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All That You Can’t Leave Behind

I’ve learned that it’s often hard to make a break with our past. This is because people don’t just keep history, they drag it along behind them. While some people have baggage that they can’t get over, others have baggage that people won’t let them get over.

When I was nine I announced to my parents that I’d never marry.  I didn’t see the need since my life revolved mostly around television, cereal, and breakfast sausage.  With the advent of the microwave oven, women no longer factored into the equation that it took to produce the results I was looking for.

My father, amused by my reasoning, asked for me to put this in writing.  My mother drafted the document.  I couldn’t sign my name to it fast enough.

Because they recognized my synchronized ignorance of thinking and stupidity of speaking, they held onto this magna carta of moronity to show my fiancée 12 years later.

Sometimes you say something so stupid that you recognize it immediately after you say it.  Mostly though, you just say something stupid and you don’t notice the people around you wince.

As a pastor, I’ve spent the majority of my adult life surrounded by Christians. This means I’ve also spent serious quantities of time wincing, not because Christians say a lot of stupid things, all humans do, but because Christians usually say stupid things with the conviction of someone who believes that they are speaking on God’s behalf…. and he’s got their back.

I’m not the only one wincing.

It used to be hard for non-Christians to eaves drop on Christian conversation, but then urban churches with building space found themselves without congregants.  The last 20 years of nondenominational, suburban, church startups have since appeared at middle schools, movie theaters, and pizza places.  With classes meeting during the week and theaters selling tickets during matinee hours, the members of these churches need places to meet regularly during weekday hours.

The solution to this problem is the ubiquitous strip mall coffee shop.  For the price of a small latte, small groups can rent space to talk about their marital/financial/sexual struggles in a public forum that feels more like a living room than a confessional.

While this is more awkward than bad (it’s unpleasant when the espresso machine suddenly stops hissing and the person shouting to be heard over it is confessing their most carnal meditations) it does mean that a person who’s just come in for a caramel macchiato is probably going to get it alongside a healthy dose of “christian opinion”.

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Light The Streets

As the Aids crisis spotlight gives way to the health care crisis limelight, I suspect that we’re only a few years away from African advocacy being out of vogue among American churches. This is why you should check out the ministry of Africa New Life.  They were interested in Africans as humans before it was hip, and they’re in it for the long haul.

More than just child sponsorship that features nutrition and education, Africa New Life Ministries is dedicated to building sustainable human infrastructure by educating and training women to join Rwanda’s aspirations of a continent leading quality of life.  Focused around the person Jesus Christ and the complete redemption of the human condition, Africa New Life Ministries also works with street children, moving them from city slums to facilities focused on introducing them to the life that Christ intended for them.

If you aren’t aware of Africa New Life and how they’re Kingdom building to turn “Not Yet” into “Already”, you should check out the video below. You won’t cry because you’re sad, you’ll cry because of how beautiful Faith, Hope, and Love are.

Click here to check out LightTheStreets.com

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