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Noon on Wednesday

When I got to the office, I began my morning trek through email, which, by the way, is the hardest thing to fast from these days. Email has become integral to how we communicate. It satisfies us task-oriented people well because we know how many we have answered and how many left to go...but it must drive the people-people nuts--or keeps them online for hours.

For the lunch hour, I began to look forward to my message on December 9, when I return from my trip next week. (More later on this.) I am really excited about the series we will begin on Sunday: "Enter the Prince of Peace."
Troy kicks off this week with poverty and hunger. He will be at the end of the Flood's 30-hour famine, and I will continue with the topics of outcasts and aliens on the 9th.

I've read passages like Matthew 8:2-4 (leper); 1 Peter 1:1; 2:11; Psalms 68:5; and Matthew 9:28-30 (blind) to get into the first-century issues related to aliens and outcasts then. Our attitudes toward illegal aliens in America and homosexuals with AIDS are probable parallels to the prejudices the lepers, blind, and foreigners felt while living in Israel then. Following Jesus' words and actions--he actually touched those people and broke a bunch of rules doing it--is as difficult then as now. I'll share the rest of my thoughts on the ninth.

I'm reading Brian McClaren's Everything Must Change and Greg Boyd's The Myth of a Christian Nation for new perspectives along with commentaries. Both books call the church back to the premise that Jesus inaugurated "the kingdom of God" by his life and teachings, and no physical organization, power, government or principality--except the church--can manifest his kingdom. Boyd is a re-play of Charles Colson's Kingdoms in Conflict, but with contemporary illustrations.

I then took a walk around the block to pray after that study time. Why do you feel like such a looser when you walk in this town? Every car--no exaggeration--that passed me had only the driver in it, and every house was locked up and no one was on the sidewalks except the lawn guys at one house. No wonder we are all dysfunctional! Isolation and individualism will be our downfall. Those were the emotions I felt as I prayed for the homes, people, and city as I walked. I also prayed for those of you who came to my heart and mind during my walk.

I returned refreshed and more convinced than ever the church as family/community is our hope in a mission field like this one. I will have a couple of meetings this afternoon and then I'll have some more time for prayer and listening.

(I'm getting the expected no-caffeine-since-lunch-yesterday headache about now. See, I am an addict. Fasting makes you realize these sort of things when you stop medicating and stimulating your body for only 12 hours.)