Zimbabwe’s far. My mission pastor hubby John has once again made the 30-hour trek, this time with a planeful of energetic, ready-to-change-the-world teenagers and some pretty cool ready-to-change-the-world adults.
Relieving the sting of his absence, my friend Megan and her baby have flown out from New Mexico to hang with us. The baby is darling and has my boys enraptured with his little face, little hands and little Nikes. Having another mom on hand is of course, a Godsend. She has unending energy and instinctively bends down to tie a shoe, reaches out to hold a hand, jumps in to cook dinner, gives the mom-style laser eyes when mine are tired, and has been trying to help me figure out why the airbed keeps deflating and swallowing Jacob in the night. Megan’s a pastor’s wife too, and has been a source of comfort and understanding through both of our families’ wacky and fun-filled transitions into ministry.
Last night, with the boys tucked in, we watched Strictly Ballroom, and then she sat patiently while I tried to talk her into watching Twilight with me, which she won’t. Though we don’t have Masters of Divinity degrees like our husbands who were seminary classmates (and have apparently mastered divinity), we still find ourselves casually chatting about church polity and theology while sitting on the couch in our pajamas. If you can’t watch Twilight, theology and polity are the next logical choices.
And there’s been a lot to talk about. This last week or so, churchy news has made it into mainstream media something fierce. First Anne Rice denounces Christianity by way of Facebook, which if you are going to publicly and erroneously accuse an entire group of being hate mongers, Facebook is the way to go. And then there’s the big piece in the New York Times on clergy burnout which got all of the clergy types’ collective undergarments in a bunch. OK yuk, nobody wants to talk about clergy undergarments.
Now when this stuff comes out, there are countless platforms and forums and venues where we can virtually all jump in and talk at once. My instinct is to argue & defend when I feel wronged, and then reason & explain (which I’ve done this week), but that’s exhausting. It only goes so far, and in the end, just adds to the noise. Instead, it seems like a better idea to just let people know that right now, at this very moment, there are bright, talented, dedicated teenagers who are spending the last days of their summer thousands of miles away from home, carrying bricks, building pre-schools, and passing out shoes. As John very eloquently says, these are the kids who, in a blink, are going to be doctors, policymakers and world leaders. They’re bypassing the noisemakers – stepping out in faith and taking their big hearts, bright smiles and beautiful souls into the world to do something and show some love. And not even Anne Rice can argue with that.