Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 31 2016

I'm sorry if any of you feel I just write this diary to whine.  I am using this diary to process what I'm going through in trying to quit my adrenaline addiction into a life of balance, and there's a lot of negative stuff I might share.  I won't slam anybody else, if I can help it, but my frustrations will certainly come out.  Please be patient with me.

If you want me to be funny, go on my Facebook timeline.  I'm funny half the time there. :)

Today, my frustrations have to do with the kind of work I do.  I just want to help the homeless, to build community, to establish a safe place for them.  But there have been threats and complaints from every side.  The church we share the facility with want to keep animals and sleeping out of the church building so that the sanctuary can be kept "holy."  We let them know that "holiness" for us is loving and that welcoming those with dogs they can't put anywhere else and offering sleep for those in danger and having no place to sleep is how we practice holiness.  That doesn't matter to them.

Nor does it matter to the denomination who owns the property.  They want us to disallow sleeping and to disallow animals in the building, and I said that I cannot act as a police officer for arbitrary rules.  If someone is coming from the hospital and needs a place to sleep, I will give it to them.  If someone with a baby needs a place to sleep I will give it to them.  Even if it means that I lose use of the property.

That sounds pretty harsh of me, from one side.  Narrow minded, at least.  After all, I'm threatening the use of the building for hundreds for the sake of a few.  But from my perspective, they are forcing me to be the person who James and John said not to be.  They say that to display my faith, my love of God, I have to take what I have and offer it to the person who needs it.  Perhaps I don't own the property, but no one else is there.  Why shouldn't they sleep overnight in the warm instead of being sick or having their baby outside in the cold, where they are in danger of their lives?

Of course, there's the neighbor across the street who is constantly complaining to the city and the code department who threaten us with fines and the police department who blames me for all the poor in Gresham, or so I hear.

I see the managing of a building to be a great burden, perhaps one that I cannot bear.  Perhaps it is time for my church to give up use of the building as long as people are requiring that I follow rules that I should not follow.  Perhaps I should just find ways to support the poor otherwise.  Managing this building for the last five years has been great for the homeless community.  And it really has caused me to grow, as well as causing my health to fail.

But I am interested in following Jesus.  I am interested in obeying love, not rules.  If saving people's lives is against the law, against the rules of the church, then I will break those rules.  If helping the sick and an infant is against the law, then throw me in jail.  If the denomination wants to cast out three congregations from a place to worship, and hundreds of homeless from their home that they have slept on, worked on and grown food on, I don't see that as my responsibility.  I must follow the dictates of the Spirit who tells me to love.



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