As Easter was approaching I remembered how Nancy and I liked to watch the movie “Les Miserables”. Victor Hugo’s literary masterpiece, which was written in 1862, is still a story that resonates with readers and audiences 156 years later. It has been adapted to movies, and to stages from Broadway to high schools (in fact one of my favorite performances for obvious reasons was put on by my son’s high school where he played in the pit orchestra).
You probably wouldn’t guess, but I have always thought I was a bit of an outcast. Feeling alone in a crowded room is a feeling I am all too familiar with. Despite growing up in a pretty loving and connected family, with friends at school and in the neighborhood, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I just didn’t fit. Unfortunately, some of those outcast feelings were supported by interactions with the church. In fact, there was a period of time where I used them as fuel to dislike and avoid church altogether.
It’s dawned on me over the last few years that I’ve been a commuter to my own home more than a neighbor in my neighborhood. Being in full-time vocational ministry as I have been these past fourteen years is relationally taxing (and rewarding). I often get my fill of people while I’m out and about and show up at 1230 Houston Street in the evening zonked relationally. Too often I have little left to give my own wife and kids and dog (poor Jambo Wambo!), let alone my actual neighbors.
Twitter. Snapchat. Facebook. Instagram. Tumblr. WeChat. WhatsApp. Any of these sound familiar? They may if you own a smart phone, or perhaps even more so familiar if your teen owns a smartphone. These apps are some of the most widely used right now within the teenage population. According to the Business of Apps website, there were 197 BILLION apps downloaded in 2017. (App Download, 2017) The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that 94% of all teenagers are using these social media apps/sites on a daily basis. (Teen’s Social, 2016) Is your teen one of the 94%?
"I sure do love the idea of adoption and foster care, but thinking about it for myself scares the living daylights out of me!" Have you ever found yourself thinking, or even saying, that same thing? Maybe you see your friends and church families stepping out in big ways and wonder if that is something you should do too. The truth is...not all of us are called to orphan care in the same way. Not all of us are called to adopt children into forever families. Not all of us are called to be a safe and loving home for a foster child. But all of us are called to do something.