Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sharing, Sharing, Sharing ... Simple words ...

I was interviewed today by a newspaper writer about the upcoming Concert (to be held in Winnipeg on March 23rd at Westminster United Church), and the journey since the fire ... We spoke frankly of many things ... she has been reading my blog and asked about my comments here about a lack of appreciation and the absence of hearing the words - "thank you."

I've been warned not to talk to reporters about something you're not willing to have publicized ... part of me wishes we hadn't gone there, but a bigger part of me feels relief that we did ... I said it ... it's out there ... it is no longer my private burden ...

I've been witness to some of the most startling and breathtaking moments of kindness, care and compassion since the fire ... We've been overwhelmed as a community by the generousity and support of others ... but we've also witnessed some down right nasty things too ... The last 13 months have been a journey of profound ups, and profound downs ... and more than our fair share of twists and turns ...

I have no doubt at the end of the day the Good will triumph, and the goodness and caring that is evident will prevail ... but it will be a struggle ...

Lately I've come to realize that as a Church, an institution, and even as individual congregations, we allow behaviours and actions to continue that are less than helpful, and that at times are down right nasty and brutish ... I won't go into specifics, but rather I keep reflecting on the time in my life when I lead a Colony of Beavers (the littlest of the Scouts Canada groups).

As a Beaver leader we stressed to the boys (ages 4-6) over and over the importance of Sharing. We made sure they learned how to co-operate. We taught them about kindness, caring and looking out for each other. Weekly we stood and said the motto: "Sharing, Sharing, Sharing ..."

They were and remain worthwhile things. They are good lessons. They are in keeping with the foundational teachings of the church ... They are in keeping with how we are to live a caring life with meaning ...

The question that arises for me is simply this - why is it so damned hard to live those values in the Church where we hear it proclaimed, preached and modelled week after week after week ???

As I spoke with the writer from the paper the thought occured to me - "it's about kindness ... it's about how we treat others ... it's about saying simple words like - "THANK YOU."

My journey over the last 13 months has been long and arduous ... but what hurt most of all was a feeling of NOT being appreciated for the hard work I was doing, and not hearing a simple "Thank you" when thanks were being lavishly heaped upon others ...

I'm not in ministry to be thanked. I'm in it because I was called to be in and to do ministry - but let's be clear: hearing the simple words thanks once in awhile, and seeing the Church function on the same principles and ideals that we speak and we teach our children would do much to help us ... it would do much to help me ...

People are disgusted with the Church - they tend to be staying away in droves ... and when I think back on some of the brutish things I've experienced at the hands of the so-called "good" church people in my life - I no longer have to ask why??

I know why people are staying away from the church and why they are leaving disgusted ... we tolerate in the Church behaviour we would never tolerate on the school grounds or from our children ... SO, We need to stop asking "why?" and start asking - "WHAT ???" as in "What are WE (you and I) prepared to do about it???"

We claim to be followers of Christ. But looking back on some of the things people have said and done to me within the Church, I see little Christ-like in their actions. The sad things is, complacency and silence have prevailed and such behaviour continues ... The church is living the sad truth of the statement - "the only thing evil needs to triumph, is for good people to do nothing ..."

Too often in the Church, we chose to do NOTHING !!!

I suggest a return to the simple lessons of life ... Like the little Blue Hatted Beavers - let's return to the teachings that begin with the word - "Sharing ..."

Let's live the Golden Rule of "Do unto Others ..."

Let's practise what we preach ...

Robert Fulghum says it best when in his first book he notes that the lessons he learned in Kindergarten, are the lessons that have served him best of all ... they are:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.

LOOK !!! The world is out there ... let's be kind and good to each other ... and everything else will follow ... if it's a lesson that is good enough to teach our children, then it is a lesson that is good enough for we grown ups to live too !!!

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