Posted tagged ‘Orange’

When Community Gets Stomped On

March 29, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                March 29, 2016


What does it mean to “be community?” It is a term that gets used often these days, an ideal that gets raised as something people want, but what does it mean?

If you go to some of our more rural areas you’ll find that there are farms, or what used to be farms, often situated on each corner of a crossroads. It’s an interesting picture that describes a learning that farmers from decades ago discovered as an essential principle for living: They needed each other. Instead of building the farm house in the middle of their property, farmers built their homes close to their neighbors. Isolation was a threat to their existence. When they planted in the spring they helped each other. When they harvested they helped each other. If a new barn needed to be built they helped each other.

Community meant knowing that they needed each other! Life wasn’t about hoarding, and it wasn’t about looking out for a person’s own interests…and the heck with everyone else!

Such life wisdom was also weaved through scripture into God’s design of the church. There was to be the dependence on God and the interdependence on one another. In fact, the church was charged to look out for the needs of those who were without, especially the widows (Of which there were many!) and the orphans. Community meant sharing. There was not to be those who had and those who had not.

That idea of community often receives lip service, but, in a culture that is self-focused, it is seldom put into action.

Sadly enough, a free Easter Egg Hunt in Orange, Connecticut, demonstrated that the wants of the individual are more important than the welfare of the community. Outside of the Peez candy business pushy parents said to heck with it and rushed the fields that held over nine thousand Easter eggs. Children were pushed to the side as adults descended “like locusts”, as one Peez employee described it, on the fields.

You may be saying “What!!!!” at this point!

The event was scheduled to happen in three phases, starting with the youngest children at 10:30, but before 10:30 arrived mayhem moved in first! The result…crying children, angry parents, and a lot of questions.

Over plastic eggs filled with candy!

The principle of community got stomped on!

A couple of my favorite passages from the New Testament come in Acts 2 and Acts 4 where, talking about the first church in Jerusalem, the writer Luke says that no one was in need. If there was someone in need the others made sure they were taken care of.

That’s the kind of community I want to be a part of- the sweetness of agape love over the momentary taste of sweet candy!

Seeing ‘Used To Be’s'”

April 6, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                 April 6, 2013


My son and I are in Atlanta this weekend for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four. The Final Four weekend is “an event”, complete with a convention center filled with exhibits, people wearing orange (Syracuse), blue (Michigan), red (Louisville) and gold (Wichita State). There is intense team loyalty. David and I don’t care. We’re just enjoying the event.

Another thing about the Final Four weekend is that there are a lot of tall people walking around. Very tall! For some of them age has not been kind! For others the resemblance of who they are now compared to twenty years ago is striking. Danny Ferry doesn’t look much different now than he did when he played at Duke in the late 80’s. Of course, he looked like he was about 40 when he was in college. Now he looks like he’s about 40 with minimal hair.

I found myself walking around “Bracket Town”, the name of the place where the exhibits are at, looking at tall people and wondering “Did he used to be someone?”No one asks that about 58 year old 5’6” white guys. (Okay! I’m really fix foot six and a half inches!) When you see someone six foot eight you wonder, especially when it is at a place where basketball people congregate.

I saw Rolando Blackman, who has been retired from the NBA for twenty years and yet I recognized him right away. Christian Laettner looks a little more domesticated than when he was going through his “bad boy non-conformist” days. Of course, my opinion is still filtered by my pain over seeing his buzzer beater shot against Kentucky. I was a Big Blue fan back in those days. Laettner was the enemy. Twenty years later it was hard to look at him and still not regard him as the enemy.

But then there were the hundreds of 6’6”, 6’7”, and 6’8” guys who were walking around the Georgia Dome who looked like they might used to have been someone.

Fame is fleeting in this world. People follow you for what you are doing for them currently, not for what you used to do. Our culture is very much a “in the moment” kind of people. History is not valued by many folk. One day in basketball practice I mentioned Larry Bird to my 14 girls who were crowded around me, and I was met with 14 blank looks. I then asked “Doesn’t anyone know who Larry Bird is?”

Fourteen pauses.

And then one brave young lady responded in question form, “Birdman?”

My mouth dropped open. It may have been the first time that someone had confused Chris Anderson with being Larry Bird. History is not valued.

It also tells me that my purpose is not necessarily to be remembered, recognized, or even memorialized, but rather to live my life with purpose, passion, and responsibility. I may not even be recognized as a “used to be”, but God has gifted me, graced me, and called me to make an impact in the lives of others. The impact may happen in small ways, or in one lasting conversation at just the right moment in one person’s life. It may be an impact that happens after a multitude of “reflecting Jesus” moments. The difference between wondering whether that 6’9” balding giant who just passed me use to be somebody and who I am is that I’m called to lead people to knowing and remembering Jesus for now and ever. It’s the best philosophy for a former point guard: Give it to the Big Guy!