Feb. 19, 2018

Accept it or keep scrolling...

If you were to read Philippians 3:1-6 as a stand-alone passage, you might think Paul had an ego problem. Too much ego. If we only read one part of this letter, we might not understand the point he was trying to make. It was quite the opposite of bragging. It was more of a way to say, “Here’s who I am; here’s what I’ve done; here are a list of my accomplishments, and they mean nothing unless I am obedient to Christ.”

I’m going to ask you to read the passage and keep it in mind as I share what I am going to share. If you take this blog out of context, I will sound as though I am boasting. If you determine that I am indeed boasting, like in Philippians 3:1-6, you miss the point.

Who am I? Well, I am a Caucasian, Southerner, Texan, child of a loving home, and someone who was brought up in the Baptist church. None of that means anything if I am not part of God’s kingdom. I took care of that at the age of seven, reinforced it at the age of twelve, committed to it fully at the age of nineteen, revisited it at the age of thirty, and have asked myself ever since, “What does that mean?” Just when I think I have it figured out, God teaches me something new about being part of His kingdom on earth.

I’ve worked in prenatal education, early parenting education, hospital administration, human resources, church work, women’s ministry, children’s ministry, youth ministry, and Christian Life activism. (I have to put a period here to avoid a severe run-on sentence). I've worked in outside sales, marketing, and business administration. (Another period for grammars sake). I wrote many grants for underserved populations, advocated for patient access to medical care for everyone, made executive decisions even when others wouldnt (even if they disagreed), and attempted to retire from the world before God whispered, “Uh, not so fast.”

Regardless of what I’ve done personally and professionally, spiritually I am a prophet, a teacher, an exhorter, and an advocate. These aren’t jobs I’ve chosen to do; they are callings I've been assigned by God.

Does that mean everybody has to be like me, think like me, write like me, talk like me, or be me? Certainly not. What it does mean is that you must take the time to understand me before you decide to embrace me or reject me. Either way, I will not stop yielding to God’s calling for me in His kingdom work. I’m certainly not going to remain quiet when it is obvious something is out of order in God’s kingdom. And, I am almost 60. I really do not have time for crap.

I was a patient advocate for poor mothers treated through the county’s indigent healthcare system. I taught first and second year medical students during their obstetrics rotations at both Baylor College of Medicine and, eventually, UTMB. I didn’t teach them the medical side of delivering babies. I taught them the emotional side of supporting women, especially teen moms, in labor.

I’ve argued with physicians when they insisted on doing unnecessary procedures on pregnant women or scheduled a Cesarean because it was easier on them, as doctors, to do it that way.

I worked with churches that experienced trauma and tragedy in an effort to provide mental health services. It was my job to match the need with the right therapist. We handled the accidental shooting of a preschooler and the home invasion and rape of a Discipleship Weekend home group.

I advocated for women going through in-patient rehab because jobs were not available for them. I worked in a facilty that was predominantly male. Women in treatment, especially mothers, have specific needs. I helped make sure those needs were met.

I worked with sexual abuse and sexual assault survivors. Perpetrators are obvious when you have been exposed to their patterns. They are basically all the same - weak. They hide it well among people who are not paying attention to the details.

I’ve been part of pro-life rallies and carried signs in protest until a Baptist minister refused to allow a teen mother to dedicate her baby in our church. It was at that point I realized this pro-life stuff isn’t all it appears to be and certainly is two-faced.

I joined arms in the Life Chain on Center Street to unify efforts to stop abortions until I realized most of the people holding my arms had no plans to help families in anyway past the point of making sure that baby was born. They seemed to forget it would need to be housed, fed, cared for, and educated. But, man! They were so proud of their efforts to stand in a Life Chain.

I walked many picket lines. One was in Deer Park in an effort to remove porn from 7-11’s shelves. God took it one step further. 7-11 closed in Deer Park. I walked it not because my fellow Christians agreed with me, but because they didn’t. I walked it to make a statement that we’d better reconsider our stand for or against things. Words are empty. Action is everything. We had better make darn-well sure that compassion and God’s loving care are parts of our holy picture.

Before I close this blog, let me make one thing perfectly clear: I love people. All people. Despite being born white, Southern, Texan, Baptist, and middle-class, I am going to lean towards the needs of the poor, outcast, oppressed, and endangered. I’m going to do that because the bible I read tells me to do that. It also tells me that those financially better off need God just as much, they just don’t know they do or will not admit it.

If you don’t like this declaration, perhaps you need to keep scrolling. I will be hard-headed, determined, obnoxious, vocal, enlightening, and yielded until God tells me not to be any of those things any longer. It will have nothing to do with your advice for me or your opinion of me.

I'd say, "Boom!" but that sounds too much like a loaded gun and might spark debate.  <wink>