How wide do we open the door?
Do we dare to let these children of God in?
Yesterday, my colleague received an email from a marginal member who every so often lashes out for something desperate. She needs grocery money or her car is broken. She calls the SP and begs. This has happened twice now. He makes a phone call on her behalf and apologizes that he can't do anymore. Neither of these phone calls have worked out -- but both times she has sent an email to announce joyously that God is protecting her and sent her angels that took care of her. This time, it was a whole family of 5 that showed up and played badminton with her in the backyard. For those of you that have children, is this something you do with your three children? Really? I don't think so. I asked the SP if he thought she was making the rounds among the churches. I pegged this family as Baptist from the other side of town. They're nicer than we are.
This is actually what bugs me. It's one thing to invite the "crazy people" into worship and welcome them "no matter where they are on life's journey" -- but it's totally another when these people are calling the pastors at home. It's the pastors that have to decide how to negotiate these relationships so that all parties are safe, healthy and well.
I admit that I have no idea how to do this. This is a little too close to home for me. I don't know how to relate to my brother -- and he's family! How can I possibly know what is fair both for me and these children of God that wander through the church doors? I fear that this will be one of the greater challenges to face the church in the future. And yet, I don't know what to do with it today.