Magalie Toussaint is an almost three year old girl from Haiti who is visiting with us for a few weeks. She lives in the hill country of northern Haiti. Evelyn Boyd of Haskell Texas discovered Magalie shortly after she was born with a tumor between her eyes. Evelyn connected Magalie with Roberta Edwards, a missionary in Port au Prince, Haiti, who in turn told Charlene about her. It is a longish story which I will probably tell in a later post, but Charlene was able to get the world famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, to agree to take the tumor off for free. Roberta, Charlene and others got all the complicated paper work together to get the visa and Charlene flew to Port au Prince last week to bring her here. Kim Meredith flew here with them and plans to return for the surgery. I intend to chronicle her visit here. Stay tuned.
I delivered Charlene to the airport this morning for her 6:30 flight to Haiti. In the security line ahead there was a young man wearing a t-shirt with the words "100 proof chaos" on the back. If he had not been inaccessible I might would have asked him about it.
The term "100 proof" stems from the days when sailors were paid in rum. To test whether the rum had been watered down, they would ignite it. If it would burn, it was considered 100 proof. Rum wil burn at about 50 percent alcohol. So "100 proof" means about 50% of the possible strength.
So the young man was telling the world he was in a state that was about half chaos, meaning "a state lacking order or predictability" or a "state of confusion."
Isn't that where the church is today? About half of what we do is highly predictable. We show up on Sunday morning and often the format is exactly as we would have laid it out, based on our experience with having been there before. So at the congregational level we are highly predictable. But across groups of people trying to follow Jesus we are chaotic. One group endorses the practice of homosexuality, another condemns it. One group has women in major speaking roles, another prohibits it. One group insists on baptism for membership, another does not. One group acts on their concern for the poor, another does not.
It would not be a proud label to place on the church, but might be an accurate one. How can we change it? By loving one another anyway, by getting to know each other better, and through dialog. Let's keep talking.
Okay, I've been putting this off for about three years, in part because I'm not so good at keeping up with daily stuff. But mainly, I don't have a theme. Is it unreasonable to believe that the theme will just grow out of the writings? I do know that some of this will be about the church, because I care a lot about the church and I tend to write about it. But there are other things I care about as well. I love my family and really like to write about them. And I am deeply concerned for the rights of the poor. We have good friends in Haiti and I like to tell Haiti stories. I tend to think about my life as all these things lumped into one big homogenized lump - integrated, you might say. And it is really hard for me to compartmentalize my thinking, much less my writing.
So why don't you follow along and let's see what comes out?