Rick Gregory, Writer

Translating Messages From Heads To Hearts

Community: is it Madness?

I just finished reading chapter 4 (online here) in Soul Graffiti about Emperor Arcadia. My emotions really took me by surprise when, after reading how he had tried to commit suicide and Mark and Joseph had visited him in the hospital, I actually, uncontrollably, burst out in tears! This is something I haven’t done for years!

It wasn’t that Mark had visited him, or that the Emperor lived through the ordeal, but it was as I read on and Mark explained to the hospital psychologist (who couldn’t figure out why Mark and Joseph would care about a filth-creased, drug-addicted, mentally unstable indigent) “. . . that Joseph and I [Mark] were part of a small church community trying to imitate the example of Jesus by making friends with lonely people. ‘That sounds like the kind of church I would love to join,’ she replied.”

It’s also the kind of church I want to belong to. And if such a church doesn’t exist, don’t we need to BE it? This is an example of a part of what I think Lou is longing to see expressed here in Long Beach . . . How amazing would it be to serve as a catalyst for Grace, inviting others to join us in this Way of living that impacts people where they live and forces them to confront fears and stereotypes and maybe even their own selfishness? How can people who call themselves followers of Jesus fail to see that this is a key component of following Him? How did Sherry and I miss it for so many years?

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