"Oh, aren't you just the cutest little mission church!" "You and your weird little church...so refreshing!" I sort of get that a lot. Not exactly those words, but with the same underlying content. Well meaning comments from dear people. I mean no disrespect. We are little. We are a bit, um...odd, perhaps. But, please...let me remove any sentimentality youÂ might try and attachÂ to us.Â 1. Just after worship, a man who was intoxicated, walked into the Pilney. First he lockedÂ eyes onÂ a 3-year-old.Â When she ran off,Â he stared with the same intensity at me.Â We were just shiftingÂ into ourÂ weekly potluck, so I invited him to eat with us.Â HeÂ wasn't interested. What heÂ seemed to be interested in was provoking--intimidating me. "Tell me what you are doing?" "What the hell are you talking about?" He was angry and drunk. Â He told me things like, Â "I'm not here to violate anyone."Â "I wouldn't hurt anyone physically. Well, unless I was really pushed." Â Hmmm, as it turns out, those statements actually make me a bit more anxious about the vulnerablity ofÂ thisÂ community right now.
This particular Sunday, we had twenty-five kidsÂ under 10 years old. Thankfully, a couple of wiseÂ and gracious people came over. I'm pretty sure this man's objective was to provoke--but because they were not reacting to him, heÂ moved on.
I felt conflicted about the wholeÂ interaction. Thinking, "Wow, the least of these...dang nabbit." But, one of our wise welcomers quickly discerned the whole scene and said, "BS.Â The 'least of these' in this situation are these kids." Stepping back, I'd have to agree.
2.Â When I arrived at the Pilney last Sunday, there was a ginormous pile of (human) feces right outside our door. In the middle of the sidewalk, behind the bus stop bench.Â Good grief. That's too much humanity for me. Oh, don't get me wrong...I wanted to be that servant pastor who couldÂ clean it up for the sake of the flock.Â But, no way in hell. (Justification: it was 90 degrees).Â Do you know who did? Slade. Without hesitating. Just found some cardboard in the recycling and quietly took care of it. Sheesh. He puts the humble back in the walk.
How's that for a good, romantic comedy?