When Johnny was a little boy of happiness and smile.
When he could dream and oh how he dreamed,
of living a life worth while.
When Johnny could laugh and man did he laugh;
he was young and full of vigor.
When he had hope that bubbled
and spilled over like a river.
When black was a color like white or red,
and good was good and bad meant bad.
When Johnny knew that old folks got respect
and Mom loved him and well Dad was Dad.
Johnny saw problems, but they didnít see him;
and when hurts were painful, but they quickly healed.
When love was more than just another word, and when spoken
by family, was the sweetest ever heard.
When Johnny wanted to know about life,
about who created all these wonderful sights.
When questions still had answers and promise still gave hope...
Where was the Church when Johnny was young?
Now heís old ainít it funny about life?
Johnnyís alone without child or wife.
The happiness and smiles are just faint memories
and the dreams that he dreamed, blown away like autumn leaves.
The laughter and vigor are all gone,
like the forgotten tunes of yesterdayís songs.
His hope is dried up like an old riverbed...
Now black and white are the color skin
and good ainít so good and badís how its been.
Old folks are just old and respect is too.
Mom has past and Dadís still Dad.
Johnny still sees problems,
but they see him too and pains donít heal as quickly as they use to.
For Johnny love is now just another word,
its lost itís sweetness and is seldom heard.
Now questions have no meaning for answers arenít found
and are there any promises to keep hope around?
Where is the Church now that Johnny is old?
Itís where it was when he was so young...
Itís stuck in a building with a cross on the top,
with stained glass windows like a jack-in-the-box.
Itís on every corner and on every street,
its like a country club where all good folks meet.
Itís right in the building where itís always been
and it never met Johnny who died in his sins.
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This is so sad, for it speaks truth. But the blame is not all the church's. Johnny may have been like so many, who come to church pretending all is well at home. After all, the others at church are only human. If you pretend all is well, how can I help you? But, you do speak the truth. So many times the church is not there when it should be. Surely, though, Johnny must have heard the good news. Did he turn a deaf ear? What I am trying to say is this: There is a lot of work for the church, but salvation can only come when the individual responds, repents, and accepts Jesus as Savior. We, the church, can not force it on them. The choice is theirs. I do appreciate this article you have written, for it addresses a very important issue. Thomas