However, it was tough to move my heart and my attention away from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It's hard to hear about and watch people who are trapped in a storm-induced prison. They don't have any of the necessities to sustain life.
It was like reading about one of the plagues from the Bible or maybe even like the flood that Noah had to contend with. I don't have any answers, but I'm listening. There's not much I can do other than pray and hit the contribute button on the American Red Cross website which I have done.
I hope our church spends some time praying for and talking about ways to help these folks. If they don't want to, then you have to ask about the purpose of the church. I do have some reflections about being almost 60.
For me, it's sobering to think that I have more life behind me, then I do in front of me. I want whatever I have left to count. I want to be focused on what counts. No more spinning my wheels on what I know won't produce results or is of no consequence.
One item on my "I'm not sure about list" is the church. It seems like its importance is way overrated. I've seen very little evidence that it makes any difference. Ouch, that seems harsh. But, with the church, I feel there are some truth-in-advertising issues which need to be addressed. One of them involves loving other people.
There's talk, but is there walk?
I have to ask myself whether my church would be missed if it left its neighborhood. Big part of me says "no." The need around us stands out like a sore thumb. Have we made any difference in the lives of the people around us? I don't have a confident answer.
For much of my adult life, I've tried to be part of positive change in the church. I served on committees and even led a few. But, it seems like the interest was in perpetuating the business of the church, rather than reaching and helping people. How do others feel?
I'm not giving up, but maybe refocusing. Is the church becoming more irrelevant and has it marginalized itself it terms of affecting people? I need to listen for the voice of God in this, but I'm not wasting more time chasing a rainbow where you never find the end.
For me, it has to be about me and my personal relationship with Jesus and the church is a side-player.
I hope I'm wrong. I'll stay involved, but not overly-invested. My daughter gave me a book for my birthday--Adventures in Missing The Point--by Tony Campolo and Brian McClaren. They write on page 12:
"We're just two bald guys learning to love the Lord and the church and the world, and wer're trying to figure out the point of being Christians."
I'm open to change and I'll be looking for answers.
Meanwhile, I know God wants me to help others with what I have. I'm not sure how I can help those affected by Katrina, but I hope that there are others in the north who feel the need to make a difference in the lives of these people.