October 13, 2015

Dusty Shoes

I’ve attended a fair number of churches that use the auditorium for the adult Sunday school class prior to the worship service. Consequently, I’ve found myself standing alone in the foyer for 10-15 minutes waiting for the class to dismiss. I understand utilizing the facility space, but what I don’t understand is the lack of accommodations for visitors. My sense is that many of these churches simply don’t expect uninvited visitors. Jesus sent the 12 apostles out into towns and villages where they were not known with the caveat, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town” (Matt 10:14 NIV).  I can’t help but wonder how many visitors dust off their shoes as they exit our churches simply because they were not welcomed.

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----Some things I don’t think into. “If I knew then what I know now,” is one. In my twenties I somewhat suspected people were generally as scared as I was. Well. Maybe not quite. I was terrified of other people most of time. It wasn’t that I thought everyone was a possible thug. I thought everyone was normal and on the verge of noticing how abnormal I really was. I would have enjoyed a much richer social life had I known then that some normal folks were learning my abnormality, while others were as scared as I was about the exposure of their abnormalities, and yet others had long gotten over such childishness, somewhat. And a few people understood that everyone, including themselves were abnormal, for abnormal is just a different word, with attitude, for unique. But had I known this and crawled out of my shell earlier, then I most likely would have been married before I met Char, and that would have been a major travesty. So I try not to think about such woulda coulda shouldas.
-----The mind is a much too busy place for being left unkempt. An unkempt mind serves up multiple lines of self analysis meaning little about the world with which it must negotiate and far too much about the thickets and dense undergrowth of its own inner forest floors. At least that’s what it looks like inside the head of a scaredy-cat. I’ve met other folks seemingly lost in an inner splendor of glitter, gold, and unending oasis. Either way, it’s hard to see outside through all the inner mental busyness feeding into and eating upon its own momentum driving it to continue that way. The world around the greater number of people is only a backdrop upon which this confusion projects to make them feel at home.
-----Therefore the stranger is scary. He doesn’t fit into the familiar screen. We’ve learned to deal with the aberrations familiar folks cause in our projections, mental adjustments we must make to get along regardless of our differences, or distances we must keep where adjustment demands too much. Eventually we learn what to think and not to think about familiar people, and what of their projections upon us to reflect and not to reflect back at them.
-----Of course, that’s just for the most part. There is the fewer of us who’ve grown beyond my kind of childishness. They’ve learned that the quest for the kingdom is a shelter. It turns off the inner projector. And though it can not turn off the projectors around it, this quest formulates a screen which somehow always reflects edification back at whatever any projector has shined upon it. More significantly (and maybe why the quest makes possible such edifying reflection of any projection,) accepting the vulnerability of the quest’s venture opens many more behavioral options towards new folks; they no longer show up as scary spots on our projection screen.
-----It is more than interesting that the mind of Christ explores other folks for what they need according to what they are. This happens in the dark absence of the projector lights. Meeting any stranger with anything other than a blank for the quest to fill with what it finds degrades the intimacy which discovering that stranger needs. Meeting any stranger with a mind to do to him right increases peace making joy (Rom 14:17.) Welcoming strangers is not a church program. It is a process of the new life, if there is enough of that in the church to shine out of the thickets of its forest floors.

Love you all,
Steve Corey