I don’t normally read all my favorite blogs every single day. Usually, once a week, I sit down for an hour or so and go through all of them and catch up. Jim Gardner’s blog is packed with insights and usually forces me to look something up in the Bible or in a book on my shelf or somewhere else on line. His blog takes me a while. With Jimmy Mitchell it only takes about three minutes since he only writes about once a month. (I miss you, Jimmy!) Our Youth Minister here at Legacy, Jason Brown, is only in his first month of full-time blogging. But he’s tackling some deep issues and asking some fairly heady questions. His takes me a while, too.
His Wednesday post on missions and mission trips meshed perfectly with my post from yesterday regarding the Rosemont effort in southwest Fort Worth. We had both gone to that kickoff and informational meeting together. So it’s no surprise that our thoughts were focused on the same things.
Our thoughts center on the concept of seeing our own neighborhoods, our own zip codes, as huge mission fields for the Kingdom. The idea of seeing the people all around us as the lost souls that they are, no more and no less important than the lost souls in Africa and South America. Jason’s specific questions deal with the practice of youth mission trips. Why spend all the time and money traveling outside the state or even the country when there’s just as much, if not more, work to be done right across the street?
Here’s what I commented on his blog late last night:
“I was visiting with some brothers and sisters Wednesday about the wonderful work the Rosemont Church of Christ is doing in southwest Fort Worth. They’ve donated their entire campus, all their buildings, and the land it sits on to Continent of Great Cities to plant a huge Spanish-speaking congregation in the middle of what is a huge Hispanic population base in DFW. The discussion turned to our own outreach effort at which point one of our spiritual leaders said, “We don’t have any poor people anywhere near our building. And nobody like that will ever drive to our church.”
That grieves me.
Attitudes and talk like that are nothing less than a writing off of precious people made in the image of our Father. The truth is there are plenty of low-income and/or Spanish-speaking people a stone throw’s away from our building. But we don’t think they’ll fit in. So we don’t even try. And we actively seek to discourage anyone else from trying.
What makes us think that God plants us here, blesses us here, provides for us here, and saves us here — right here in the middle of hundreds of thousands of lost souls — in order to take the Gospel somewhere else?
What makes us think it’s commendable to spend a week or two overseas preaching the Word while we ignore or, worse, write off all our neighbors right here in our own city? What gives us the gall?
I know your post already asks all these same questions. They are real. They are urgent. And they do demand answers.
I think you’re clearly on to something when you speak about our comfort zones. Evangelism is messy. We’d rather create a mess somewhere else and leave, I think, than make one in our own kitchen and have to live with it.”
It’s sad, very sad, that Major League Baseball’s All-Time Home Run Champion is Barry Bonds.* He’s a lying cheat. But besides that, the holder of the sport’s most sacred record will spend time in federal prison and will never be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Here’s how awful it is: I think it’s the only thing in the world that could ever cause me to root for Alex Rodriguez to keep hitting homers. That shows you how awful the Bonds* thing is. Go Pay-Rod!
Cowboys-Redskins. The Beautiful Harvey Martin tossing a funeral wreath into the visitors lockerroom at Texas Stadium following a Dallas win over Washington. Diron Talbert calling Roger Staubach a dirty name across the line of scrimmage. George Allen accusing the Cowboys of spying on the Redskins practices with a helicopter. Staubach leaping into the arms of Ron Springs after that game-winning pass to Tony Hill clinched the division in Staubach’s last-ever regular season game. Doomsday versus The Hogs.
Jimmy Johnson’s first Cowboys team getting their only win of the season on the road at RFK—without Aikman. Clint Longley’s mad Thanksgiving Day bomb that sealed his “victory of the uncluttered mind.” Larry Cole’s TD returns. The Texas Stadium crowd singing Happy Birthday to Joe Theisman the night he threw five picks in a blowout loss on the date of his birth. Billy Kilmer. Art Monk. Drew Pearson. Chris Hanberger. Joe Gibbs. Too Tall. Everson Walls. The 1982 NFC Championship Game. Michael Downs and Dennis Thurman breaking up the Smurfs celebration in the Cowboys end zone.
Sunday afternoon will be special. All Cowboys-Redskins games are.