reach stretch? How much ground would be covered?
On another trip this past weekend to North Carolina, I was driving on I-26 and came upon a very bad accident. Two cars and a van were involved and none of them facing the correct direction anymore. All of them had their fronts torn off or were meshed with the center cable barriers. The police had not arrived yet and vehicles were still smoking, telling me that this just happened. On the ground people were sitting, covered in blood with t-shirts for bandages wrapped around their injured parts. All of this I saw in the 5 seconds it took just drive on by. I was on a schedule of course and what could I do? I came up with a slew of excuses as to why I did not stop. But sometimes, we don't know what we can do until we actually get into a situation. We have to first be available.
I think we keep ourselves so busy with our churches and our buildings and our programs, that we totally miss people in need as we speed on by staying on schedule, headed for our next church event. Jesus didn't have a building...he met the people where there was need. It would do us and our communities so much good if we kept this concept in our heads and became unafraid to help others. There is a song I used to sing in church called, "Will you be the one?"
I think of those lyrics while pondering these situations:
In a world full of broken dreams
Where the truth is hard to find
For every promise that is kept
There are many left behind
Though it seems that nobody cares
It still matters what you do
Cause there's a difference you can make
But the choice is up to you

Will you be the one
To answer to His call
Will you stand
When those around you fall
Will you be the one
To take His light
Into a darkened world
Tell me will you be the one

Oh sometimes it's hard to know
Who is right and what is wrong
And where are you supposed to stand
When the battle lines are drawn
There's a voice that is calling out
For someone who's not afraid
To be a beacon in the night
To a world that's lost it's way


The chatterbox stage is proving to be both annoying and amusing. I still wish that some days I could change my name after the 100th time of Addison calling me...for no particular reason. I guess she just likes to know I'm there? Three has brought about a sense of her being older than she is. She's resorted to calling me "Mom" and Michael, "Dad." Now if I remember correctly, I was well into my tween years before I  called my mom and dad exactly that. However, my child has skipped all those years and thrown out the baby version for the teen version. Time marches on.
On the flip side, some of the sayings that come out of her mouth are hilarious and immediately send me into a state of laughing with my head thrown back and my mouth wide open.
Addison is in dance camp this week. Each day, we try and find out what she did that day. Yesterday she had a special treat when Grandma came to pick her up. When asked where she slept at Grandma's house for her nap, she answered that she was laying down.  Well yes, I guess that is an appropriate concern for a toddler..LOL. She also told us that at camp, she was a star and immediately did a full circle spin. But the funniest for me, was when I asked her what they ate that day. "We had pizza! It was delicious!"
She's picking up words all the time and throwing them in sentences that send me to the floor. Along with her growing skill at the dramatic, I am sure that I'm in for some doozies when it comes to conversations with Addison.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Nothing is ever free

It's 1994. A recent high school graduate, I was destined for greatness as I started a new adventure, a new chapter in life. I stood on the campus of Berry College ready to embrace whatever life had to throw at me..ready to become something great. During our orientation week there was a word that the leaders played back over and over: TNSTAAFL. They would pronounce it, tin-staff-el and it was an acronym for "There's no such thing as a free lunch". Of course the message: If you're gonna come here and go to school, you've got to work for it.
That was the first time I'd ever heard it put like that. I'd been taught growing up that hard work and determination was the only way to accomplish anything. We had not been given much in life, so my parents were very hard workers and passed that on. Ironically, we never really wanted for anything either.
Many times, that word has resounded in my head at times when I encounter people who have never been taught this concept. There is such a selfish mentality in this country. An attitude of "I'm gonna get mine." That of course is not referring to them working to get theirs, but rather they be given their fair share. Our government is fostering this mentality through bailouts and health care bills. To some, these opportunities look like shiny new quarters on the sidewalk, just calling out to be picked up. But one thing they don't think about is TNSTAAFL. Nothing is ever free.
We walk around this country, dressed how we want, speaking however we feel. We can express our opinions without persecution, we can be what we want to be without fear and we can reach whatever heights our determination will let us. We can worship God or buddha or allah or the sun or the devil. It's what we refer to as a "free" country. But remember, nothing is free.
Today is July 4, 2012. Today we celebrate our nation's birthday. In 1776, a group of people executed what was the culmination of many people's hard work. The foundation, the structure that has lasted 236 years and formed the basis that has continued to make this country great. It is sacrifice of our soldiers that protects that freedom and ensures that no terrorist or other world faction will take away those freedoms...because as the saying goes, even freedom, isn't free.