These days when you hear someone talking about “The Situation,” he or she is normally referring to the ab-tastic, gel-haired, Italian-American character on The Jersey Shore. But I want to tell you about another situation I’ve recently encountered.
It all started with a phone call I received at the church one day last week. A gentleman on the other line said that a group of men recently came to his house to help with some work that needed to be done. These man gave him Denver UMC’s phone number so that he could request assistance. He uses a small kerosene heater to heat the trailer in which he lives and he was in need of some more kerosene. No problem, right? Wrong! Pastor Tim and I spend several days trying to get this gentleman the kerosene he needs to stay warm; however, cancelled phones, inflexible store managers, snow, and other roadblocks continued to frustrate us.
As it turns out, this gentleman has quite a past. But don’t we all? In reference to Paul’s engagement with the culture of Athens that we read about in Acts, Gabe Lyons, author of The Next Christians: How a New Generation Is Restoring the Faith (The good news about the end of Christian America) writes, “It appears [Paul’s] desire for people to be restored to Christ overcame any urges to be offended by their sin.” We are not going to let poor decisions or a colorful past keep us from providing mercy and shining the love of Christ in dark places. That’s the difference between uber-religious people and those who want to see lives changed. We have no chance of bringing the resources of heaven to earth if we are continually offended by sin within our culture. Hopefully by the time you are reading this, a small trailer only four miles from the church will be a warm place for a lonely man to lay his head.