"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager
Wednesday, March 22, 2006 Next time I go to church, I will:
This week, Robin and Schroedter are on spring break, which means that I don't have to be home at 7:30 am to take care of Hayden while they leave for school ... which means I could do something this morning I've wanted to do for quite awhile - go to the Wednesday, 7 a.m. service at Christ Church Cathedral.
The service is the creation of the Rev. Dr. John Kilgore (for most Rev. Drs., the "dr." part is an academic title -- John is an actual medical doctor -- in fact one of the finest cardiologists around). I've known John since he was a parishioner at the Church of St. Michael and St. George, where I was an associate my first job out of seminary. He's just one of the finest people and priests I know. And the service is great -- about 20 or so folks, many of them stopping in early on their way to work.
For me to get to the Cathedral meant getting up early enough to shower, dress, scrape the ice off the car and drive the 15 minutes to downtown. Not a tremendously difficult ordeal, all things considered. And this morning, well worth it.
I came home and in my email box was the latest post from Stephanie Rhodes' blog (Steph, you may recall, is spending a semester in the Occupied Territories ... Bethlehem, to be specific ... as her practicum for her Master's of Public Health from UAB). Somebody tagged her with one of those blog questionnaires so she was playing along (she tageed me at the end of it, so I should be doing that in this space ... but I'm writing this instead -- maybe later), and one of the "finish this sentence" questions was this:
Next time I go to church, I will:
and her answer was
...have to pass through a checkpoint.
It could have been easy to gloss over, nestled as it was between "If I had only:" (been a trust fund baby) and "What worries me most" (making decisions about my future). And I think that's what sticks with me the most about it -- how it just was a part of the list, like it was perfectly natural to have to pass through a checkpoint to go to church.
I think you really know that sin and brokenness are the norm when you get used to things that you should never have to get used to -- that NOBODY should ever have to get used to. I saw it in Sudan when people didn't blink an eye when teens walked around with automatic weapons and every mother talked about burying their children. You see it in Northern Uganda where the children walk miles roundtrip daily to keep away from abduction by the LRA -- it's just a part of life.
We see it on our own streets when children have to join gangs to be safe and women aren't supposed to walk alone at night.
I don't know where I'm going with this ... and maybe it's because I just came back from church myself ... but the image stays with me. I don't know if I should feel grateful that I don't have to do this or sad that some do.
EGR resources and connects the church to embrace what one person, one congregation, one diocese and one church can do to make this mission of global reconciliation happen.
Want to find out more ... check our our website at www.e4gr.org.
"Christ's example is being
demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy,
which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here.
If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest
of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't,
it will be irrelevant."