November tends to be a time of introspection for me. I started my current job in November of 1994. This week I start my 17th year at DOOR. One of the people who sparked my interest in coming to DOOR was John Perkins. I doubt he knows who I am, but I heard him speak at a CCDA event in Denver. He spoke passionately of “Three R’s” for successful urban ministry – Relocation, Reconciliation and Redistribution. For John, when the people of God embodied and lived these values the poor and the oppressed would be set free.
I heard this sermon at a very dark time in my life. I had recently resigned from a pastoral position. My prayer to God at that time was rather simple; “get real or get out.” I was tired of pretending that my faith meant something to me.
Hearing about the “Three R’s” was the breath of fresh air I needed. I had never really thought that where I lived was also a moral issue. Hearing that reconciliation was more than a God and me concern was transformative. Reconciliation also included my relationship with humanity, in all its forms. I grew up believing in the tithe, but I had never really considered that how and where I spent the rest of the money was also an important concern.
This sermon started our family on what has become a 16-year journey. Sixteen years ago, my faith was mostly a Sunday morning event; today my faith is a 24 hour, 7 day a week celebration. As a family, we have relocated, have struggled with issues of reconciliation and think about where we spend our money.
I blame you John Perkins for speaking from your heart and sending our family on a crazy, wild, exciting, enriching and life-giving journey.