Monday, September 9, 2013

DOING Good....Do it...don't write about it on FB!

Last night after spending about 2 hours going through the 50+ emails that needed some sort of action, I was just about to shut down my computer when my friend Mama Bean, messaged me on Facebook....

Holy shit-- wanna add to the shitstorm on my wall? I know you enjoy a good pot stir.

Of course I love a good discourse when it is about something important and knowing Mama Bean, it's generally a very relevant topic. This was her post:

You shouldn't have to tell people you're a Christian. 

Today rather than praying for good, hearing about good or talking about good try DOING good.

I bet those extra coats jammed in your closets could keep someone warm this winter. And all those shoes... there are people that need them. The cans of food that have sat in your cupboards-- someone is hungry.

Check in's at churches don't impress anyone. Check in's at hospices, food pantries, homeless shelters, protests against social injustice, the VA, nursing homes- that's impressive. Those are the peacemakers.

Church services are great-- they can be inspiring, uplifting-- I get it. Go. Pray. Sing. Be Joyful. Just don't forget to Do.

I think the world would be a better a place.
Peace be with you on this Sunday morning.

Forty-four (44) comments later the debate rages on. Now, before I start receiving the same amount of comments from anonymous people who thankfully read my blog, think for a second....no throwing sand in the sandbox!

Mama Bean wasn't bashing churches or church goers, she was simply encouraging an attitude of "doing" rather than "talking". Personally, church hasn't been the most positive experience for me. I am deeply religious, not just spiritual, I am religious. If someone put a gun to my head and demanded I renounce my faith and become let's say, a jihadist, I would take the bullet. Again, pro Muslim/Islamist people...simply substitute, Buddhist, Hindu, Wiccan whatever "faith" you'd like.

The challenge I have had with churches has been the ironic lack of grace. I read a book a year or so ago by Philip Yancey, "What's so Amazing about Grace?" The book begins with the author talking to a prostitute about getting some help and he asks why she doesn't try going to church. Her reply is simply at church she is judged, she is not accepted, she is seen as the prostitute she is. Is that grace? I left the church, actually I was kicked out of the church in the 80's when I started living with my boyfriend. Shouldn't the "church" have worked to keep me in the fold, to accept me as I am, a sinner and given me a little grace, the same grace God grants us every single day?

I see many church groups come through Rwanda. Frankly, I have not been impressed. I know I'm going to get nailed for that comment, but hear me out. I have actually had people on a 10 day mission trip say they converted many Rwandans to their religion, they have been saved? First of all, how do you know they needed saving? You hold four services and spend a few hours with them and they're saved? How about teaching them a skill, living with them for years, helping them from the grassroots level? Oh, you have a life back in America? I have lived with the riders for four years and there are still things which we go over and over and over, the same thing for four years! I truly believe, often times, the thrill of the missionary group is not necessarily in "helping" or "saving" a Rwanda, it's in their personal feeling about what THEY did. Jesus never bragged on Facebook about how many souls he saved. Now, I could see Peter doing that if Facebook had been around back in the day.

Please, do not get your undies in a wad. I TRULY believe most people have very good intentions, they just get really lost at times. I still believe in the good hearts of most people, even after years of seeing some very disheartening, cynical invoking behavior.

If you have found a church which inspires you to be the best you in God's eyes you can be...Hallelujah, you have an added bonus in your life. But if you sit in the pew and look around and judge who's the better Christian, why someone else gets the accolades of "volunteering" to lead the choir, or kudos for teaching Sunday school then your heart is in the wrong place. The best way to receive grace is to give grace.

I encourage you, if you're having a bad day because one of your kids forgot their lunch and your boss chewed you out of work and the dog pooped on the carpet, go volunteer somewhere....any where, get a reality check. People are hungry, lonely, suicidal, frightened, homeless, people need the "community" you and your church (if you are a church goer) can give them.

This week, coach and I were able to secure two slots for the World Championships for two very promising Ethiopians. It doesn't seem like a big deal in the realm of professional cycling, it's two races. But for two young Ethiopian hopefuls it means a shot at a future, a future to affect change in their family, their community and their country. This is the note we received from one of them:

Hi 
I hope you are well!!!  Mr shiferaw said me I have to contact with you about world champion. 
So i want ask you one thing.  Are you coming to Florence?  and I  am confirmed for both ITT and road race?
Mr Shiferaw said me. He confirmed me for ITT and road race.  So I just want make sure it is that 100% true. Now I am in Italy Lucca am looking forward to world championship
Thanks so much for helping us!!!


That's it...that is exactly what my dear friend, Mama Bean was suggesting in her post.  The time people took to rant over and over on the post they could have gone out and helped someone.  Instead they word volleyed over what they thought Mama Bean "meant".  In the meantime, someone went to bed hungry, cold and disheartened with life.

Just go do....so very simple.





2 comments:

  1. Thanks. I can understand how people took it out of context. I should preface this with the inspiration for it-- a number of people were perpetually posting religious memes or all the time they spent IN church. They were intermingled with all my friends who were doing all these great things all over the world- protesting, providing medical care, supporting civil rights-- good stuff. And I thought "You know what, church can be a good thing but what about if everyone took action today-- I think God would like that."

    Instead, people got pissed off and wrote nasty things about how I shouldn't hate church and Christians and what do I do anyhow in the world that's useful?

    I do a lot. Enough said. If you know me, you know that. If you don't, well then why the hell are you my friend on FB? I very rarely blog about the volunteer work I do or post check ins. If you saw my wall you would think i was an an obsessive mother who drank a lot of Starbucks. True, but not all.

    The irony of it all was that no one bothered to ask me my faith. They assumed I had none.

    Not true.

    But to be honest to my quote, you shouldn't have to ask. You should just be able to see it.

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  2. All I can say is "Word". You know my story. My world "volunteerism" was more about hearing and seeing other people's stories - yours for one! - and not very much about actually "doing" anything. That's one of the biggest things I came away with after traveling to 20 countries. Be Present. Listen. Love. Give grace. And most of all, I can do nothing unless I abide in Jesus. He said this, not me.
    Kim - I love who you are! Keep living fearlessly and saying it like you see it and live it.

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