It happens, things got busy, and I took a break away from writing blogs. Now I am seeking to return and work on the two blogs that I currently am writing. The one, In Him I Am Made New, will be more on the theological/devotional vain and this one to be more of the musing “coffee talk” about faith and other things. I still love coffee and conversation over coffee is the best. I guess I would make it akin to something Martin Luther said, “When the theological conversation gets too serious it’s time to have a beer.” I would just replace the beer with a nice cup of coffee.
One thing that has been heavy on my mind is the thought of community. In my little part of the world, there is a great amount of the population that is not engaged in a faith community. Along with that, there are a lot of drugs, and for being a small town, there is a significant amount of crime. Personally, I see these things go hand in hand. We have a lot of single parents, mostly mothers. Kids lack stability. It is a perfect brew for trouble. Growing up, I know that I was a kid that needed clear boundaries. These offered me a sense of stability. As a child of divorce who had witnessed a lot of fighting in the home, I was angry. I was also a kid with a temper. This, I believe, was as much biological as well as environmental. So, when I was a kid, I would fight. Another child would push me or say something, and I would react. Then a teacher or an adult would grab me (which was not a good idea), and I would react. The common reactions that many would respond with were the exact reactions that would trigger me to react stronger. I was angry and adrift in my early childhood and didn’t know what to cling to in my life. God was kind and gracious and sent a few people in my life at this time. A daycare provider who, even when I was mean, would not react in kind (I can still see her eyes pleading with me the time I got a hold of her hair), my grandmother, and a first-grade teacher (just to name a few).
For me, I desired, and still do, stability in my connections. Each of the people that impacted my life took the time to know me. They didn’t take my behavior as the only indicator of who I was but saw it as a symptom of the issues and struggles that I faced at the time. This is true with most people. Everyone has a story and whether they know it or not they want to be heard. As Christians, it is our gift to be those ears. Jesus didn’t start a community action group, a food pantry, or a social justice organization. He brought the Gospel to the world. He saw the suffering and as he entered into Jerusalem he said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37, ESV) My heart has a similar yearning for where God has placed me and for all of us followers of Christ, I believe, he desires the same from each of us.
We all see the signs. You know what I am talking about, the person at a stoplight saying they are hungry and homeless begging for money, “Anything will help.” As a rule, I don’t give money, but what I do from time to time is take a person seeking money for food to lunch. Not all will take me up, but I have had some great conversations with people and listened to their story. There is a cost, it is a lot easier to give the money and be on your way, but in these conversations, I was able to do something that many of those who have fallen into difficulty have often had lost, their humanity. Like I have said and will continue to say, people have a story that they need to hear and in hearing them they can hear the story that gives new life. Jesus modeled this in his time on earth as he ministered. The early Christians knew this, too. The most important thing that we, as Christians, have to offer is the Gospel. It is the most important thing and it is not meant to be used as a condemnation against others, but a tool to set one free. It won’t make things easier, but it is the only thing that matters even more than life itself. This we see witnessed in the modern martyrs of today, but also in the early church when they were used as torches and food for wild animals.
That is one thing I like about coffee. I can enjoy a cup on my own and often do, but the best times I have had have been when I have been in a great conversation over a cup of coffee. These are not conversations about weather or sports, honestly, I am not great at small talk though I will politely listen, I find those types of conversations to be dull. Now start to tell me about your life, you’ll have me hooked. In hearing the story of another, it is fascinating to see how God has been working in a person’s life, whether they are aware or not. If you are in a conversation with me, I believe, God led you there. God also leads people into your life, share yours with them and let them share theirs with you. I guarantee you that you will be more often blessed in that time. So, enjoy a cup and see where God leads you.