Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Waiting. Around. Some more.

Time creeps by when you have announcements to make and vacations to take and can't yet make the one nor take the other. Hence, my waiting...to post, and to everything else. Oh, we've managed to find a way to while away the hours, what with moving all our furniture under the covered patio, since we're stripping the bedroom floors to refinish them (what goofhead paints hundred-year-old yellow pine floors white?). I'm teaching intro to philosophy in summer term, which is busy pretty much every day.

Meanwhile, we have ended up with a missionary family lifestyle after all: last week, Beth was in North Carolina on a summer mission trip, Jonathan was in Seattle for freshman orientation, and Dawn was in Boston for a nursing conference. I should have gone to San Diego just to make our geographic dispersion complete.

And still I'm waiting...

Friday, June 02, 2006

What Dawn Did, pt. 2: Community Ministry

Way way back, in the 1990s...

Dawn tried to figure out how to start a community ministry out of Lower Greenville. Her model, to the extent that she had one, was Church of the Savior in Washington, D.C. She had first gotten into a program in spiritual direction with Tilden Edwards in Maryland. The only people to supervise or offer her camaraderie in this locally were Ben Beltzer at Interfaith Housing and a guy named Howard Hovdee (sp?) down at HEB grocery store's Christian retreat center in the Hill Country called Laity Lodge. So this was hard to do long distance. The idea came to her of focusing instead on using her medical training in some local ministry outside of her labor and delivery job.

She investigated what was already going on in east Dallas, so that we could either join something already in progress or at least not duplicate services. She found that there was a need for a safe house for meds. That is, people would be discharged from hospitals with medications prescribed for them that required taking on a rigorous schedule, or refrigeration, or needle injection. Among the homeless or minimally housed, however, all three of these were problems (the last because of theft and sharing pressure).

So she set about trying to get a house where some of us could live, providing secure storage for perishable meds and street-valuable drugs and needles; maybe some transition beds; and on-site medical competence. Several things kept this from becoming a reality. First and foremost I was not terribly cooperative, let alone genuinely supportive. I wanted it to happen, but for it not to impact us (I meant me) very much. I did not want to move in, for instance. Second, we could not get funding and organizational issues up and running. Third, it looked like regulatory problems were going to arise--zoning, medical licenses, and so forth. These are what I remember, although I could be mistaken about some of it.

Yet some very good things came out of it. Several people have told us that being in the working group with Dawn on that community (ministry) house was transformative for them. For one in particular, a guy named Paul, whom I'll just call "Paul" here, it was important. His wife was a Christian but he was not. He was getting all he could handle in apologetics from Vince and others in Lower Greenville, but it was when he got involved in the ministry house group that things came together. One evening after the group finished meeting, he got up and came over to Dawn and me and said, hey, I think this is cool, something I really want to be part of. But if I'm going to be part of a Christian thing, shouldn't I be a Christian? How does that work? And we stepped into the meditation room, where Paul got together with Jesus.

Dawn has supported my ministry, our ministry, and the ministry of others. Much good has come from it. Imagine what would happen if she were supporting--and I and others were supporting--her own ministry...