Maybe this is apropos of nothing. Maybe it isn’t. In either case, I remembered something after I wrote yesterday’s post. I remembered the one other time I missed a preaching engagement (the only other one I can remember). It was Wild Card Weekend, just like this weekend. In fact, I seem to often get sick on Wild Card Weekend. I know I was sick the Wild Card Weekend before I married my wife (2005), but I think I toughed it out. I did not tough it out this other Wild Card Weekend (2003, I believe); I was way too sick. I can’t remember how the elders filled the pulpit for me (we had a fellow in the congregation who was a capable preacher, so he may have done it). But I do remember the elders brought communion to me afterward. I was still very sick at that point, and I hadn’t eaten anything. I took communion and the elders left me with a couple football games I didn’t really care about.
A couple hours later, though, a lady from the church came by. This lady was one of what I call “the fringe members of the church”; she and her husband regularly attended but they were not significantly involved. She told me she heard I was sick and asked me if I needed anything. I said I hadn’t eaten all day and was thinking some Gatorade would help me. I also said I could use an electric blanket. She then went out to buy both those things for me. She may have had to go out and come back twice; that seems to be right, but the memory is hazy. She also brought me some homemade Sloppy Joes. I wrapped up in the blanket, drank the Gatorade, tried to eat the Sloppy Joes (I don’t think I made it; the appetite wasn’t fully back yet), and watched the I Love The 80s marathon on VH1 (that might have been the beginning of the nostalgia bent I’ve been on ever since). And for the first time that weekend I started to feel better.
It was a terrible weekend (did I mention I had just broken up with a girl a couple weeks before that weekend), but that night was a great night. It was a great night because of this one “fringe” woman who took it upon herself to help a single, rather stupid kid with his sickness.
And that is just one of many great experiences I have had with church people. Now I know many folks have had less-than-great experiences with church people, and I further know that those less-than-great experiences are for them a reason to dislike the entire church. But if those peoples’ experiences are valid data for evaluating the church, why are my experiences not also valid data for evaluating the church? If they have rejected the church because of these experiences (and proclaim themselves right to do so), then why can’t (or shouldn’t) I embrace the church because of my experiences?
Apropos of nothing? Maybe. But maybe not.