I took this photo 10 years ago when I worked in Afghanistan. It hangs in my office. The sack of beans on the man’s back weighs 110 pounds – about three months worth beans for his family.
Monthly Archives: January 2012
As I walked through the streets of Boston on this beautiful sunny day I witnessed a guy engaging in street evangelism. He perched his white board with colored diagrams and arrows on a trash can, and he talked to people passing by about God’s love and salvation. For the few who actually stopped to listen he asked, “Do you want to know how much Grace God has? God’s grace is big enough even for Giants’ fans.” I heard this and thought, “Really?”
I saw people walk away. Some with cynical smiles and some with shoulders slump as the wind went out of them. Maybe they thought they were about to hear something good, something real, something different than the normal sandwich-board-wearing-crazy-street-prophet. In an attempt to talk about God’s love and make it relevant this guy trivialized it. I hope he was joking, yet his eyes shined with triumph as he thought he had a connection point with his audience. The last thing people need is another imitation of grace – a cheap buy from a street vendor.
Real grace heals real pain, brings real reconciliation, and covers a multitude of sins. (and cheering for a different sport team is not a sin!)
I guess I’m frustrated because I believe that God’s love is a tangible reality that truly can make a difference in people’s lives and in this world, and when people use trivial examples in an attempt to make that truth relevant they saturate an already flooded market of religious delusion.
It reminds me of an old commercial from Folger’s Crystals.
A hidden camera pans a fancy restaurant dining room while a hushed voiced says, “We’ve secretly replaced this restaurant’s normal gourmet coffee with Folger’s Crystals to see if anyone will notice.” Then they conduct personal interviews with people and many of them show surprise. If 9 out of 10 people can’t tell the difference between Folger’s and gourmet coffee, then it doesn’t mean that Folger’s is gourmet. Rather, it means that 9 out of 10 people don’t know what makes great coffee.
God’s grace does not need to be dumbed-down or secretly replaced with relevant, cheapend examples for people to experience the truth of God’s love.
Is God’s grace big enough for Giants’ fans? Yes! Yet the grace is for them as people and not because they are Giants’ fans. God’s grace is big enough for people who have good intentions, yet give cheap imitations. And thankfully, God’s grace is big enough for people who rant and rave about poor evangelism…
Last Wednesday, a little after 4am, our neighbors had a sweet baby girl. We had the opportunity to hold her when she was less than 10 hours old – awesome! Holding this baby made me think of joy at new life, hope for her as she begins her journey in this world, and peace – what a peaceful baby to hold and sing to… Alleluia!
This morning we drove a familiar route with the kids. For the past six weeks a house on this route has had both the Nativity and Santa with his reindeer displayed in the front yard. EVERY time we drove by Ceara would say, “Baby Jesus. Santa. Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas.”
The owner took it down this week, and this morning as we drove by Ceara asked, “Where did baby Jesus go? Where is Santa?” The first response that came to mind gave me pause and stuck with me as I drove through the snow. “The people put him away until next Christmas,” were the words that came to mind. Yes, the Nativity and Santa scenes go away until next Christmas. Yet I began to think about ways we might be tempted to put Jesus away for the next 10 months until the good cheer, smiles, and nice-not-naughty time comes around again.
I don’t have any further thoughts at this time, but I just wanted to share something Ceara made me think about this morning.