Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Briefly, Of Bugs and When to Say When

So, you've been wondering just what I'm up to? Still spinnin' those hot stax of wax--yeah!!

(Terminal . . . cheesiness . . . taking over! Must . . . get . . . new job . . . before . . . too late!!)

In fact, should the urge take anyone, they can "chat" in ye olde chatroom from 6 to 10 central weeknights by heading to and following the magic link therein.

I've taken some commending from some of you after posting the last post--for my kindness, for consenting to listen to those who need listening to. For that, thanks.

Though I've gotta tell you, I was reading a Tony Campolo book the other day entitled "Living for Jesus Without Embarassing God," which mentions the temptation some of us with messiah complexes have to be savior to all the lost souls, to pin on a "Jr. God" badge and go right all the wrongs and hurts out there. Not unadmirable, really, but when all that enthusiasm is directed towards people who exist emotionally by leeching, then it generally accomplishes precisely nothing--the "Jr. God" winds up resentful, and the leech winds up hurt again, usually sniffling something like "But I thought you were different! I thought you were a real Christian!"

Campolo quoted (reluctantly, to his credit) a friend of his who quipped that the church, like all lights, attracts a lot of bugs. What a dreadful way to speak of those whom God loves! And yet, well, um . . . some of you are smiling, aren't you? You know what he's talking about. (You should--you've been listening to me whine on long enough now, haven't you?). Campolo's prescriptions are fairly simple--at least in principle. Mainly he suggests that ministry leaders organize youth groups etc. in such a way that groups rather than individuals reach out to enfold needy newcomers. Now if only I had a few more folks in the chatroom on "my side . . ."

Methinks there's a lot more to be said here (or elsewhere, for that matter) about this business of the needy pleadies out there, but I've got a show to run here (it's 20:24 as I write this; Demon Hunter is moaning out "The Guantlet," and 1 hour 36 min. remains of Six to Ten With Ben) and so I think I'll throw this one to Myles and company to chew on.


Blogger Stacey said...

Been there! Ministry, esp. w/youth, can really give you a messiah complex if you're not careful. All my good intentions of being THE ONE THAT HELPED HER GET BETTER... until my phone rang 23 times one night and we had to have a serious talk about boundaries.

It took me forever to realize that any attention I gave didn't fill the hole... it fed it. And the second I suggested something actually helpful, i.e., counseling, she wouldn't have it. She angrily dropped me and went in search of new blood. At that point in time, she didn't want to grow; she wanted my energy and my focus.

I am happy to say, however, that Jess ended up at TeenChallenge and is doing better now. All thirty of her former mentors are cheering. She was truly a team effort.

Some students simply have deeper problems that require more than mentoring, and more than a youth group can provide. Having a system in place to identify and connect those with more serious issues to a counselor (or a program, like TeenChallenge) can sometimes be of huge benefit.

September 15, 2004 at 10:50 PM  
Blogger Myles said...

i think campolo's right on. groups, or rather "bodies", should be reaching out rather than individuals. are we communicating that the church is an individualistic pursuit or a corporate body in which individuals have a place because they are a part of Christ? right on, benny. btw, i thought you were getting out of minnesota...

September 20, 2004 at 6:35 PM  
Blogger tracy said...

well.. I tried to hop onto the edge chat site jsut to say hi quick during your 6-10, but I found it dj-less. maybe my computer wasn't loading it properly or something.. but anyway, I just wanted to say hey.
this was a good post. it is an interesting and important thing to take note of when concerning trying to help people. something I'm learning about in my counseling class is the importance of defining boundaries with someone that you are trying to help. it's good to make it clear from the get-go that you are not their superhero and can not be there 100% of hte time for them. that has to do more with a psychologist/client type of a relationship though, so maybe its totally unrelated. anywho, have a great night and take it easy!

September 21, 2004 at 10:40 PM  

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