Thursday, August 27, 2015

Maybe we need to stop talking?

If you haven’t read the prior blog (posted on August 13), please read it before reading this one.
Okay. So after posting that blog, a CCSC friend called to say how much she appreciated reading about the Jeters and seeing people like them lifted up. We spoke about the ordinary people we both know who live their faith out in daily life, providing a strong example of what it means to be a Christian.
Then she mused, “I wonder what it would be like if all Christians stopped talking for 40 days (40 days being a biblical timeframe) and had to witness to their faith only by their actions?” 
Now, I know some of you are having a heart attack right now, thinking this would be fundamentally wrong. And I agree that we are called to use our words to explain why our faith matters. In fact, I think some of us are too passive in not verbalizing how our faith changes who we are and how we see the world. 
But I also think a 40 day fast from talking, replaced by 40 days of action, could be transformative. And powerful. There is a quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi that says, “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” 
Perhaps a healthy balance of words and action is what’s needed.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Being a Christian is about doing

There are many stories I could share of faith in action, so this is just one coming out of our 41 covenant churches.

A few months ago I spoke at Sharpstown Baptist Church, giving a “moment for mission” on CCSC.

While at the church, I learned that Mike & Alaine Jeter (the pastor and his wife) had become aware of a small community of people living near the church who had needs. Instead of forming a committee to study the problem, they announced one Sunday that their congregation had an opportunity to help these families, and they were going to begin with tutoring the children to help them in school.

The first volunteers were Mike and Alaine. Each week, they and others go to this apartment complex to help the mostly elementary school-aged children with their homework.

On the Sunday I spoke, these children all sat with Alaine until children’s church began. It was obvious that a genuine affection had grown between them, and when I asked about it later, Mike said he and Alaine considered these children to be their grandchildren. Alaine has since begun a woman’s program to deepen relations between the children’s mothers and the women of the church.

Mike and Alaine are also active volunteers with CCSC as well as with other organizations connected to their church. While I know they use their voices to talk about their beliefs, it appears to me that a lot of their energy goes into “doing” and “being” Christians.

And it reminds me of the famous adage, actions speak louder than words.

Monday, August 3, 2015

A story from the neighborhood

Recently CCSC's Office Manager and I were visiting with a neighbor whose business is near our offices. His building is a pedestal building: the parking lot is on the ground floor with office space on the second and higher floors.

He had a story for us. A few years ago, CCSC was helping a homeless woman with food as well as other services. For a period of time she slept in our neighbor's parking area, since it protected her from the weather. Our neighbor said it was not ideal for his business, but he wasn't comfortable asking her to leave. He felt compassion for her.

One evening as he left his office, he saw her reading a pamphlet about how to become a commercial bus driver. She told him this was her goal, and over time, she achieved this goal. CCSC never knew this part of her story - she simply stopped coming to us - so it was good to know she didn't disappear into the streets.

Between our services and his kindness, she had shelter and food during a rough time in her life.

Somewhere in Houston she now drives a bus, carrying passengers to their destinations. I imagine she's grateful for the job and pleased that our neighborhood is no longer her home, but maybe just an area of town she passes during the workday.