The 23%…

People need people. I’ve said it a hundred times, we weren’t meant to walk this life alone. We were meant to be part of a body. Working together, for uplifting and encouraging one another. To lean on each other when we are weak. To carry each other when we are broken and bleeding. People need people to be Jesus with skin on!

So where are they? Where are those people we can lean on? I know a few. But they are scattered and spread out over miles and miles.

Where do people go to connect with each other?

In what many say is the buckle of the Bible Belt (I don’t believe it…maybe the buckle of the baptist belt) the answer would be church. Great! Lets find a good one….

Hmm….

There’s a church….oh wow maybe not….

Let me tell you about me. See I grew up going to a baptist church. Then I grew up. I stopped going to church for many reasons. One of the biggest reasons was that people lie. They say they care and the love you but they don’t live it out. And that upsets me. So I stopped going to church. I stopped calling myself baptist. I’ve since gone to catholic, Methodist, non-denoms, four squares, “believers gatherings”, holy rollers, pew jumpers, tongue speakers, faith healers, show boaters, glad handers, city churches, country churches, biker churches, cowboy churches, home churches, new churches, old churches, live churches, dead churches….whew! I’ve been to churches!

Never did I feel more alive and more accepted and more loved than in churches in Africa. Genuine people who love Jesus and love each other and live by faith and share grace. Yeah I’m sure they have their problems, but I’d go back…right NOW I’d go back for good. I’d stay till I died to share that again.

I went to a church near where I live. The pastor was an expository teacher. He saw scripture on a whole other level than most humans ever will. He could see things that made my head spin. He tried to share that with folks on Sunday mornings. Some got it and some didn’t. I didn’t. I went to that church for two years. Every week. Even joined the church. Joined a Sunday school. Got involved with the dinner groups. Once a month several families would meet in each other’s homes and share a meal and fellowship. One of the guys in the Sunday school gave me a job. A good job. A real good job. But….

We never really felt like we fit. See everyone drove a fairly new cars…except us. Everyone lived in nice well furnished houses…except us. Everyone made pretty good money…except us. (Now let me say my good job paid us well…but in comparison I wasn’t in the same tax bracket by far with everyone else).

We felt like being a part of this church was something we had to MAKE happen instead of it just happening. We got tired. We skipped a week. Then we would go regular for a while and then we would stay home. This went on for quite some time. Till finally we stopped going completely.

Over a year later I walked into work one morning and my boss said “hey we missed you in Sunday school yesterday”. I laughed and told him we hadn’t been to church there in over a year. He was speechless. It took more than 52 weeks for anyone to notice we were gone. Something is wrong with that picture.

Afterwards I got to thinking about those people in that church. I realized that the people in that church are the kind of people that people like me work for. White collar folks. They hire guys like me. They pay them to do a job and then they part ways. I wasn’t in their class of people.

A survey of Edmond showed that 77% of residents are white collar people. Doctors, lawyers, business execs, etc. 23% are blue collar people. My people. County road builders, landscapers, plumbers, framers, farmers, etc.

I know a few doctors. I know a lawyer or two. I know a couple higher ups in the business world. When they need something fixed…they call someone. It’s not a slight towards them. I wish I could do that too! It’s just a fact. They think, act, play, and live differently than I do. Our worlds are vastly different.

Edmond is full of white collars. They fill the churches on Sunday mornings.

So where are the blue collars? Where do they meet on Sundays? Where are the folks that know what it feels like to live hand to mouth? Where do the people meet that want to get messy and dirty with life and be involved with one another beyond “hi how are you?” … “I’m good how about you? … “I’m good” … and then part ways. Where do the folks meet with ink on their arms. The square pegs in a round world. Misfits.

Do they go to church? I’d think at least some do. Surely some of them do. So where are they meeting? Are they hiding in a cave seeking refuge from oppression like David when he was running from King Saul?

Why in the world would it be so hard to find a group of believers that love one another and long to share their lives together? Isn’t that what Jesus left us and what Paul helped build? Isn’t that what we were meant for…to praise our Father together? Why do we hide from togetherness and community? Why is it so hard to find? Does it even exist?

Where are the 23 percent?

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