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GAIL WHITE When angels (or people) knock, who will get the door?



Published: Fri, August 30, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



They say two things never to talk about are politics and religion.

I have learned how volatile at least one of those topics can be from my column that ran two weeks ago called, "Have church folks forgotten meaning of love?"

The letters and e-mails continue to pour in for and against my comments.

I have found even the negative responses encouraging. Without passion, nothing will change.

I wrote about a young man who sought refuge in a church after a fight with his father. Instead of ministering to this man -- and his father -- this church locked its doors and called police.

My question still remains: If the church does not exist to help people in need, why does it exist? Perhaps, with a little counseling, this young man's life could have been changed.

Open up

The Bible teaches that every one of us will be called to give an account to God of our life here on earth. Do you want to be the one who must explain why the door was locked? Or, do you want to be the one who opened it and shared your heart and your things with someone in need and perhaps even "entertained angels" without knowing it?

I received an e-mail from a woman explaining that a homeless man has wandered in and out of her church for four years. There is a school in the church, and the man is often found in the children's restroom, which greatly frightens the children.

This story is as ridiculous as the one I recounted. Three years and 11 months ago, this man should have been counseled by the leaders of this church.

Talk to him, minister to him, love him. Do not let him wander in and out of the bathroom with small children.

For the safety of the children, the man should be removed from this setting.

Perhaps a church member could open his or her home to him, or he may need to be referred to an agency. Hopefully, it will be one focused on his eternal well-being.

All of this, done out of love -- for the children and the man.

Held accountable

On the topic of children, it seems that my comments have upset many in the Catholic Church.

I assure you, if ministers, rabbis, pastors or preachers from any religious faction were found to be molesting young children and hiding the molesters, I would be equally disgusted.

Spiritual leaders are held to a higher accountability. I shudder to think what the "final reward" will be for these perpetrators and those who protected them.

They have ruined the lives of thousands and brought shame to one of the world's great religions.

I have gone to church my entire life. I have not found one that is perfect. If I ever do, I will have to leave because I am not perfect.

It is quite comfortable to sit in my seat, listen to a good sermon and go home. I am called to do more. We are all called to do more.

As a mother, I have found joy in "bringing my children up in the way that they should go."

As a Sunday school teacher, I have cherished the prayers of 5-year-olds with bowed heads and folded hands.

As a neighbor and friend, I have considered it a pleasure to fill my car with children for a church event.

I may never change the world, but I hope to leave my corner a better place.

Friend in need

One e-mail I received told of a man delivering potatoes.

"Where do you want them?" he asked the clerk.

"Over there," she pointed, never looking up from reading her Bible and watching the 700 Club.

The man struggled in the rain getting the potatoes through the door, slipping and sliding on the wet floor.

The "religious" clerk sat.

"When you get to the part about helping your fellow man, let me know," the man said.

We're back to the door again. Why is it so hard to open?

Better go check; chances are, someone is knocking.

gwhite@vindy.com




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