I posted this quote on FB and it has been rolling around in my head for weeks
When the faithful saturate their schedules with Christian events at Christian venues with Christian people, the world has a hard time believing we hold the rest of the world in high esteem. -Gabe Lyon
With the question of what things do I need to shift or add in my life to make sure that I am not segregating myself to a exclusive group of people who believe what I believe, act like I act, and do the things I do, I headed to the airport to return to Vacaville from Tulsa.
I was flying stand-by. It took a long time to get home. I was bumped from a total of 9 flights in two cities before I finally got the last seat, a middle exit row seat. I boarded the plane close to last and as I sat down I realized the two men in my row were talking about the work the window seat guy did in third world counties providing wheel chairs to those who need them. I quickly joined the conversation.
It sounded pretty cool. He was explaining how in some places the chairs have to look and work different because of the terrain. The exciting stories about what it took to get in some countries. So I asked him, “what is your company? Is it a ministry, or do you just do it personally? The following is the exchange that followed
He laughed: “It’s not A ministry. I make a point not to work with ministries or churches”
ME: “Oh, why not, it sounds like something Christians would be interested in.”
HIM: “You would think, but until they can evangelize you and get you saved, or you make a deal with them that they can hand out Bibles or other literature, they won’t work with you and trying to work with them is a pain in the ass.”
ME: “Wow, I am sorry about that. I’m a Christian and I think it sucks that is your experience.” “I lived a long time in The Bible Belt, I know how religious systems can kind of take over and govern decisions. In the long run though I think they have the best of intent.
HIM: “Yeah. I grew up in Church. I believe in GOD and all. I just don’t buy into the exclusivity of it. There is an unspoken rule; I can’t be your friend or work with you, even doing good, unless you are my project. No one wants to be someone else project, not even the people I give wheelchairs too.'”
Then the other guy chimed in and the conversation went a different way. The wheels in my head were turning.
How many wonderful people, doing good things for the world are out there and we don’t know them? We won’t work with them? We don’t love them or the people they love, just because they are not Christians? There is so much here that I will be pondering this next week.