>I’ve been doing some reading lately, various things. Articles on Crosswalk.com, online newspaper articles, online stories about “religious” topics. I find people’s comments on those articles fascinating.
For example, an article in the San Francisco Chronicle talked about the volunteer work at SF City Impact on Thanksgiving Day. It discussed how people are volunteering to help those in need even though the volunteers themselves have suffered financial setbacks this past year or more. It mentioned that a group of people from my church, Lakeside Church in Folsom, went down to SF to volunteer on Thanksgiving Day. Comments varied from supportive to hateful. It appears a number of people want to know why we felt we had to drive 2 hours to volunteer in a different city, didn’t we have volunteer opportunities in our own town? Others appeared to feel Christians are to blame for a lot of the city’s problems. They called Christians racist, sexist, bigoted, self-righteous and evil. They were right, we are human beings after all. Christians suffer from the same character defaults as non-Christians. We sin the same sins as non-Christians. The difference is this: As Christians, we have hope in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Back in August, the night of Lakeside’s Steps Forward dessert, Roger Huang from SF City Impact was one of our speakers. He spoke of his ministry in the Tenderloin, he spoke of how his ministry got started, what he is currently doing in his ministry and of what he hopes to accomplish there in the Tenderloin District. Roger spoke of the children that live there, he spoke of offering them hope and a better life. He is very passionate about his work with the Tenderloin’s residents, not only the children but the elderly, the alcoholics, the addicts, the prostitutes, and the street people. Like Jesus, Roger’s daily life intersects with the “sinners and tax collectors” of that area. The people that most of San Francisco looks down upon because they are deemed unworthy and not acceptable by “normal society.” During that event Roger asked the people of Lakeside to step up and help the people of San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. That’s why we drove 2 hours on Thanksgiving Day to pass out food in SF. There were between 800 and 1,000 volunteers that day. The majority of them came from communities outside of SF. If the residents of SF resent us for driving from out of town to help their neighbors, why don’t they step up and help the less fortunate of their community themselves? If enough San Francisco residents stepped up, Roger Huang wouldn’t have to go out of town to different nearby communities to ask for help. He would find all the help he needed right there in his own backyard.
Something else noteworthy here… Yes, we drove 2 hours to volunteer in SF. Lakeside Church also works within their local community. Lakesiders volunteer with the local food banks, elementary schools, and other ministry programs in and around Folsom. We also have volunteers who drive more than 2 hours to spend their time assisting with other churches and ministries wherever the help is needed. And we have an entire flock of short term and long term missionaries that go across the U.S. and other countries to not only spread God’s word but also work alongside the residents of those areas to improve their lives and living conditions. God has called us to go the “Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth.” We are just doing our best to be obedient to that call.
There is so much more to say. But the people who need to hear this will not listen. They see no need to listen. All I can do is pray for them, whether or not they want my prayers.