Monday, June 26, 2006
KALAMAZOO, CHICAGO, BALTIMORE & THE LUGGAGE WENT TO NASHVILLE.....
I had not stepped on American soil since the December of 1975. If I'm honest I haven't particularly wanted to return - I have been grateful to my parents for resisting the temptation to stay there and see me brought up in Virginian southern baptist ways and no doubt rebelled big time in every way shape and form.
Duty called however, 31 years on to return by visiting the mid west, (3 states, 3 cities in 6 days), amid the vast properties and ludicrously wealthy churches, on club duty to see some guys we're seting some stuff up with out there. Going from the extreme basic living and material poverty of the Ukraine to the excesses of Michigan was about as far apart as it gets. (I had a similar experience going from the slums in Bangkok to Sydney some time ago). The raw throaty sound of the gas guzzling V8's was a far cry from the smoky 2 stroke bikes and the tiny apartments would fit twice over in any one of the rooms in many Michigan homes. A swimming pool in the back yard of 3 acres replaced the bucket for washing at the foot of a tree that had shaving mirror wired to it. The home of the 'world series' continues to be another 'world' - at least this bit of it anyway. (The poverty of the of the mountain folk and the urban poor did not feature on this trip unfortunately)......
How good it is though to experience these extremes, how difficult it is to find balance. How encouraging it was to see signs of change with regard to seeing comfortable folk being called to a different way of living. When in an environment that refers from the pulpit to struggles as being defined as ‘not being able to afford that Cadillac’ and a blessing from God is all about personal gain, I do have to wonder which bit of the Gospel of Jesus that refers to. Therefore anyone prepared to start kicking against the grain is to be supported and encouraged - so guys thanks for the hospitlality and welcome - let the revolution begin....... God bless the agents for change.
And remembering, blessing, like love, never asks ‘what am I going to get out of this’.
Next stop . . .Holland (..a wedding) and Germany