An Essay on Community

I have shied from this for too long and it seems in this week with our work as part of supporting Scouting for Food, it is a good time to get something off my chest.

You see, I have gained new perspective in my work as a church planter. It has brought me face to face with ideas and ideals that I have held for a long time. For good or bad, many have been measured and found wanting. I have measured myself and I have been found wanting so know as I write these words, they come from one who knows far better than you my own failures, fears and fallacies.

Yet there exists in my experience an incredible infraction taking place in the name of convenience for communities and it is not helped by those in the Kingdom of God. Part of this is perpetuated by our living in metro Atlanta and so it may not impact where you may live in our country.

It is the littlest of things I know, but like a pebble, the ripples are felt. While we debate now federal control versus state's rights, we are woefully neglectful of the impact of county impacts. While Chambers speak and petition for their commerce, who is the voice of non-profits and those who care for the souls of a county?

When a family leaves a county to worship or a can of food is given to a non-profit outside our local boundary, those giving dollars and that food, more often than not, are no longer accessible to those who we truly call our neighbor. In the name of convenience, we go with what is easiest and our neighbor suffers.

Due to policies and procedures, funds and resources are often tied to a county by non-profit organizations in their charters or by government. Those same non-profits find their support and volunteers most often from local churches, synagogues and mosques. Yes, good is done but what of the work and mission of those right next door? We go to the other side of the world yet ignore the hungry child on the other side of our county?

It isn't easy to build anything new (learning that first hand) or to change what is old (I know that one too). I confess, in many ways I'm not smarter than either my fifth grader or my fourth grader. Yet, I know the struggle of those who want to feed their hungry neighbor but can't because of a lack of resources that could be there. I've seen the weary faces of volunteers who serve others out of love but burn out because no one has come to take their place and could have.

It is a matter of civics.
It is a matter of citizenship.
It is a matter of the Kingdom of God to do what is the hard thing not what is convenient.
And that, I believe, is a matter of justice.

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