Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Crazy Idea

Circuit Rider Preacher





I woke up with the strangest idea this morning. My mind has been on all of the families I've heard from over the years who can no longer go to church together either because the environment is too stimulating for their kids or they are simply not welcome. 

With that in my mind, I thought, "Why not bring back the idea of circuit rider preaching? If a family can't get to the church, why can't the church get to them?"

So since then, I've been daydreaming about getting ordained and traveling around the country in an RV and holding church services for you in barns or open fields, or anywhere people would feel comfortable without the usual rules and social niceties. Y'all could visit with your neighbors again, take communion together, and do whatever--just to feel like the Body of Christ for once instead of shunned lepers. 

I don't think my ideas are totally outside the realm of possibility. In 1808, my fifth-grandfather, John Benwell reopened Sidcot School after it had been closed for almost eighty years

Sidcot as it is today.
His grandson, Joseph Austin Benwell made his home in India for awhile and became a well known painter. He painted this somewhat iconic portrait of Florence Nightingale.


Joseph's brother, John, traveled to America and spent four and half years documenting the abuse of slaves. Another member of my family defended abused slaves in court, and still others released their slaves and then opened schools to teach those same people how to read and write. 

My point with all the family info is this: I have lived a strange life and have an unusual family background where virtually everyone either loved the Lord and/or took a stand against cruelty and oppression. Almost all of my father's Baptist family either served as elders and deacons in their respective churches. The Quaker part of his family, which dates back to 1689, lived in various places around the world and opened schools to teach others general knowledge and the love of Christ. 

And as for the Episcopalians, well--one of them became a founding father of our nation. So, maybe all of my weirdness has a purpose and somehow it shaped me to be able to give back to our world. I don't know, but if so, I'm willing to give whatever it is that I have to give for the sake of another person's freedom that I have so graciously but unexpectedly been given..

Anyway, when Jesus said blessed are you when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man (Luke 6:22), I'm pretty sure He wasn't referring to Christians who reject other Christians because you or your kids have a disability.

But I know that pain. I was once beaten up on a church retreat. Asked to leave choir and home group because I didn't relate well to people my own age (never mind that I did relate well to an older crowd). Called a coward from the pulpit in front of 1500 other people because at that time it was easier for me to communicate in writing than in person. Told by my first pastor, "You are nothing and that's all that you will ever be." Those are just a few of the more memorable encounters I've had with my elders. But there are many, many more.

I want something better for your children than what I faced--and still do sometimes face--alone. While we Christians are failing miserably at creating churches that serve as something like hospitals--where the brokenhearted are healed, I still dream that this can be a reality. Still want to try it. Still want to bring people together and see us unified and reconciled, and yes, dare I say it, still want to see hands laid on the sick and they receive healing right on the spot. I want the oppressed captive to go free!

So, you know, if anyone else thinks this is a good idea, feel free to start a Go-fund me page for this endeavor* (for the RV--lol). If I tried it, I'd raise about $12 since I have no real social network, but I'm just saying, if anyone wants to "send" me, here am I, and I'm willing to go! 

Love to you all. I think of you everyday. Blessings and the peace of our Lord be with you today! 

*To be clear, I really do not want anyone to start a Go-fund me campaign. I was only kidding! 

2 comments:

  1. I think your idea is awesome. We have a great church community and the experiences you have had sound terrible. I'm sorry you had those and I so admire you for moving past those crappy experiences and sticking with Jesus. :) Thanks for this great blog, too, I just found yesterday!

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    1. Thank you! That idea is still rolling around in my head, getting a little bigger each day...As for my experiences, they were hard but as time goes by things are sort of getting reframed in my mind. For example, I learned much about forgiveness and compassion through those storms. And as cliche as it sounds, the hard times did draw me closer to God. That's probably all that counts when it's all said and done!

      I'm glad you enjoy the blog. Blessings and thanks again!!!

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