Though I have many dear friends that are United Methodist and love many of the teachings of Methodism, I hate the United Methodist Church. I hate the unity at all costs mentality. I hate the silence. I hate the caution. I hate the ists and isms that the denomination perpetuates. I could go on all day. So, let me make it very clear…this is no puff piece.
Sitting at a United Methodist divinity school (Emory) while pursuing one of my graduate degrees, I heard these words, “I would lose my job!!!” I will never forget the disgust that boiled in my stomach. Such words came in response to our professor pushing us to think about what it would be like to open the doors of our future churches to those who had nowhere else to go. Not surprisingly, my classmate is now the pastor of a large United Methodist church. I’m sure the Bishop loves him.
With little thought, churches consistently lock their doors on the coldest nights of the year. During that time, people often freeze to death in our streets. Let me rephrase, Jesus freezes to death in our streets. What you have done to the least of these… There is no Jesus after that. Jesus froze to death.
In the last few days, I have been overwhelmed and surprised by the actions of Oak Lawn United Methodist Church here in Dallas. Led by their courageous pastor, Rev. Rachel Baughman, and an equally courageous staff, Oak Lawn has unlocked their doors. With a reckless love for Jesus, the church is providing places to sleep for the most vulnerable people in our community. Encouraging people to rest on fancy chairs from days gone by, Oak Lawn is forgetting about their possessions in order to remember love. The people of Oak Lawn are being real Christians. Why are they one of the only ones?
Churches need to get saved. Churches need to unlock their hearts. Churches need to give a shit about Jesus. If they don’t know where to go, they need to head on over to Oak Lawn.
They’ll find Jesus sleeping on a cot.