I just got back from the coffee place. Wayne Wells was in town. Have not visited with him in years. He is from Waco. We knew one another in Alabama (in what seems like a lifetime ago). Seeing him brought back memories of those years. Living in Florence. Working with a young church there. Alabama was the place where I was introduced to pork barbecue, chicken stew, southern hospitality, and catfish restaurants.
Most of all, I have wonderful memories of people. People in a small church who loved us. These people were patient and full of grace toward their young minister. They celebrated with us when our children were born. These were the people who helped me understand life as it is "at street level".
What happens at street level? (Some common experiences)
1. Life is often hard and full of disappointments.
2. Sometimes, the church as a person experiences it, can even be a barrrier to authentic faith. (Ideally, the church is a help to authentic faith).
3. Christians, at times, do things that are very inconsistent with what they say they believe. This is so frustrating to many of these people who desire to live more in line with what they profess.
4. Many people have money problems. Some have to file bankruptcy. Some make poor decisions financially. Others experience these problems due to the closing of a plant or a company office.
5. Some people have been deeply wounded by professing Christians. Yet, so often that is rationalized by other Christians who refer to these hurtful people as "really great people".
6. There are people who have spent a lifetime coming in second or third place. They are rarely selected or chosen. Meanwhile, others seem to have numerous options.
7. Many people are deeply wounded and are fearful that the next person they talk with will wound them again.
8. Christians may wrestle with doubt at times. "Why did God…..?"
9. Some Christians feel very alone because they are with other Christians who seem to think that they have "got it right." Who does a person talk with when their friends seem to have it all together?
If you are following the Terri Schiavo story you might look at the numerous articles on Get Religion. There are some great links on this site. This is a site which focuses on how the media handles stories that are connected in some way with faith.