Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I Don't Want to Be Safe Anymore

I've been off-line for a few days...letting my New Orleans trip percolate. There's a shift taking place inside of me. I think my trip opened my eyes to see something about who God is and what it means to follow in a new way.

Before we left to help with the Katrina Relief our team saw a video about a church in Covington, LA (Trinity Church) that was helping people with the devastation. One man who went to help said this at the end of his time of serving...."I'll never be the same. I'm not safe anymore. My church won't be safe either." By not being "safe" he was saying that he couldn't live the predictable, orderly, Sunday Christianity any more. He saw that following Jesus meant not only helping the poor and disadvantaged, it meant being WITH them in their pain. Not just "fixing" them but standing with them and identifying with them.

When I heard him say that, I thought, "I want that. I don't want my life or my church to be safe either." Well, I can't speak for the church yet, but for me, I'm feeling pretty dangerous...pretty unsafe in the sense that my focus is much more toward meeting people where they are at. I think I've already had that orientation, to a degree. But one thing that's easy to do in a helping profession is to think in terms of fixing - almost like a surgeon. You go in, help and leave... untouched by the moment because you know that if you open your heart up too much to all the pain around you you might get swallowed up and then be of no use to anyone. That's a valid concern but it can also be an excuse to remain aloof. And if that's people's take on me, I'm not helping them to see Jesus because Jesus was never aloof.

more to come...


Bri said...

FEMA is planning to kick out volunteers from New Orleans on April 10 -- see info on my blog and at this post on DailyKos.

Barbara said...

Thanks for sharing about your New Orleans experiences -- my Worship Pastor and a team of 7 men from our church are returning from New Orleans tonight after a week of helping restore (drywall, build a stage, try and put in some donated sound equipment) for two churches trying to operate and minister in the midst of the worst devastation (one helps AIDS victims and one teenage moms.) I can't wait to hear their thoughts and experiences upon returning. We have a congregation that seems to really like "safe" -- they are cautious in everything -- worship, friendship, fellowship and especially change or anything different. Mainly middle to upper middle class white married with 2 kids and a minivan :-) I am a cliff diving out of the box person (as is my Worship Pastor) - so it will be interesting to see what happens and if we do more of this type of thing. Maybe get out of our box more. I think it is wonderful that these men were willing to go and wonderful that your church did too! It may seem small but God doesn't need us to be very big or do very big things for Him to be glorified and do HIS things!