Saturday, March 23, 2013
By now you must have figured out that I have had a “love/hate” relationship with Jesus’ church. I have never been hurt more than by good church-going people. Granted, I brought a significant part of that on myself. But, I don’t see “my church” as one particular geographical location, but instead I see it as collection of mentors, friends, family, and colleagues all over the world, of all nationalities who have helped influence, mentor, support and guide me even before I signed on the dotted line with Jesus back at Paul Smith’s College in January of 1979 in frigid cold Saranac Lake, NY. During the first year in Cambodia, you were the organization’s member care person who helped me through an extremely tough time. You were the colleague who let me overly depend on you, while we established a ministry. You were the pastor who knew how to cut through all my rationalization and BS. You were the tall, lanky, Int’l church member who went out of his way to be friendly and kind to me. You were the young wet-behind the ears young boss in a large NGO who couldn’t stand me at first but who showed patience and love to me anyway. You were the friend who invited me to join your organization, and who stuck with me even when they threw me out. You were the pastoral intern serving at my hometown church who kept encouraging me and supporting me when others as dropped as they heard of my impending divorce. You were the three mission pastors from the PNW who supported me through thick and thin. You were the pastor who organized my restoration service. You were the landlord who rented a house to my family on Mercer Island way below going price. And you are the landlord in Bellevue who ensures I have a comfortable place to lay my head. You were the old carpenter who sold me your truck for dirt cheap. You were the parent who was always there. You were the donor (friend and colleague) whose generosity ensured that my family survived the divorce and that I finished my MA. You are the handful of people who give me reason to come to church on Sunday so I can you. You are the Cambodian/Americans in CT and WA who knew no bounds to love and hospitality. You are my email pen pals who I process theology with. You are the counselors who helped point me to the way to healing. You are that mentor who helps me process all my baggage every Tuesday night. You are my group therapy sojourners who make me look forward to Wednesday nights. You are my children who teach and sharpen me. You are those who I met at rock bottom, who helped lift me out of the pit. You are the all the graduates of DP, and the children at the Center of Peace Orphanage. All of YOU have been there for me; whether friends, family, colleagues or supporters, are the Jazzy Piggies of my life, and you are my church. THANK YOU, THANK YOU. Thank you for believing in the God of new beginnings and in a God that is bigger than our doctrine sometimes allows Him to be.