Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Free Fish

One of the things I do to give back to society is moderate a Freecycle list. Freecycle was founded a few years ago as a way to keep stuff out of landfills. The basic philosophy is summed up nicely by "One man's trash is another's treasure."

It's wildly popular with tens of thousands of groups all over the world. The items posted as "needs" or "wants" are very varied with anything from couches to chinchllas beig offered and given away for free.

Today, a local lady offered Bob.

Bob may well be a Baptist. I'll let you read her description and decide.

I have a med sized(about 7-8 inches) oscar named Bob...my
other fish seem to like to beat him up, so I need to find
him a new home. He needs a large fish tank and
unfortunately he will eat anything that could fit into his
mouth so no smaller tank mates!

So Bob has needs, has been hurt before, and will devour others if given half a chance.


The absolute hardest thing in my opinion for a pastor to do is to keep a church healthy. That means to keep the "Bobs" from getting beat up, and keep "Bob" from acting out of his disfunctional past and eating someone else alive. Notice in the post that "Bob" ideally needs a large fish tank all to himself. I've known people like that.

How to cope?

First - model kindness and compassion. It may be that you don't have the gift of mercy. Fine, but you can make a pretty good imitation for short periods. Do it. Step out of the comfort zone and care.
Second - model conflict resolution and teach how to resolve disagreements Biblically. That's going to mean that you don't let things go until they boil, but you proactively call people to work it out. Accept nothing else. The biggest mistake I've ever made in pastoring was thinking "it will work out."

There are millions of people like "bob" out there - hurting and.. hurtful. Our job is to help them change into the image of Christ. Probably still wouldn't trust them near baby Christians for a while though.




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