Mormons & Evangelicals: What can I learn from you?

Over several months so I have had a born-again sort of experience of sorts– one of those times in life where perspective shifts dramatically and you feel like you are seeing the world for the first time.  One of the biggest difficulties in experience was recognizing that I had lost faith in the LDS Church. It has been coming for quite a while, and it feels like the core meaning of my life was yanked from me. Losing faith has been very difficult for me even to acknowledge. But for complex reasons, I can’t now honestly claim to believe in the Mormon Church and this reality has stung me hard.  My participation in this blog has been a big part of the process of figuring out where I am and what to do next.

Over the years the blog has been a place for me to vent a lot of the deep thoughts and patent nonsense that bubbled up during this process. (Regulars here will recognize I write far more of the latter than the former.)  But lately I have been thinking about what attracted me to this blog– and how it might help me in the new spiritual life that I face.

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Poverty Unlocked

Why is there so much poverty in the world? How can God let this happen and what does He plan to do about it? What is my role as a Christian in helping the poor? Should I give money to that guy on the street corner? What exactly can I do when the problem is so big? Is there any hope for the AIDS crisis in Africa?

I want to point you to an excellent resource. There is a new podcast called Poverty Unlocked. It contains some great information and some practical ways to think about poverty and what to do about it from a Biblical point of view. You’ll definitely feel better equipped to be a part of the solution. No more doubts about when to give and where to serve. You can know if your efforts are doing any good.

Serving vs. Servanthood

I’m part of a team at my church that sends short term teams to New Orleans to aid in the recovery effort. We send a team at least once a month, and this summer we are aiming to send at least 12 teams. I’m responsible for the re-entry meetings we do with each team. The function of the re-entry meeting is to help people deal with what they saw and how to communicate that to people. It’s also to get the people who went to think about what’s next for them.

If we send 500 people to New Orleans and they do a good job there, but never serve anyone ever again, it’s really a wasted effort, I’d almost prefer that they never went. I never want anyone to come back and say “I have now fulfilled my missions responsibility”. And I’m not just talking about programs or activities within the walls of the church. Our calling as Christians is to serve the broken and impoverished, they are not often right there in front of us in the pews.

I recently found this quote by Richard Foster that I’m going to really start emphasizing:

“We must see the difference between choosing to serve (an activity) and choosing to be a servant (a lifestyle). When we choose to serve, we are still in charge. . . when we choose to be a servant, we give up the right to be in charge. . . we become available and vunerable.”