Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spilled Milk

I just got done walking up and down the street in front of the church trying to give away 5 gallons of fresh (not expired) 2% milk. It's a lot harder than you might think. Not only are people suspicious of anything free, but I was giving away free milk. I must admit, I'm not a big milk fan already, and if some younger-looking white male came up to me on the street with a cart of 5 gallons of 2% milk I'm not sure I'd take any either.
However, I did find one guy. We'll call him steve. I know steve because he is a regular visitor at our church on Sundays. He talks like there's always someone with him, is super nice, and an amazing artist.
I saw steve twice today.  Once early this morning I said hello to him as I walked into Homeland to get a loaf of bread and some jelly, and the second time sitting outside a local soup kitchen.  After talking for a while he told me he was organizing all his papers and asked if he could have one of the jugs of milk on my cart. I, obviously, said "sure!", gave it to him, and continued on my quest. The journey was not without its casualties, however. On my way back to the church with 4 out of the 5 jugs of milk I snagged a crack in the sidewalk and one of the 4 toppled to the ground and busted.

Isn't it interesting how the few cases of people (we hear about from the news or word of mouth) who have abused, or taken advantage of, people's kindness/the system have ruined it for everyone? I'm mean, c'mon, what kind of society do we live in where a guy can't walk up and down the street successfully giving out 2% milk? Thanks, steve, for allowing me to give you a jug of milk, because I know someway or somehow that this little act is helping me to transform into the likeness of Christ.
Maybe next time I'll try orange juice, or perhaps vitamin D.

Monday, March 8, 2010

You know, the church is not a building

Three "walk-ins" have come to the church today. (As you recall, "walk-ins" are people who visit the church needing assistance of some kind.) The third and final person was a late thirties man from Nigeria. He had used up his stay at the Salvation Army, was interviewing at OU tomorrow for a custodial position, and came to the church seeking a place to stay. We talked for about 20 minutes together. With a wonderfully thick African accent he told me about his family who were staying in OKC with his wife's sister until he could get on his feet down here, hopefully, through this job at OU. FBC is not set up for any kind of housing, yet.
(That is actually one of the biggest needs in Norman right now, emergency/temporary housing. Their are agencies that are providing this service, there is simply more demand than there is provision.)
I asked if he needed anything that this church was set up to give (food and clothes), and he said "yes, that would be helpful." As we were walking out of the church doors he turned to me and said, "You know, the church is not a building." My eyes got bigger in agreement as he continued, "We are the church. The people of faith. And the purpose of the church is to help the poor like this (he motioned to his food and clothes bag). Thank you." We then prayed together and parted ways. I want to be a life long learner from people I cross paths with.

I know that there are many ways people of faith can "be the church", but I am very humbled to be on the front lines of a church people that give to the poor of the community.