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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Home Group (11/29/07)

TITLE: Our Father's House
By Al Boyce
12/05/07


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The woman shuffled slippered feet along worn carpet, eyes vacant, finally reaching the starched nurse at the head of the line. She held out her hands in supplication, receiving the tiny plastic cup, praying this time it would make the pain go away.

The man shuffled his Rockports down the aisle, eyes vacant, finally reaching the robed priest at the head of the line. He held out his hands in supplication, receiving the tiny plastic cup, praying this time it would make the pain go away.

The woman, Edna, and the man, Richard, met a few years later at a home group, knowing immediately they had nothing in common. She was a divorced mother of two, came from an abusive home and knew nobody, not even God, could love her. He had recently married for the second time, still carrying the scars from being driven from his church following his own divorce. He knew the church was full of hypocrites, liars and judgment. He hoped this group might be different.

The topic for discussion one Tuesday night was "unconditional love," but it might as well have been "bash the church."

Richard shared openly his frustration at the church that had thrown him out following his divorce.

"There may be such a thing as unconditional love," he said. "But it isn't in the church, that's for sure."

His tirade made Edna more comfortable sharing her own background, through tears and occasional sobs. She, too, had found her beloved church was a haven only so long as she was perceived as "acceptable" in her behavior. Divorce was not one of the sins they tolerated.

Another divorcee shared how a church pastor once told her that her handicapped child was God's punishment for being an adulteress.

Christians are sometimes their own worst enemy.

A Muslim scholar talking about witnessing in the Middle East had some harsh teachings last week. Rule number one was, never identify yourself as a Christian when speaking to a Muslim.

Muslims, he said, are under the assumption that everyone in America is a Christian. Their main source of information about people in America is television. So they assume, based on popular TV shows, that Christians are hedonistic, materialistic, violent and selfish. If you suggest to a Muslim that he become a Christian, he will likely run screaming for the nearest exit or attack you, the scholar said.

My wife and I, who minister to mostly Catholic Hispanics in a gang neighborhood, listened to the talk with one ear, wondering why on earth God had led us there.

The next day, we had our answer.

My wife knocked on the door of a trailer and was greeted by a man who looked to be of Middle Eastern descent. He asked suspiciously why we were delivering free bag lunches to him.

"Because we want you to know God loves you," my wife replied.

"Oh," said the man. "So you are one of those Christians!"

This was said in the same tone of disdain the Muslim scholar had described the night before.

"I am a follower of Jesus, if that's what you mean," my wife said.

The man's demeanor was instantly transformed. "Oh, we love your prophet Jesus! Did you know he is in our Koran?"

"Yes," my wife said. "And did you know your God is in our Bible?"

She then asked the man if it was OK for her to check his bag lunches to make sure the sandwiches were turkey, not ham.

The man beamed: "Thank you so much for respecting our traditions!"

We followers of Christ have to walk carefully these days, knowing how many people have been wounded by those professing to be Christians.

Home groups can be a great start, just gathering two or more followers of Jesus and feeling Him standing in our midst, healing our wounds as we learn to love one another.


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This article has been read 934 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 12/07/07
I liked your repetition in the beginning, and the connection between the two disparate personalities. Much to ponder.

This kind of felt like two different stories - could be me, but I didn't quite see the exact tie-in between the beginning and the end.
Jan Ackerson 12/10/07
The first two paragraphs were AWESOME, as was the story of these two wounded souls...it may have lost a bit of focus in the last half, but there is certainly plenty to mull over here.
Patty Wysong12/10/07
I didn't quite see how the second half fit 'home group' but I sure did learn a lot from it! :-)
Temple Miller12/11/07
Interesting and educational story that inspires us to reach out beyond our own culture. Very nice!
Brenda Welc12/12/07
My favorite part:


"Oh," said the man. "So you are one of those Christians!"

This was said in the same tone of disdain the Muslim scholar had described the night before.

"I am a follower of Jesus, if that's what you mean," my wife said.

Well done. I loved this true to today story. Keep up the great writing!
LauraLee Shaw12/12/07
The man's demeanor was instantly transformed. "Oh, we love your prophet Jesus! Did you know he is in our Koran?"

"Yes," my wife said. "And did you know your God is in our Bible?"


I love this conversation. Reminds me of many conversations I have had at my front door. Funny how I'm always the one opening the door instead of knocking on them. :(
James Dixon12/12/07
I thought the bash the church bit was a true reflection of home group life and liked the 'Koran exchange' too.
LaNaye Perkins12/12/07
I do like how you brought out how some cold some churches can be. If I could suggest anything at all (and that is a big "IF"), it would just be to include that not all churches are like this.

Overall, I think this was a wonderful entry. It was very thought provoking, and held alot of wisdom. Great writing!
LaNaye Perkins12/12/07
Good grief, can you tell I did a bit of rewriting, and not very much checking before I hit submit? lol Loose nut behind my keyboard today, sorry! :)
Joanney Uthe12/12/07
Very thought provoking. I think a better transition between the two examples would illiminate the feeling of being dijoined. I like how you tied them together in the end to make your point clear.
Dee Yoder 12/13/07
You brought out good points about our conduct in our everyday lives as Christians. Even when we go to church, we forget the real reason sometimes why we're gathered together: to love each other!