Thursday, August 27, 2009

Churches and Bars

I have communicated recently with a dear friend who is hurting.
His life is hard.
Painful and full of fear for the future.
I know how that feels and you probably do as well.

My wonderful Aunt Eve was an alcoholic for a great deal of her life. Living alone in Dallas, she found a tremendous support system in the Alcoholics Anonymous Association. That great organization assisted her to remain sober for about 25 years before her death on Christmas eve of 2000.
She believed that her 25 years of sobriety was one of her greatest accomplishments.

Her way of following God did not resemble my path to Him.
Aunt Eve would never be described as a "church lady".
When she visited us here in Arkansas, she came to our church and was loved and welcomed, but I always get the feeling that she really didn't approve of our church.
I don't think she felt as if she fit in.
She was always eager to go home and get back to her "club" in the smoky Dallas AA meeting room. It was her church and she was a faithful attender every week.

Aunt Eve asked one day;
"Do you know the difference between your church and the local bar?"
Well now.
I (we) could think of several differences!
Differences like,....Cigarette smoke? Drunks? Poor lighting? Hookers? Sin?
Ya know,..important things that lots of us "church people" have strong opinions about.

"Do you know the difference between your church and the local bar?"
I will never forget her answer......
She said "The people at the bar will tell you the truth when you ask how they are doing."

Is that not the truth?
Is that not the truth.

Our culture values our privacy and independence, however, I think we could use a little more transparency. We go to church every Sunday and sit next to people who seem to have their life all in order.
That's discouraging for those of us who don't.

This Sunday, when people ask me "How ya doin?" ....I think I'll just blurt it out and tell them I'm a crazy mess.
Who knows,..I just may cheer someone up!

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