Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes, and General Mental Mayhem

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Happy Birthday Doesn’t Even Come Close

131630375Happy 100th post to me! While that is a celebration in itself, I wanted to tell you about something even more special that I was able to be a part of recently. It’s really something worth honoring.

A few weeks ago I attended a birthday party. While at first that may not sound all that exciting, it was unlike any birthday party I’ve ever attended.

It was for a survivor of sex trafficking. And it was her first birthday party ever.

She’s older than I am (I’m a very young 36.), and I’ve never seen such joy at a birthday party. Sure, there’s the six year-old who is super excited to open his new Angry Birds t-shirt, or the teenage girl who squeals while waving around her first iPhone, or the twenty-something who over-shares on Facebook about her birthday cruise. But this experience was pure, unfiltered, full-on thrill. It was one of the greatest days of her life. And it was pretty darn amazing for the rest of us too.

We had the usual—streamers, balloons, flowers, party hats, cake and gifts. But to her, we hosted the Oscars. Everything we did during the party or gave her was like an answer to prayer. There was gratefulness displayed like I’ve rarely seen over such simple things most of us take for grated like a cute watch or a pretty handbag or sweet-smelling lotion or a nice pair of jeans. But for someone who went from having nothing, to personally owning a few lovely things, it was a milestone. She held up her new clothes excitedly saying she would wear them to her very first church service in the morning. Nothing was taken for granted, and everything opened a new conversation full of hope and a different future.

Funny enough, one of her favorite things was the balloons. She said she loved balloons and always wanted one of her own, so she was excited to take them to her room afterward along with her gifts. And she didn’t open our cards in public, but instead tucked them neatly inside her pretty little purse and told us she would read them when she was feeling lost or scared or alone. She said they would comfort her in desperate times when her past would creep back into her thoughts. Our words would communicate love when our arms couldn’t be there to embrace her. It was so ordinary and so extraordinary all at the same time.

We laughed with her and cried with her, and drank in every second of her. She couldn’t believe we would do anything like this for her. She’s been used and abused her whole life, and in many ways still showed the scars.  She animatedly talked about her brand new faith, and asked questions and shed tears when she remembered God would always be there to listen to her. She said if she’d only known that before, she would’ve started talking to him long ago.

Before we all left, we prayed with her because this was a birthday in so many ways. It was a landmark occasion. It was a symbol of a new future. It was a party for leaving “the life” behind and entering a new one. It was a day just for her.

“Happy” birthday just didn’t do it justice, and I’m not sure any words ever would. But I know I’ll never quite look at birthdays the same way again, and I certainly hope I get to attend a few more like that. I also hope I can make mine more meaningful. I plan to make my birthday as much of a happy day for me as those around me, and those I can help like her. And that would certainly be worth celebrating.



Here and There

105553532I know some pretty remarkable people. I’m sure you do too. They aren’t people the world knows, but perhaps it should. Among the amazing people I know are a group of women who, over time, have committed themselves to the mission field, both here and there.

There names are: Katie Johnston, Jana Brown, Julie Reagan, Rocio Elsberry, Amy McAllister, Jessica Flowers, Danielle Evans and Stacey Brednich. They have spent a year or more living overseas doing what they believed God called them to. All but one were single when they left on their adventure. They’ve taught children, helped the poor, gave social aid, taught Bible classes, loved on people unconditionally, and so much more. They left all that they knew because God led them to a new place, and they trusted He would be with them there. The first four are currently away, while the latter four have returned. I’m not even sure how many countries all of them have covered when combined. The only thing bigger and more fantastic than their stories is the God who made it possible. It wasn’t, and isn’t, easy to be gone for so long from friends, family and the culture they knew, but I think they’d all say it was worth it.

There is another name I would add to this list for many of the same reasons, though a totally different location. My friend Raechel Bowman just moved to Minnesota. No, I didn’t say Mozambique or Manilla. I said Minnesota. Like the aforementioned group, she moved because she believes God has called her there. She believes God is leading her to a new place, and she trusts He will be there with her. And I have no doubt it won’t always be easy, but she truly believes in the God who made it possible. It will be worth it. Unlike the others, she’s moving for a corporate job. Her mission field will be her home and her workplace. That is probably much more relate-able to most of us. Strangely, when I try to put myself in each of their positions, hers would be the hardest. Move to a far away land to do something out of the ordinary for a while? No problem. Move to a not so far away land to do something normal? I won’t lie when I tell you I just physically shuddered at that thought. Seriously. But Raechel is one of my heroes, and this is just one reason why. She sees the purpose behind her move, and how God got her there, and I have no doubt He will do amazing things through her in the Mall of America state.

When I think about these women I am so very proud of them. It took courage to do what they did. Courage isn’t the absence of fear, but the willingness to push through it. (Loosely quoting Ben Affleck in Bounce here because it’s a brilliant statement.) And they did. Now do you see? I know remarkable people. I am blessed to be part of a community with people such as these.

I am not quite sure what the purpose of this post is. I just thought you should know these names. I hope you also know people like these friends of mine. If you don’t, make some new friends. You won’t regret it. You will never be without great conversation and inspiration. You will see God around you. If you do have friends like these, support and encourage them however you can. Your voice is just as important to them as your money. Pray for them and learn from them. Ask God to make you like them. As Raechel has shown us (and we know it’s true) it doesn’t take a passport to find a mission field.

Here or there. Wherever you find yourself, live well. Live the life God called you to. Adventures can happen anywhere.


Why I Fight

April 4, 1968, changed history forever. It was no longer the life of a man, but the legacy he left behind. A woman lost her husband, four children lost their father, and the world lost one of the greatest leaders it had ever known.

Martin Luther King Jr. is a personal hero of mine, so I always take a moment to remember and honor him in my own way. For the last few years that’s meant listening to his “I Have A Dream” speech on YouTube.

If you have 15 minutes, I’d encourage you to listen to it again. It never fails to bring me to tears.

This year, though, I decided to listen to his “I Have Been to the Mountaintop” speech, the last one he gave. I’ve heard excerpts from it before, but as it’s about 45 minutes long I don’t know that I’ve heard the whole thing. Once again, I found him not only inspiring but somehow comforting.

I’ve always been drawn to the stories of Moses, Abraham Lincoln and MLK. Liberation and abolition were a part of my heart’s vocabulary before I truly understood what they meant. There was just something beautiful and righteous about helping others gain their freedom. I admired them for their actions, though I am saddened they were even necessary.

Personally, I still have a really hard time even processing the Civil Rights Movement. I am always baffled by the fact that it was in full swing only a decade or so before I was born. I just can’t fathom that life existed at all, but much less right before mine began. How was/is that kind of hate tolerated? Where does it come from? Why is it encouraged? I have sat and thought and shed tears wondering what I would do if I were in any of their situations. I have prayed with every fiber of my being that I am the kind of person would have fought for those people. It would have been ugly. It would have been hard. It would have been painful, mentally, spiritually, and quite possibly physically. But it would’ve been the right thing to do.

I can’t remember where, possibly in David Batstone’s book, Not For Sale, but someone spoke about the 27 million slaves in the world today, and then asked a question like, “When your children asked what you did to help them, what will you say?” I sat with that for a while, and then I smiled. I finally had the answer to the question that I wondered in my heart for so long. I now know that I am a part of the solution. I know that I wouldn’t, that I couldn’t, ignore it. I would never knowingly be part of the problem, but it would be easy enough to sit back and let someone else take charge. Except that, for me, I can’t. God has built it into me. Ignoring it or doing nothing wouldn’t be easy. It would eat at me until I acted on it because it’s part of my God-given design. I am, and always have been, an abolitionist. And now is my chance to prove it.

Today, listening to MLK’s speech, I feel I identified with him more than ever before. And while there are probably a hundred lessons to learn, I will share with you four that meant something in particular to me right now with where I’m at in life. If you’ve got 45 minutes, below is the speech in it’s entirety. It’s pretty remarkable. Or you can read it here.

1. IF YOU HEAR THE TRUTH, PREACH IT. For me, this means telling others about modern-day slavery. It is a message God has put within me to share. Yes, others can and will do it. But I won’t let them do it without me. It is “a kind of fire shut up in my bones.”

In his speech he said, “We need all of you. And you know what’s beautiful to me is to see all of these ministers of the Gospel. It’s a marvelous picture. Who is it that is supposed to articulate the longings and aspirations of the people more than the preacher? Somehow the preacher must have a kind of fire shut up in his bones. And whenever injustice is around he tell it. Somehow the preacher must be an Amos, and saith, ‘When God speaks who can but prophesy?’ Again with Amos, ‘Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.’ Somehow the preach must say with Jesus, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me. And he’s anointed me to deal with the problems of the poor.”

Amos 7:14-15, “But Amos replied, “I’m not a professional prophet, and I was never trained to be one. I’m just a shepherd, and I take care of sycamore-fig trees. But the Lord called me away from my flock and told me, ‘Go and prophesy to my people in Israel.’”

2. PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS. This lesson is very timely because my friends and I at Not For Sale Georgia released a Purchase With Purpose guide this fall. It’s filled with 250+ companies that care about social responsibility and are striving to ensure that their supply chain is slave free. I want to buy better, and I want to teach others to do the same.

In his speech he said, “Always anchor our external direct action with the power of economic withdrawal. Now, we are poor people. Individually, we are poor when you compare us with the white society in America. We are poor. Never stop and forget collectively—that means all of us together—collectively we are richer than all the nations in the world, with the exception of nine… That’s power right there, if we know how to pool it.

We don’t have to argue with anybody. We don’t have to curse and go around acting bad with our words. We don’t need any bricks and bottles. We don’t need any Molotov cocktails. We just need to go around to these stores, and to these massive industries in our country and say, ‘God sent us by here, to say to you that you’re not treating his children right. And we’ve come by here to ask that you make them the first item on your agenda fair treatment, where God’s children are concerned. Now, if you’re not prepared to do that, we do have an agenda that we must follow. And our agenda calls for withdrawing economic support from you.”

3. BECOME DANGEROUSLY UNSELFISH. I, by nature, am selfish. But I want to change that. It’s part of the reason I’ve chosen my theme for the year as SIMPLIFY. I know once I personally have less, I’ll be able to give more. Like many of my friends who have been on mission trips and humanitarian trips, I have had the privilege to spend time with some people who have very little. As you’ve probably heard others say, they are almost always quite happy, and they eagerly share what little they have with you. How many middle to upper class Americans does that accurately describe? I’m guessing the Rx tablets at the doctor’s offices would say very few. If I don’t care as much about my “stuff,” then I won’t care as much about having less or sharing it. Hmmm, I’m pretty sure there’s a Beattitude in there somewhere.

In his speech he said, “Now, let me say as I move to my conclusion that we’ve got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end. Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through. And when we have our march, you need to be there. If it means leaving work, if it means leaving school—be there. Be concerned about your brother. You may not be on strike. But either we go up together, or we go down together. Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness.” He then goes on to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-27, following with, “And so the first question that the priest asked, the first question that the Levite asked was, ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But then the Good Samaritan came by and he reversed the question, ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’

4. I, TOO, HAVE GLIMPSED THE PROMISED LAND. I believe when MLK made this statement he simply meant that he had seen the capacity for what’s good, and what’s right. And he saw that change was on they way. I, too, am privileged to see that on a regular basis. More and more people are becoming aware that slavery is not an issue of the past, but one that continues to the present. It is no longer conversations of one or two people, but thousands. Event audiences are growing, people are asking questions, and moreover, they are asking what they can do. A motto of Not For Sale is to end slavery in this lifetime. I know some days, that seems an insurmountable task when you hear the number 27 million, or the heartbreaking story of a child sold into that life, or the number of Johns (perpetrators) even in your own community. And then, there are those glimpses of the Promised Land when you hear the story of a rescue, the birth of a new survivor. I do not know if slavery will end in my lifetime. I hope so. I pray so. I just know I have to get in there and be part of the fight.

In his speech he said, after describing the bomb threat to his plane, “Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop.

And I don’t mind.

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!

And so I’m happy, tonight.

I’m not worried about anything.

I’m not fearing any man!

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!

This speech took place April 3, 1968. Dr. King was assassinated the next day. When I finally sit and have a conversation with MLK in Heaven, which is on my list, I won’t ask if he’d do it all again. I know without a doubt he would. After all, he’d been to the mountaintop. Who would want to come down from that? He did what God put inside him to do. There is no regret in that. I know there are moments he would like to have seen, like his children growing up, growing old with his wife, and hanging out with friends. But he fulfilled his mission. He did what he existed for. How amazing is that! I want that!

Today is a special day.We don’t just honor a life. We continue his legacy.

Why do I fight the battle of an abolitionist? I do it because my heroes did it. I do it because my God specifically designed me for it. I do it because I can. I do it because I must. I do it because in the midst of the darkness, there are glimpses of the Promised Land. And they make it worth the fight.

2 Kings 6:16-17, “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. ‘For there are more on our side than on theirs!’ Then Elisha prayed, ‘O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!’ The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.”

27 million. It’s a lot. But there are more on our side than on theirs. God, whether you open my eyes to see it or not, I know you and your armies are there. I have faith.

I am not just living a life. I am continuing God’s legacy, just as Martin Luther King Jr did. Whether my name is celebrated by only one, or one million, I fight.


God vs. Science – the conversation continues

Totally ripping this off another blog, but I thought it was well worth it! Don’t know if it’s true, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks, Jon!


PROFESSOR: You are a Christian, aren’t you, son?
STUDENT: Yes, sir.
PROFESSOR: So, you believe in God?
STUDENT: Absolutely, sir.
PROFESSOR: Is God good?
PROFESSOR: My brother died of cancer, even though he prayed to God to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But God didn’t. How is God good, then? Hmm?
(Student was silent)
PROFESSOR: You can’t answer, can you? Let’s start again, young fella. Is God good?
PROFESSOR: Is Satan good?
PROFESSOR: Where does Satan come from?
STUDENT: From.. God.
PROFESSOR: That’s right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?
PROFESSOR: Evil is everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything. Correct?
PROFESSOR: So who created evil?
(Student didn’t answer)
PROFESSOR: Is there sickness? Immortality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don’t they?
STUDENT: Yes, sir.
PROFESSOR: So, who created them?
(Student had no answer)
PROFESSOR: Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son.. have you ever seen God?
STUDENT: No, sir.
PROFESSOR: Tell us if you have ever heard your God.
STUDENT: No, sir.
PROFESSOR: Have you ever felt your God, tasted your God, smelt your God? Have you ever had any sensory perception of God, for that matter?
STUDENT: No, sir. I’m afraid I haven’t.
PROFESSOR: Yet you still believe in Him?
PROFESSOR: According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, Science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?
STUDENT: Nothing. I only have my Faith.
PROFESSOR: Yes, Faith. And that is the problem Science has.
STUDENT: Professor, is there such a thing as Heat?
STUDENT: And is there such a thing as Cold?
STUDENT: No, sir, there isn’t.
(The Lecture Theatre became very quiet with this turn of events)
STUDENT: Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don’t have anything called cold. We can hit 458 Degrees below Zero which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of Heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.
(There was a pon-drop silence in the Lecture Theatre)
STUDENT: What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?
PROFESSOR: Yes. What is night if there isn’t darkness?
STUDENT: You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have Low Light, Normal Light, Bright Light, Flashing Light… But if you have No Light constantly, you have nothing and it’s called Darkness, isn’t it? In reality, darkness isn’t. If it is, You would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?
PROFESSOR: So what is the point you are making, young man?
STUDENT: Sir, my point is, your Philosophical Premise is flawed.
PROFESSOR: Flawed? Can you explain how?
STUDENT: Sir, you are working on the Premise of Duality. You argue there is Life and then there is Death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, Science can’t even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it. Now tell me, Professor, do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?
PROFESSOR: If you are referring to the Natural Evolutionary Process, yes of course, I do.
STUDENT: Have you ever observed Evolution with your own eyes, sir?
(The professor shook his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument was going)
STUDENT: Since no one has ever observed the Process of Evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a Scientist but a Preacher?
(The class was in uproar)
STUDENT: Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor’s brain?
(The class broke out into laughter)
STUDENT: Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor’s brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? .. No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established Rules of Empirical, Stable and Demonstrable Protocol, Science says that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures?
(The room was silent. The Professor stared at the student, his face unfathomable)
PROFESSOR: I guess you’ll have to take them on Faith, son.
STUDENT: That is it, sir.. exactly! The link between man and God is Faith. That is all that keeps things alive and moving!
That student was Albert Einstein.

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Letter to a Friend

Dear, Friend –

I don’t know where quit to begin. My mind is rushing with thoughts at the moment and I feel a little bit like I’m drowning in them. The dam is about to break, so first, excuse me and second, hold on!

I’ve had drafts and revisions of this letter in my mind for weeks. Every time I thought about committing them to paper, I had a better excuse not to. Tonight I’m at the point where I cannot go to bed without doing it.

This monologue might better be served as an in-person discussion. I fully realize that thought. But you know me well enough to know that I can better express myself by writing…and well, I might cry if I saw your face as I said these things. No, scratch that. I would cry, and probably pretty hard. So, maybe this is better for both of us!

What am I alluding to, you ask? Get to the point, you say? What the heck is this all about, you wonder? Frankly, it’s about your life. Not just your “life” as, dare I say, trivial, as that may seem, but about your existence. Your daily living. Your purpose. Your story. Your freedom.

Do I have your attention yet???

We’ve known each other for years and I can’t tell you how much I enjoy and appreciate your presence in my life. You’ve been a wonderful person to me to laugh with in the good times and process with in the more difficult ones. You have always remained a source of encouragement. I can’t tell you what that means. I know we don’t use this word a lot these days, but I cherish you. And I’ve thought so many times of the letter you wrote to me last year on my birthday. You expressed how much you trust me. You told me that again recently. That fact means so much to me. I am so honored by it. We don’t get to spend a lot of face-to-face time together but I feel joy every time we do. I’m so grateful for how much our friendship has grown over the years. You are a blessing to me. In fact, I see so many reasons God has put you in my life. And that brings me to this point.

I’m not going to try and lay a sense of guilt or shame on you. I’m not even going to try and convict you or “save” you. Why would I? You already believe in God and Jesus. But what I am going to do is tell you what I want for you. I want you to know the fullness of Christ and live in His freedom.

I was working on a project with one of our common friends tonight and we were talking about values. These weren’t values that we thought were good, or even great. They were values that we’d die for. We fell on four: freedom, story, relationships and growth. Freedom means the ability that we have to fully recognize the weight and beauty of what Christ did for us on the cross and live with Him forever, starting now. Story means that I can understand how I am connected to God as well as everyone and everything else; my life has purpose and my actions affect the world around me. Relationships are important because life is lived best among people, those who do know Christ and even those who do not yet know Him. We chose growth because it’s a universal concept; everything living is growing. But it’s always a choice to grow in a healthy manner. These may not be the four words that two other people would use, which is perfectly fine, but we feel these words lay at the core of all the others. They are the reason we get up in the morning.

And as I thought through these individually and their connections to each other, I thought of you. Yes, my friend, I would die for you. I love you that much. I’m sorry if I haven’t made it that clear before now.

This may surprise you, but many people who love Christ as I do decide not to share Him with others. I don’t even think that it is a conscious choice. This isn’t at all because they are bad people. It’s usually because they are scared. Like everyone else walking around the planet, they are scared of rejection. I know, I’ve been there. Sometimes it is with strangers, but I think mostly it is with people they care about. They don’t want to lose that relationship because they value it. Seems almost ironic, doesn’t it? You don’t share something you love with someone you love because you are afraid of losing love.

When I originally started drafting this letter in my head a few weeks back I dwelt for a long time on the last paragraph. And I wasn’t afraid of losing your love or friendship. I just wanted to go at your pace. I wanted to tell you these things when you were at a place you could fully hear them. But for whatever reason, I feel God quickening that pace. I feel great urgency in gushing all of this to you as I am now. It cannot be contained any longer. Perhaps you are in a place to hear.

Here’s another paradox of sorts for you: I care so much about you that I’m willing to risk my relationship with you. That’s right. I’m willing to throw all those years of memories down the tubes because I love you that much. What do you think of that? My dear friend, I am desperate for you know Christ as I do. He is not a great man from a large book who lived a long time ago and did some awesome things. He is a living, breathing Savior. He endured separation from God, the Creator of the Universe, for me…and you. And He is literally dying to be in an intimate relationship with you. I hope this doesn’t sound too “out there” or anything. It isn’t meant to be. I just want you to understand the depth and weight involved in this process. Again, I know you believe in Him. But do you believe Him? Do you trust Him as you would me?

Let me give you a great example from my favorite movie of all time, The Wizard of Oz. I feel like most people, even many Christians, walk around stuck in the black and white of Kansas. After all, over 40% of the US population says they are Christian. How many truly live by that ideology, though? Wouldn’t it be an amazing place if they did? To this group, everything appears a little dull and lifeless, whether they realize it or not. There is good and there is bad. And there’s even a lot of gray to navigate, which is where we get stuck a lot. There is a routine to life and tasks to perform. But inside all of us, there is a desire to be over the rainbow – to know and live and be somewhere bigger than ourselves. It’s a beautiful place but it’s not quite attainable. And we know it’s not quit attainable because we are constantly trying to buy or do or see or feel more to get us over there. But all we can see is black, white and gray.

There is another side, though! When we fully understand who Christ is and who we are in Him, that is who He designed us to be and what purpose we are specifically to live out, we open the door. (Yes, it does usually take the cyclone to get us there!) And on the other side of that door is color like we’ve never seen or imagined! We get over the rainbow and we didn’t have to die to do it! Sure, it’s not heaven so there is still pain and suffering and hardship. But there is also a group who travels with us to encourage us along the way and make memories together. We do life together and we experience it more fully because we have a common purpose and we are not alone.

I think that Dorothy could be trying so hard to get back home because the other people she loved, her family, where stuck in black and white. She still saw how beautiful over the rainbow was, despite it not being exactly as she imagined. I think when she went back home she had a greater understanding for the black and white life, yet she carried the color in her heart. It had changed her. She grew in the process.

Maybe that’s all a bit of a stretch for you, but let’s roll with it, ok?

But that’s a little story of what I want for you. Color floods my heart and I dream for it to flood yours, too.

We’ve talked on a couple of occasions about some of the damage that’s been done to you by people who called themselves Christians, and within the walls of a church. My heart literally aches and my eyes fill up every time I stop to think about it. But all I can say is that I’m sorry. I would tell you a thousand times if that would simply fix it. However, what I am telling you with everything in me that is not the way Christ designed His Church. It should be a place of love, grace, mercy, compassion and Truth. It should be the expression and embodiment of who He is here on this earth. But as long as He allows imperfect people to become members, including myself, we are stuck with that predicament. All we can do is learn from the past, live in the present and look to the future.

I hope and pray that you have learned a different meaning of the Church from being around my friends and me. At least, that is what you said, and I am taking you at your word. I trust that you would tell me the truth. We are very broken and imperfect people, but we strive to be the Church that Christ calls us to be. I want you to see that there are other models out there. All are only replicas of the original, but each is trying in their own way to look like the masterpiece. I desire for you to more frequently be the Church with us.

So, I think I’m running out of thoughts, or at least words. I guess that leaves me with expectations…

I expect you to respond to this in whatever way works best for you. That may mean we talk about it, email about it, allude to it – or we don’t. I respect your choice 100%. After all, it’s yours to make. Please do not feel any pressure or obligation. I didn’t write it for that purpose. I wrote it to express my heart to you, as I feel God asked me to do, and that’s it.

There are also a few expectations you can have for me. The first is that, no matter how you respond, I will still love you as a dear friend. You may be very ready to talk about this or you may never be ready to talk about this. Either way is for you to decide. The second is that I will not bring this up again unless God asks me to. The ball is in your court. And the third is that, as I have done for years now, I will continue to pray for you. I pray for you because I genuinely care about you.

Ok, guess that’s about it. I’ll be seeing you soon, hopefully over the rainbow.