My ad reminded people to consider the difference between a need and a want when making financial decisions. (I was very tired of hearing modestly paid airmen proclaim they "needed a boat" or a struggling single mom say she really "needed those exciting new shoes." And I personally find I am healthier when I consider if I really need a package of Oreo cookies.) But the bank tells you you need a loan, because they profit more from the loan than from a modest savings account used to accumulate funds for a cash purchase. Grocery stores spend big advertising budgets to prove they have good "gluten free" sections or a range of organic goods, but frankly organic hot dogs are still a bad idea.
It is the challenge of our age, to find a community where folks meet to share positive ideas; work to turn small hopes into dreams, then into plans; ask the hard questions and hold one another accountable; where folks can honestly disagree and still learn from each other. Some of our children have found such a community while incarcerated. I do not want to infer that prison churches are perfect...that would be impossible inside or in the free world. But because they live in such narrow circumstances many of them are very serious about loving and living and learning to live like Jesus taught. Some wear their Bibles out because they read it so much! And many read with a desire to learn all they can rather than to defend a particular doctrine.
Refugees and minority-Christians struggle around the world to be the Church when public expressions of faith are dangerous to the health and life of themselves and others they love. They are so serious, so intentional when most of us (who live where Christianity rarely causes death or even loss of livelihood) shrug and ask those who love us to "not be too churchy." I am awed by the strength of their faith.
Won't you pray today in loving support of people who are in dire circumstances and seeking to follow Jesus in their lives?