A challenge from Rich Dixon:
My friend “Michael” was born in the DRC in Central Africa.
I often learn something about Jesus when he speaks. He’s thoughtful and introspective. He leads a team of computer system architects, so he’s really smart. He’s also a strong cyclist.
Michael spent a few years in Jackson, Mississippi, a city that’s roughly 80% African-American. As an observation about de facto segregation, he said he could go an entire week (including church) without encountering another Black person.
A while back, Michael stopped attending church for a while. He never stopped loving and following Jesus, but he felt uncomfortable in the space between.
The space between welcome – Sunday morning smiles – and the invitation to join us after church. The space between the open door – y’all come – and outreach that actively seeks true diversity. The space between nods of approval at The Prodigal Son and everyday attitudes/behaviors toward those perceived as different.
As a guy in a wheelchair, I know about the space between. So do my friends with special needs kids.
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I don’t have an easy solution. You probably don’t. either. Let’s face it – we’re a flawed, messy bunch. Jesus chose to us to build His kingdom, probably because flawed, messy people were the only kind available.
We can turn away and deny the problem. We can gripe and complain – my default option – that Jesus followers are better at reading His words than doing what He asked us to do. But my complaining is really judging, and He also told me to stop doing that.
We could confess our discomfort with change and differences.
We could ask Jesus to show us where we contribute to the space between.
We could ask Jesus to help us do our part to reduce the space between.
We could trust Him for what seems too big and overwhelming.