As many of you may have noticed (or not), this blog has been silent for a long time. I’ve thought about the blog, and you, quite often, but after my last post about sharing the gospel, I wasn’t sure how to proceed. In that situation, with the neighbor with cancer, the result was that I never felt bold enough to follow up with her. I never overcame the sense of irresolution and confusion inside. I never prayed with her. I never shared the gospel. She’s dead now, so the chance has passed.
Since then, a lot has happened on my walk with the God. An interaction with Heidi Baker marked the beginning a period in which God opened a window to a powerful time of learning for me. I fasted (no food) and prayed for 21 days. I attended a Graham Cooke Conference shortly after and was given a vision. The vision sparked the conception and birth of ‘A Well Full of Water’ Women’s Conference. From that conference, a robust women’s ministry has begun and I’m leading it. I began and completed my first semester of Seminary at George Fox University. I mapped out the mission statement of my life, which is ‘to manifest and restore right relationship with God for women, for the dispossessed, and for the earth‘. And my car got broken into.
Now, why would I mention my car getting ransacked in that extensive list of Christian activities? It has to do with the house across the street.
That house is the house where the woman with cancer lived, and where a hard drinking, tough brawling couple lived before her, and where a very mysterious family who screamed a lot lived before that. That house has been a dark cloud on this street for the five years I’ve lived here. That house always seems to be rented to people living way out in the margins.
Currently, the house is occupied by a couple, some friends of the woman who died of cancer, and it’s here our story continues. When these folks first moved in they seemed alright enough. Their personal style would be best described as your garden variety Oregon hippies and they’re generally polite and friendly. The fella used to stop to chat on his walks out into the neighborhood, telling about his involvement (with a program? his own effort? not sure…) to feed hungry people. Things were amicable, low key.
Soon enough though, more people started coming back and forth to the house. The couple began renting rooms, and then couches, and then space in the RV parked in the driveway. The driveway began to look like a little shanty town, covered in tarps and masking who knows what behind them. The packed house began to spill over into the yard with old couches and other assorted items making their way onto the front lawn.
The last few months have been an almost constant stream of hooded figures in backpacks and young people with lost eyes walking in and out of that house, screaming matches deep in the night, and early morning trips back and forth to the laundry mat at the end of the street to fill water containers. There hasn’t been running water in the house for over three months now. And then my car got broken into.
To say I was ‘mad as a hornet’ when I walked out to my car, which was parked on the street, and found the contents of my glove box strewn about might be putting it a little too nicely. ‘I lost my marbles’ is more like it.
It just so happened that one of the hooded, backpacked figures was showing up and knocking on the door of the house shortly after my discovery. I yelled right at him. “HEY! CRACKHEAD!” I bellowed, “THIS IS MY STREET, NOT YOUR STREET, AND YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE!”
It just gets worse from there. There was a yelling match between me and the people of the house. They swore it wasn’t them. I swore that every time I heard even so much as peep coming from out of that place I was going to call the cops, and things were left with the very clear message that I wasn’t happy with what I’d been seeing there the last few months.
In the days following I reflected on the vehemence in my reaction, sparked by the rifling of my car. I had no proof that it was the people living in that house or one of their visitors that invaded my space, yet my reaction was pointed straight at them. I had to ask myself, why?
The answer was an epiphany, and what I needed to finally become ready to share the gospel. . . The reason for the intensity I felt is because those people are living in the dark. It’s because they are children of God behaving like sewer rats, without dignity, without reverence or appreciation or faith or the knowledge that they are the sons and daughters of God and it pisses me off. And I realized that I HATE the darkness. I HATE evil. I can’t stand it. I can’t stand what it does to God’s children.
So I’m going to share the gospel with them.
In her book Powers, Weakness, and the Tabernacling of God, Marva J. Dawn says,
The sole meaning of the preaching of the gospel is that others might know the grace that is available in Jesus Christ.
It’s so simple. Sharing the gospel doesn’t mean I have to get anyone to change. It doesn’t mean I have to be effective. It doesn’t mean anything other than I let people know the grace that is available in Jesus Christ, to be Christ visible.
I prayed and asked God for the right thing to do and, soon enough, the answer came. . . water.
I called the City and found out (roughly) how much those people owe to get their water turned back on and I started a ‘Go Fund Me’ campaign to raise the funds.
My plan is to reach the funding goal (which is significant, but I’m over half way) and then knock on their door and ask to speak with all of them who are there. I want to let them know that they are God’s children and that God’s grace covers them, even now, even when they are doing absolutely nothing to deserve it. I want to be able to say “Jesus Christ has paid your water bill, so remember… every time you take a drink, or bathe, or clean – remember that Jesus Christ has claimed you for his own. Because He loves you. Because that is what is true about you.”
To share the gospel is to become Christ visible. It is to refuse to participate with evil without turning away from God’s children when they are in it’s grips.
I participated with evil when I yelled and screamed at those people, but that felt wrong. Now, God is teaching me God’s way.
To give those people water, to see them and share Christ’s message of hope and love with them is to be Christ visible. It is to affirm the victory of Christ and command the powers of darkness to submit. It is to take a bomb of light and explode it in a way that is as irrefutable as the victory of Christ. It is to walk in that victory and share the glory of God. I’m so excited to knock on that door.
Please, if you can, or you know someone who you think is able, please help me reach my goal and get Water for Those People. I promise to let you all know how it goes!