As long as I live there will be something worth fighting for, worth writing for, and worth dying for.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Open Door Church

I am finishing up the first draft of my first-ever book. Two potential publishers are lined up and will be receiving a manuscript proposal soon. Honestly, this all has not happened the way I thought it would. Oddly enough, at times it seems perfect, just...slow. I like to run ahead of myself, so I have been thinking about what next. It's true, if this is a dream of mine, I need to sell out to it. Sold.

I've been thinking about what books to write next without distracting myself from finishing these. I don't know that it is possible. Two book dreams are on the drawing board, one more recent the other the oldest dream I have had. A book entitled "Unloved." A book intended to wake people up to the fact that, for Christians, there should be no unloved. But there are.

We are a closed door church. Ushers are bouncers, standing at the door and accepting those with the appropriate social status and skin color. It's a righteous weekend club, where we come and sit in air conditioning on soft cushioned pews in our pretty dresses and snazzy suits. It's like a country club, without the valets. Why have we stopped reaching out? Why have we categorized grace?

I spoke with a mother the other day about her chidren, three of which can be little rascals at times. She apologized for their stubborn will and admitted that they were hard for her to handle, that they had some chemical imbalance treatable by Omega-3s. After she finished, I looked at her and confessed that those three were the three I got along with best. That shocked her.

That's always how it has been for me. Maybe because, statistically, I was supposed to be one of those kids, I have always had a heart for the 'trouble children.' Give me your rebels, your disheartened, your broken, there is grace at the foot of the cross. It's the cocky, nosey children I don't tolerate well at all. I like to be able to function without having everything I do questionned, "Miss Jessica, why are you doing that? Why does that look that way? What is that for? Who are you talking to?" It takes every grain of grace in my body, and some I don't have, to keep from responding tartly, "None of your business kid."

I've always been drawn to the unloved. That kid sitting alone in the back of the classroom. That girl who struggles with her self-esteem. Kids who are labeled as retarded or problematic. I love those kids. You know, the ones no one else is supposed to love. During summer school, one girl in particular spent hours at my desk, nearly in tears because she couldn't understand math. For one of her English papers she wrote about how she got made fun of and her teachers had called her stupid and slow. A righteous anger burns up in me when teachers do that.

It's the same thing we do as a body of Christ. The moment someone steps across our threshold, we size them up, stare them down and determine whether or not they meet our standard. Newsflash: our standard doesn't matter.

I heard this song today, and wanted to share the lyrics. They are perfect and I am so grateful for Jonny and the impact he is making with his music.

He's been preached at a million times
so he can tell you what's wrong and right
but he still sits with a heart of stone
'cause condemnation is all he's known.

But what if we took a different route,
got to know him from the inside out,
showed him that we're all the same
and told him about amazing grace.

'Cause he needs love, he needs love,
lots of it before he'll ever open up.
He needs grace from God above,
but from us he needs love.

(she we they)

If she doesn't somehow catch an eye,
she'll sleep out in the cold tonight.
So she works the corner with fishnets on,
just blocks away from a house of God.

She claims she'll never go inside,
just doesn't think that it would feel right,
but what if we stepped out to her,
with love that she doesn't have to earn?

I bet the world would change if it knew love
well we know His name so it's up to us.
We gotta reach our hands to wash some feet
go another mile to find a need.

We gotta step off of our pedestals,
if we want a change that's radical.
If we're gonna serve the least of these,
then love is what we really need.

"They Need Love" by Jonny Diaz

1 comment:

Katy said...

hmmm this seems to go along with something you and I talked about a couple days ago in your own time we're on chat, remind me to share my thoughts.