A lot of you who follow me know about our recent breakdown in Boulder, Colorado. As an activist, I felt somewhat shamed by the backlash that followed, the insinuations that I didn’t have my priorities straight, and that asking for assistance for an expensive repair bill was the wrong approach (when that is precisely the reason crowdfunding platforms were launched!), and I let myself listen to the voices.
Never listen to the voices.
Yesterday brought me back into sharp focus. A couple we have been trying to reach out to shared with us the fact that they were trying very hard to keep their family intact, living in a tent while the two year long housing wait list prevents them from being safely housed, and being unable to wash their kids’ clothes at regular intervals. They had gotten tokens from the day center, but two tokens doesn’t go very far for a month for a family of six. And this was creating problems with DHS.
I won’t go in to the specifics of their situation, because one thing I have learned is that we can rationalize away from helping ANYONE if we try hard enough. Maybe they’re addicted, maybe they’re a felon, maybe they don’t put out as much effort as we think they should. All of those reasons can lead us to continue onward to Jerusalem and leave that bleeding and beaten soul lying in the ditch.
ALL of those reasons, if we follow the Galilean, if we “Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb” as the trite Christian anthem attests, are wrong. Our duty is to that bleeding and beaten soul, not to our rationalizations.
Yesterday reminded me of what I am doing. Only a precious few understand. I am serving in an unfunded ministry, to reach out to those who have turned away from traditional ministers because of the judgment and and shallowness that they have found. It is an impossible ministry, because I will never have esteem, I will never have money, and I will never have the things that our culture tells us we must. But my understanding of my faith as it is, is that it is about sacrifice and servanthood, not about safety or security.
And so I shall continue, as continue I must. Because this is one story; there are millions more. And I cannot reach them all. But I can continue walking in the footsteps of Tom Joad, in the footsteps of my savior, and in the ministry to which I am called.
And I will. Regardless the cost.