Head and Hands….and Heart

Chris with lots of hair on graduation day

During my last year of university, I only need to attend class part-time in order to finish my degree on time.  Through a variety of God ordained circumstances, I was able to do a 14 month internship in from late 1989 through 1990 with Widows Harvest Ministries.

“The Widows Ministry”, as we called it, provides practical help to widows in need, especially with home repair and maintance along with spiritual encouragement through prayer and bible study meetings.  Primarily, but not exclusively, the Widows Ministry reaches out to African-American widows living in the inner city of Chattanooga, TN.  For 25 years, the Widows Ministry has been blessings widows under the direction of Andy Mendonsa.

As I look back on my life, I can honestly say that this was one of the most foundational years in my life.  Talking to an elderly woman whose father was born a slave, driving the ladies around town, working with other men on a house – these were all formative experiences for me – a “suburban, white boy” of 22 years old.

Intern and apprentice programs over the years have bounced back and forth between the “Just do it!” philosophy and the “Read and watch” philosophy.  Should young people who are exploring options for the future just jump in and work along side those who are older and more experienced?  Or should they read about, talk to, and watch the old guys in action?

I think the answer is YES!

Working on the job with people who’ve been there before is critical.  Learning about the work is critical as well.  But there is a third aspect of development.  Doing good works and learning how to do them with quality is important.  But if our motivation behind our work is self-centered then the whole experience is almost a waste of time (not fully because those who receive the benefits of our labors still benefit).

This is why I think the MAP London intern and apprentice program is special.  Summer interns and year-long apprentices are asked to work along side those in ministry, they are given head knowledge on how the ministry should be done but in addition, a significant amount of time is spent understanding our heart motivation for being involved in ministry.

As Paul says in Ephesians 2:8-10

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Did you catch that – we were “created in Christ Jesus for good works“. Saved by grace for good works.  Grace in the heart leads to an understanding in the head which leads to work in the hands.

This is what we were made for.  This is what MAP London is seeking to develop.

Check out the new MAP London website here.

Let’s be careful while we kick racism out of football

Last week my 11-year-old mixed-race son, Kaleb, watched a BBC documentary on racism in the Ukraine and Poland.  These countries are co-hosting the 4th largest sporting event in the world – the European Football Championship – Euro 2012.  It has been football non-stop around the Hatch house lately to chagrin of the Hatch ladies.

Several times during the game the conversation has turned to racism and Kaleb has remarked that “The Ukrainians are racist” or “The Polish would beat me up if I went to a game.”

How should a white father respond to comments like these to his brown son?

I’ve tried to make several points with Kaleb:

1. There are racist people in the world who will be mean to him just because of the colour of his skin.  This is a sad fact and we shouldn’t pretend otherwise.  Our world is broken in many ways, but this is one aspect of that brokenness which impacts my son in a very personal way.

2. It’s OK to take precautions in order to stay out of trouble.  When he’s an adult, he might decide that he doesn’t want to attend a football game in Poland or Ukraine and that’s OK.    He may decide to engage in difficult and dangerous activities but there’s no glory in getting beaten up for football.

3. Just because there is a group of racist people in a country, that does not mean that everyone in the country is racist. Thinking that each and every individual in a community acts like the worst element, leads to the racist thinking that we want to avoid.

4. No one is beyond the grace of God. We are not inherently better than anyone on the BBC documentary as Paul tells Titus:

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,  he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy (Titus 3:3-5a)  

Paul’s  self description sounds like some the European football fans.  And like Paul, racist football hooligans can by changed by God in his mercy.

Let’s kick racism out of football, but let’s be realistic while we do it.

Police escorts – now and then

Heard it first on the radio and then saw the headlines online:

“Ferdinand to get police escort” – Daily Mail “Anton’s Cop Escorts” – The Sun

                 

and even this one:

“Police investigate death threat against Anton Ferdinand” – The Guardian

I immediately thought of this photo from Norman Rockwell depicting a little girl being escorted into  a New Orleans school in the 1960’s:

No matter what your thoughts are on John Terry, racism is still alive around our world.

 

 

 

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