Thursday, October 21, 2010

Love in a Glovebox - part 2

Recently I wrote about a service project, assembling "gift bags" that can be given to homeless people when you see them along the roadside. Today we followed up on that in my home and made ten bags containing the following:
Scarf, hat, headband, or a pair of gloves
2 granola bars
Small box of raisins
10 cough drops
Travel Kleenex
2 extra Ziploc bags
The cost for each bag came to $4.50 and half of that was for the item of clothing. We're planning to add a note to each bag, just to give a word of encouragement to the recipient and to let them know that this little act of love was done in Jesus' name.

I took my two daughters and granddaughter along to shop for these items, and had two of their friends from the neighborhood helping as well when we assembled the bags. Each of the neighbor friends got to take a bag home for their parents to give away, and we sent two bags home with my granddaughter. So the project is touching a couple of bases: blessing the poor, reinforcing our value of compassion in my daughters & granddaughter, and even letting the neighborhood know, if subtly, what kind of household we are (or at least are trying to be!)

One last idea that I may follow up on as well. I'm thinking of including a stamped postcard, addressed to my church, with a note inviting the homeless person to share any thoughts they wish. If they want to say something to me or to the church - even about what kinds of "giveaways" are helpful or insulting - that would be great. If they want to say something to the Church at large, or to society, or to the Governor or President, I'll promise to deliver their message as best I can. It may well be that some of those messages might end up on this blog. If nothing else, it will let them know that someone thinks their voice is important and is trying to listen. I think any of us would appreciate that.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Someone Saw This Coming

I recently came across this striking quote about people leaving institutional forms of Church for the sake of their faith, rather than as an act of moving away from faith. I first encountered this idea in Reggie McNeal's book The Present Future, but the quote below predates that seminal 2003 work by, um, a fair bit.

Multitudes of Christians within the church are moving toward the point where they may reject the institution that we call the church. They are beginning to turn to more simplified forms of worship. They are hungry for a personal and vital experience with Jesus Christ. They want a heartwarming personal faith. Unless the church quickly recovers its authoritative Biblical message, we may witness the spectacle of millions of Christians going outside the institutional church to find spiritual food.

Care to take a guess as to who said it and when? I'll post the answer in a couple of days. If you can't wait, just go ahead and Google "the spectacle of millions of Christians."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Love in a Glovebox

Here's a great little service project from my friend Steve Bonesho and River of Joy community.

They call it "Love in a Glovebox" and all you need to do is gather a few items to have on hand in your car to give to homeless people as you encounter them at intersections. Hats, mittens, scarves; maybe a bus pass or gift card to a restaurant e.g. Subway; maybe some food items like granola bars. Put these into a little box or bag and have it ready in your car for the next encounter.

If you want, you can join them this coming Sunday as they gather to assemble gLoveboxes after their worship service Sunday October 10th at 10am at the Spring Lake Township Hall.

I'll be elsewhere with my family that morning but we are going to do this as our October service project anyway & send them an e-mail to say thanks for the idea & for being a good example. I encourage you to do the same! You can shoot Steve an e-mail at