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I have long lamented how this small town just don’t like change, not even good change, or especially not good change. We get into a rut, more comfortable in the darkness than we are in the Light.

I can get myself into all kinds of trouble even speaking of such things, but sometimes keeping the lid on my little teapot, is just too much to bear. So you know, businesses go bankrupt and get shut down, people lose their homes, meth and heroin start pouring in, people are dying right and left, and its all good, hardly anyone cares at all, this is just business as usual. We’re comfortable in the darkness, its familiar and safe.

But someone steps forward with some kind of vision, something positive, and suddenly the knives come out, we’re immediately suspicious and uncomfortable. Gossip begins to fly, we get hypercritical, and we’re often invested in their failure. Can’t wait for that guy to fail, for the world to show him what a fool he is….

I’ve spent a lifetime observing this phenomenon, trying to understand, trying to be forgiving. Not sure I’m making any progress on the forgiveness end of things.

You see this play out in the business world and in the churchian world, too. It’s all good, just so long as you stay in your place, don’t rock the boat, or heaven forbid, actually succeed and accomplish something.

We actually have a slogan here, “it is what it is. We are who we are.” Yeah well, we’re called to be better.

I have long prayed for 20 good men, a rather comical prayer, but that’s all I need Lord, just 20 good men with a vision who are willing to fight and perhaps to go down fighting. It’s comical in the sense of 20 good men, big ones, strong ones, not women at all, but men with a vision and the strength to pull it off. Better men than me, because I lack the power to do it.  I’m more of prayer warrior and an encourager, a cheer leader, but don’t think that’s very sweet, because I am chucking here, but I may well be praying for you to get yourself into a great deal of trouble and confrontation.

I’d like to see the train of despair totally derailed. I’d like to see learned helplessness slain and tossed across the power line like a pair of old shoes. I’d like to be able to tell young people who are busy drinking and drugging, you need to stop that because you actually do have a future and a hope.

Where there is no future and no hope, there is no vision either, and life becomes a matter of just trying to swallow the pain and drown yourself in acceptance.

I’m angry with so many of my Christians here too, and perhaps it’s because my expectations are too high, my demands are too great. Or perhaps it’s because I live in a world of chaos and confusion, where a pastor runs off with his new husband and is celebrated, and the Catholics have gathered incognito to ordain the lady priests.

Perhaps it’s because I talked to an evangelical, evangelical mind you, and he actually told me, I think there are more than enough Christians in this area. We really don’t need anymore.

Maybe it’s because a Christian told me, “I love this town and its quirky characters in their funny hats,” and I looked up to see my baby sister. My own sister. Your entertainment, your colorful characters, are actually just my family, now homeless, now trapped in a cycle of addiction. I like her funny hats too, but not as much as I liked the essence of who she once was, the potential now unrecognized and perhaps lost forever.

How is it you have known me for 10 years and still know nothing of my pain?

Maybe it’s because so many Christians are just settled and comfortable, they come here to retire, and they worry about things like, “I don’t want that tree cut down because it frames the view from my window.” Me, I’m more like, I don’t ever want to see another young person living on the streets forever trapped in a meth induced psychosis, or addicted to heroin, or dead from an overdose, or sprayed across our highway in a drunk driving accident.

I want to be able to tell some young dad who is trying to raise his kids alone, we have something better to offer you than dishwashing for minimum wage for the rest of your life. I want to be able to say, it gets better, and to actually mean it. All I got right now is blind faith and empty hands.

Just 20 good men and an angel army behind them. They come sometimes you know, one at a time, just often enough that I know God is listening to me, but they often don’t last long, because this is a dark, dark place and the rewards are few. In fact, odds are pretty good you’ll meet nothing but condemnation and constant disapproval. At least that’s true if you’re worth your salt and willing to stand on it.

My bitterness and cynicism threaten to consume me sometimes. It is dark and alone and always expecting far more of people than they can actually deliver. And so I continue to pray with empty hands, just a few good men Lord, just a few willing to stand as salt and light, some men with a vision and willingness to fight for it……

He cares for me, this half drenched sparrow in a hurricane, and He often whispers, take heart I’m coming….


brown and black bird on brown tree branch

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