Saturday, August 21, 2010

I Am Not Afraid...

(photo from
Ok, in the beginning I said that this space was where I would post my devotionals, random thoughts, and perhaps even rants. So far, I have remained true to my word. Six days a week, most weeks, I spend an hour or two in the morning with a cup of very good coffee reading, reflecting, and writing. Sometimes what comes out is a devotional. Sometimes it's a random thought. Sometimes, it's a rant, pure and simple. I completely forgot to do my devotional this morning, and here's why. I must confess, this has been one hell of a week (and yes, preachers can say hell), so I'm not real sure if this will be devotional, random thought, or rant...or maybe some combination of all three.

It started Sunday morning, before church. I did something that I will not do any longer, I checked my facebook page before worship, and what I saw posted by a FB friend made me absolutely livid. It's one thing to disagree with what someone else, or even a group of someone elses, is doing. It's another to make sport of their desperation. And it's still another, to be a leader in a local church and post something for the world to see that humiliates and belittles any of God's kids. Call me sentimental. I don't care. I called this person out on what they had done and it created a cyber war, one hour before I had to lead worship. So, God forgive me, but I was not on my game Sunday.

Then it continued into Monday, and Tuesday, over the same issue. One of my professors in seminary, and actually one that I'm glad to call friend now, took me to the slums of Nogales, Mexico to see first hand why men and women were risking their lives to try to get here. At that moment in my life, immigration was no longer political. Immigration became spiritual. Hate me if you want, I really don't care. True we have a system for entry, and ideally, it would work flawlessly. Did you know, though, that our system was intentionally designed to force people from the urban points of entry into the desert where extreme heat and lack of water will probably kill them. This was intentional. I'm not going to argue with anyone, so don't even post comments about immigration, they'll just be deleted. This is how I feel, I'm fairly convinced Jesus would agree, so I'm not backing down. Until you stand face to face with a husband and father, and listen to his desperation with tears in his eyes, you cannot understand. So, I refuse to argue anymore.

Wednesday or Thursday, I don't remember, I heard for the first time that there were plans to build a mosque in Mayfield. Actually, I was kind of surprised there wasn't one there already, or at least close. Again, I'm not interested in arguing politics. In fact, I despise politics as they have become. I'll discuss social justice all day long, and will be glad to show examples of why I feel the way I do about a lot of things, but I will not argue politics. I found a story on a local news website,, about the proposed mosque. Then I noticed the hundreds of comments that had been made since the story broke a couple days before. Curious, I took about an hour and read them. You know, I'm a pastor, so I felt that discussions of faith would be something I should stay abreast of. What I found was not so much discussions of faith, but words of hate, hidden under claims of being in the Christian church's best interest.

Jesus said it, not me, so I will be danged if I become afraid to repeat..."Do this and you will live." What was the "this" he was talking about? The expert in the law said it, not me; "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'" Do this and you will live. It doesn't say do this and you will be safe and secure today, it says, do this and you will live.

So, here's the bottom line. I don't care what people think about me. I have answered a call to follow. I have laid down my nets, left a much, much easier life, given up living in my home and raising my kids in their house, said I will move my family wherever God sends me, willingly and with a very glad heart get up and leave my bed in the middle of the night because one of God's kids needed some help, meet folks at my door who are hungry and need something to eat...I have held the hands of the homeless on a freezing January morning, and walked the deserts of Mexico trying to get my head around the fear and despair that would drive someone to walk that walk in the middle of the night. I don't care if you're rich or poor, white or black, Christian or Muslim (even if you want to kill me because your idea of Allah says you have to)...I don't care if you're straight or gay, or legal or not, by dang I'm going to love you. I don't care what you look like, what you smell like, where you slept last night, or what's in your past, I'm going to stand up for you when I hear someone belittling you.

And frankly, I don't care who likes it. I am not afraid. First Church, the flock that I absolutley love serving, if this has embarrassed you, or if I have cast our church in a negative light, please let someone on the PPRC know and I be will glad talk to them. FB friends, if you don't like that I'm a Jesus freak and will, by dang, say what I'm led to say by a being who loves me in spite of me, and loves you in spite of you, there is a very easy solution: go to my profile page, scroll down on the left side of the page, and unfriend me. I promise it won't hurt my feelings. I may not be politically correct, and my stand may not be very popular. Jesus said that if they hate you, don't sweat it, they hated me too. So, I answer only to one person, and tonight, I will sleep like a baby because my conscience is clear.


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