Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Month: March 2012 (page 1 of 7)

I’m shocked I didn’t win

We even bought 2 tickets, likely in case we left the winner for the next guy in line and we didn’t want to miss out by “just one.” But the time for the draw has come and gone and my husband didn’t wake me up, nor was there a new car minivan in my driveway this morning, so I’d guess it’s safe to say that these 2 pieces of paper aren’t going to taste nearly as good as the Chipotle he would’ve bought. 

But who, in the past 24 hours, hasn’t played the “If I won” game? I mean, $640 million is a lot of money. The thought that building a million dollar house would be one of my big spends… well, then I’d still have $639 to go. When JJ and I played the “how would you spend it” game last night, a boat and college education was on the list. Blah blah. Pants that fit for me. (OH! MY! What a pickle if I’d won as it’s still during Lent. I’d have to hold out on my spending spree!)
Everyone always lists out “give to charity” on their spend, but I started thinking about what that looked like – just add that to the list of ways I’m a freak. I know so many people in ministry and I’d love to be able to support them in different ways. But $639 million (remember, I built the house) could potentially change the world. At least, someone’s. 
I decided on the way north that I’d invest a good sum to solving Hardin County’s problem of heroin trafficking and addiction. Between my limited interactions with those caught in the world of the addiction and the regular reports on WKTN of overdose and arrests, I strongly feel this problem needs addressed. I’m sure lots of good people in the area want to see change (several churches have had rallies and stand on street corners with signs trying to bring awareness), so I wondered, nearly aloud, what several million dollars could do to bring healing. I’m tired of seeing “Drugs bring Death” signs in the windows and knowing it’s true. 
I decided that in bringing together a roundtable (sheriff, mental health professionals, community leaders, business owners, educators, pastors, poverty-mindset gurus and former addicts themselves) we’d discuss how we could equip the entire community to bring healing. While the sheriff might get a larger staff (largely to focus on targeting dealers as opposed to addicts themselves), the focus of the group would be about a trickle-down effect. 
The general tendency is to throw some money at “professionals” and outsource. Perhaps build a large facility that those suffering could “come to” for  help. But I’m firming up my stance that places and programs don’t change people – people change people. These kinds of nasty, cyclical, crippling situations can’t be solved by offering someone a free this or that. And programs simply organize people. So let’s focus on people. 
I know next to nothing about addiction (I was going to crack a joke about coffee, but that’s just not even funny to try to draw a comparison). But in my experience, when I need to make major life changes,  I need people who support me. I need those who challenge me. I need those who walk beside me and tell me it’s okay if I need to sit down and rest. I need people who believe in me, not in the sense that my worth is dependent upon me changing, but that I’m worth investing in to see change. 
A major hole in our system is the way people build community. Those in the rings of drugs and crime know one another. Users seek friendships with other users. So even those who have that gut leading that things need to change, and they want to change, rarely have a large circle of people to draw them toward the actions that will bring about change. For some, life outside of addiction is a foreign concept. Not only do they not know how to live it, they lack awareness that a whole world lives by a different set of rules and norms. 
Every single heroin addict in Hardin County lives by someone. They share a property line. Even if they live by another addict, that addict lives by someone. Somewhere along the line, someone who is living clean and healthy is encountering someone who isn’t. So what if the community decided that it wasn’t going to let a crippling disease infect its body anymore. What if the churches and civic groups and the library and the mothers groups and the Elks and the Y and the coffee shop and the Mexican restaurant (Heavens! There’s only 8 places in the county to go! This can’t be that hard!) were provided means to help their people, their customers, their members, learn to seek justice and love mercy? What if we organized our people to, using the incarnational words of Eugene Peterson, “move into the neighborhood” on a regular basis. Just using basic math – there are more of “us” than “them”(what awful language, writer!), imagine the results. If each addict had one person calling them once a week. 
Is it foolproof? Nope. Would well-meaning people get taken for a ride, treated badly, scorned, or possibly even hurt? Absolutely. 
But with even a small sum of money, we can build a house or we can build a future. In this situation, there’s no such thing as “live and let live.” It’s “live and let die” if we choose hide our eyes. And it’s not addict deaths; such a infestation has the power to suck the life out of even healthy hosts. 
Or, I could just buy a yacht. But changing the world sounds so much more exciting than just seeing it.  
Visit me elsewhere:

morning reflection

This morning’s reading came from Zechariah, one of those minor prophets that few approach outside of seminary assignments. But this is why I love a good devotional read (I’m currently using Solo and would recommend it to my friends), much like preaching from the lectionary. It forces you to deal with passages you’d otherwise like to skip. 

Today’s message included a reminder of God’s word to his people: “You’re interested in religion, I’m interested in people.” And Zechariah reminded the people of the previous message that repeats itself over and over in the prophetic books:
Treat one another justly. 
Love your neighbors. 
Be compassionate with each other.
Don’t take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors and the poor.
Don’t plot and scheme against one another – that’s evil.
This kind of message is par for course for the past several weeks. But the reflection questions caught me:
1. If God were looking directly at you and saying these versus, what would He mean by “You’re into religion, I’m into people”?
2. Who do you know needing justice love and compassion?
3. Which of your religious activities do you think might merely be meeting your own selfish needs? Examine them. 
And suddenly some 9-year-old-boy drove by on his bicycle and chucked a stone at the house and hit me between the eyes!
At least, that’s how it felt. 
I can’t explain to you the frustration I feel in beginning to seek a church home for 362nd time. We just want to connect. To serve. To connect. 
But this passage squarely asked me to examine my motives and totally called me out that I can be serving, and loving, and fulfilling God’s call Monday – Saturday while we find our People. And perhaps Sunday has come to be a bit more for me than for Him
A church family is a non-negotiable for us. We need the practice of setting aside time. We need people around us. We need teaching. If I don’t surround myself with others, I may start to believe myself to the fullest extent when I say I’m always right. 
But a church family isn’t a pre-requisite for living with God’s purposes and will in mind. I don’t need the church secretary to create a sign-up sheet to love the widow across the street. I don’t need the youth director to create an event so that I can be friendly to the high school baseball player who watches our dog. 
A community is helpful for holding us accountable, but it’s not required to start today living and loving as God wishes we would. God’s not as interested in religion, the patterned acts of pseudo-devotion that makes us feel better about ourselves. He’s interested in people. And even a part-stay-at-home, part-work-at-home, my-van-never-leaves-the-house mom is surrounded by those. It’s not a matter of being equipped, it’s a matter of taking my eyes off of 2503 and looking down the entire Drive. 
Visit me elsewhere:

Bring on Easter

Though the whole fasting from purchasing has been a bit easier than anticipated, I still have a list of things that quite possibly will find a home post-Resurrection Sunday. 

1. Jeans that fit
2. A blender that blends (nothing says New Life like a smoothie you don’t chew)
3. Lunch out.
4. A glass container to keep my tea in the fridge
5. Something from IKEA. Just because. 
6. Some sort of white board for my office (I might Pinterest this, but I’ll need to buy supplies)
7. Lounge furniture for my back deck. 
How old am I that these are the purchases I drool over? 
Visit me elsewhere:
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