I remember sitting in my good friend Susan’s house years ago, enjoying her grandparents’ finger licking, authentic Chinese cuisine. There were some fortune cookies that her parents purchased, and of course that’s a “go to” item after any Chinese meal. I was never really a fan of the ACTUAL cookie itself (it tastes like what plastic smells like… yes plastic has a smell), I was always more interested in the fun fortune that was revealed after breaking it open.
My friend and I were teachers at an inner city school in Brooklyn, NY. And we got to talking about some of the issues our students were facing on a daily basis… stuff that unfortunately seems like almost every child growing up in the inner city is going through…. the challenges that come with single parenthood, dying relatives, gang-related family members, physical abuse, drug abuse by relatives….
We were discussing how what we do is for them, the extra 5 hours after the school day ends, the trying to understand the root of their unruly behavior, coping with the frustrations of every student being on a different educational level though they are in the same grade, it’s not about us…but really for building them up as successful individuals.
Her boyfriend jokingly said…. what if you opened up that fortune cookie and it said something real like “It’s not about you.” We all started to laugh, and then thought it would be an ingenious idea to start fortunes that told hard truths when a person opened it up, instead of something like “a willow bird will sing you a happy song today.”
Well.. I think he was on to something. All these years later I can’t stop thinking about that seemingly insignificant, jesting conversation. Especialy after seeing the condition that the world is in… and ESPECIALLY after seeing the condition the American Church is in (and by church I don’t mean the buildings… I mean the so called believers). If I could, I would tailor those hard truths to the body of Christ that seems to be consumed in MEville, at the moment. They would look something like this.
“Dear Church,” Fortunes:
“It’s not about YOU.”
“There are slaves in your city, what are you doing with your freedom, for them?’”
“Get off your lazy butt and go help someone in need.”
“The 9 year old neighbor next to you is trying to cope with a parent dying.”
“Stop judging those teens at the corner store, and go love them.”
“The intolerable woman who lives in the house 3 doors down, is getting beaten by her boyfriend every night.”
“You’re light, get out of the spotlight and be one in the dark.”
“The 14 year old “slutty” girl you just walked by has been raped 3 times today…because her pimp sold her to 3 clients.”
“Yes, you’ve been redeemed, and set free.. now go show someone else how to be.”
“The young man that you sat next to on the train today is looking for a father figure to pour into him.”
“Going to church Sunday doesn’t make you a Christian, any more than being in a garage makes you a car.”
“You’ve always got something to say, how about saying something worth something?”
“Yes, God has been good to you, and faithfully blessed you…now stop singing about it, and go pay it forward.”
“Instead of buying a new Sunday outfit, use that money to donate to a just cause.”
“Hey, when was the last time you prayed for a random stranger, instead of more “me” stuff?”
“For God’s sake…. Go be a Kingdom bringer.”
“You’ve been freely given….stop being stingy, and now go freely give.”
“Jesus said GO…why are you in the same spot?”
I heard Christine Caine speak this past weekend at The Brooklyn Tabernacle. She is a powerful speaker and advocate against human trafficking in southwest Europe, and America. Her goal is to light a fire under the Church’s butt to MOVE and FIGHT.
The A21 Campaign gives 21 practical ways to fight against trafficking, that range from creating awareness to interning at an org. Her article on CNN is a great source in highlighting the issue of trafficking and gives details about the birth of A21, whose goal is to abolish slavery in the 21st century. Here’s the FB group page.
One of the things she said which has resonated deeply within me is “Not on my watch Lord, not on my watch.”
FOR THE SAKE OF THE WORLD, and the glory of God… may we be a generation that shifts our vision from “ME” to HIM and OTHERS….and that rallies together with the roaring war cry
“NOT ON OUR WATCH LORD, NOT ON OUR WATCH!”