A friend was trying to entertain me as I stayed with him during a visit to his city. He was taken aback when I said that I had a very rich inner thought life and that I was quite content to be quiet as he was obviously busy with other important matters. I had always felt that everyone, or at least most, had this inner thought life. As our conversation developed I came to realize this was not the case.
I have always enjoyed thinking. I do not pretend to be a great thinker I make up in quantity what I lack in quality. I amuse myself (quite literally) with my thoughts and schemes. I enjoy being creative and sparking off other creative people. This is why I was so amused at the thought that my entire ministry is developing in a totally different fashion than my natural bent!
At Up Town we have a good number of people from the world of mental health. For all their immense charm the world of abstract thought is not the field in which we engage. The other major group I meet with are those struggling with lives of addiction. Some of these are folks newly released from prison. They come with all their tats on display as if to cover scars on their souls resulting from abuses they have done and those done to them. They come with hurts and fears being the great presenting issues. Items that do not lend themselves naturally to answers aimed primarily at the intellect.
Yet I have discovered that the combination of these two groups provides a wonderful admixture. My friends with mental health issues accept others without prejudging. They judge not on how you look or on your past but based on their interactions in the present. They provide a fear free fresh start for my friends who feel stigmatized by their past failures. In this atmosphere they are free to become who they were created to be without baggage. They have opportunities to be kind and to help and defend the innocents. It does not take long before our friends realize the acceptance that is theirs in this special community. They in turn accept and care for their new found friends. They guard them from abuse and practise new found skills of: love, patience, and kindness.
Years ago I thought it would be so cool to be a part of a “ Jazz” Church filled with creative thinkers who would scheme ways to reach people just like them. I am so glad God spared me from my own wishes! I could not imagine a better church family to belong to than Up Town. I have been formed by it more than I have formed it.
Perhaps this is an illustration of the principle that God will bless us “above all we can ask or imagine”. He is greater than you think!