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expectationsI am. I am disappointed and feeling discouraged. Heaven forbid I ever let anything that bothers me fester in blessed silence.  So my husband calls me a slave driver, meaning my expectations of other people are often far too high. So there’s that, and there is truth there.

Conversely however, I once patiently waited for a new mailbox post for 11 years. Eleven years of picking up the mailbox that would fall across my driveway. Eleven years of getting in and out of the car and picking the darn thing up so I could park. Every single day. I almost never swore about it either, nor nagged anyone about it. And I praised every false promise to fix it, year after year, until one day I just suddenly became a Scottish highlander doing a log toss and banished the rotten post, mailbox and all, forever.

It was a great throw, too. Eleven years. My ability to wait patiently and graciously is pretty finely tuned.

But doggone it all, when you have to say the same thing, over and over again, year after year, and nobody really hears you, and nobody really listens, it begins to wear on you. Like, I am not chopped liver here, I actually do know a thing or two.

Also, my requests are not immense, not radical, nor complex. Like invite a man to coffee. Just do it. Just share a cup of coffee and have a chat. Simple. Cheap even. Relatively painless. Just do it. Create a relationship.

And three years later, three years later, we’re still debating the wisdom of whether or not we should you know, actually invite a man to coffee. 

That’s the area I live in, that’s the 9th circuit of hell, that’s the kind of relationship fracture we suffer from, one that just creates paralyzing immobility. Stagnant water that cannot move or breath.

And that’s also my church.

I have a vision for this area, a dream that we will all unite as Christians, that we will transform this community from the second most secular county in the entire nation, to the most faith filled, God honoring one. I want to see people come to Jesus Christ, I want to see relationships healed, I want to see families strengthened, I want to see addictions ended. I want to see economic opportunities and housing and a functioning justice system and all the things you need in order to thrive in community.

I want to see His name lifted up on high from right in the middle of the 9th circuit of hell, like a heavenly choir, just like we all sing, Gloria in excelsis Deo, but I want those words reflected in the environment around us, in our actions and in our love for one another. That’s what Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Big dreams, but the Lord gave them to me. And He also said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

I claim this place I call the 9th circuit of hell for Jesus Christ. Like it is a done deal, and victory is now ours for the taking.

Those are fighting words and they are going to offend people, they are going to be met with resistance, but mostly our own resistance, as we waffle and flop about like soggy, overcooked pasta, too terrified to do so much as invite a man to coffee.

Seriously.

Also, turn the darn sound system up. Trust me on this. You have no idea what the gossip is like when it is coming from people who couldn’t hear a darn thing that was said, so they just did their best to fill in the blanks. Take my word for it, you hear enough of those tall tales, you’ll never speak with a tiny, fearful voice that can’t be heard, ever again.