The other day I was talking with a guy who attends a Church that requires a drive of 115 miles round trip. He was explaining how this Church has a wonderful children’s program and a smoking worship team, not to mention a Pastor who he agrees with 100%.
Having lived in the area where I minister for over 20 years, I however discern a different reality at work here. This guy has burnt every bridge and relationship he has in this small mountain community. You see the people who know you best are the people you live closest to and that is the plain truth. My Father in Law always use to tell me “never crap where you eat.” Change and Transformation can only happen local, because that is where accountability is at its highest. Making a difference is always a local matter, and the more you are committed close to where you live, the greater the difference you can make.
This failure of local transformation & change can be seen even within ones self, we keep busy so that we don’t have to see the reality that is us. I run into these guys all the time, trying to convince me they are making a difference far from home. How wonderful are all their long distance relationships, but his wife would leave him in a heartbeat if she could afford it. Meanwhile the children are a mess at school the house looks like the dump their life really is. You see there’s no time to water anything local, whether it’s personal or neighborhood. Nothing but judgments spew from their mouths about all those who know them best, nobody local understands how brilliant they really are.
The truth is they are afraid of any relationship that just might reveal the internal flaws they don’t have time to see. So they travel great distances real or imagined to where nobody knows how broken their life really is. The sad part here is this, that grace works best when we are real, to the people who actually know us best. When we love our neighbor as we love ourselves and reach out to those in the midst of where we live.
We however live in a Face Book World where your stage name is Morning Dawn, and you have all the spiritual answers. Or some online religious group where you can cut and paste all the correct verses and texts, always being right is so important after all.
God has a plan however and I can see it on the horizon $5 dollar a gallon gas, soon that 115 miles will start to look like a 1000 miles. Then maybe we will work together locally to affect real change and transformation, in our life and the life’s of people closest to us. Even if it just causes us to water our trees and care for those under our own roof, $5 dollar a Gallon gas will have been a God send.