Friday, August 19, 2005

Now I've gone and done it

Every time I go to the Discussion Forum, I just quickly scan for the forums with new posts.  The last couple of days, I’d not seen anything new, because my computer had logged me out when I did my last spyware scan (curse you spyware!).  So I log in tonight and lo and behold, there’s new threads!  Whoohoo! 

Until I read them that is.  There are few things that really toast my muffins anymore.  Jerry Springer in any media form is a bit one.  What was going on in one of the threads is another.  It started out innocently I believe, “you and the Windhamite blah blah blah”.  “Don’t wake up the Windhamite hee hee hee.”  That’s all well and good, and was fine until things in the thread started to take a different bent.

Xxxxx and xxxx and Windhamite's? The three people who feel they are the conscience and voice of the community?

(The names have been changed to protect the anonymous, and yes, that makes no sense.)

Now I do have to admit that I’m a bit flattered that anyone would think that I speak for the community at all.  I promise to use my power for good, really!  The problem is that the post goes on to really come down hard on the three that were mentioned, even though I’d neither posted nor read the thread prior to tonight.  I know we’re all guilty at times of making suppositions about other people, I’ve likely done it once or twice in my life.  Or not.  Anyway. 

Why this has set me off tonight, I don’t really know.  Maybe its because of the tone of things.  Maybe its because someone’s calling me on the carpet for not living up to his standard of christianity.  Maybe I had some bad salsa tonight, the jury is still out on that one.

No wait, I know what it is.

I'm surprised the church on Wolf Road gives away free clothing, after all with your way of thinking people don't deserve it, they should pick themselves up and get a job to buy it themselves.

What an incredibly stupid assumption to make.  Have I ever said that it is an impossibility for people to be down on their luck and in need of these things?  No.  We’ve been blessed to help hundreds, actually thousands of families over the years, and all on differing levels of need.  We’ve received a few letters thanking us for helping to clothe families for all the years of elementary and high school.  This is a responsibility that we take upon ourselves, and have been incredibly blessed in doing so.  We’re blessed to have a community that supports us in doing this also.  In general, its thankless work, but it is the most that our small congregation can do for the needs that this community has.  To make an argument like this is underhanded.

But you know what?  One of my dearest wishes is that there will come a day when Windham doesn’t need a Clothing Program because there won’t be a need for it.  There is a time and place for helping people with goods such as food and clothing.  There is also a time and place to say, “lets see what we can do to get you to the ponit where you don’t need to be given these things.”  Its not a matter of not wanting to help people at all, its a matter of elevating all people to a standard of living that is self-reliant, rather than relying on the benevolence of others.  We don’t give away clothing in hopes that next month, the people will come back, we do it so that next month, they won’t need to come back.  Of course, the other side of the coin is to help people realize the greater spiritual need in their life.  Many of those that we have helped have returned months and years later and donated clothing in thanks for the help that we gave to them.  That is a great attitude to have.  I doubt that we could have continued if not for the gratitude of so many.

So I guess in a way, yes, I do want people to get a job and buy the things for themselves.  Certainly not in the way that this fellow intended the statement to be taken though.  A friend of mine has wanted to make signs to publicise the church with some simple statements.  “Jesus loves you.  So do we.  How can we help?”  It may sound trite and cliched I suppose, but its right.

Maybe I should copywrite it.

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