It has been a busy last few weeks. I try not to let the pace of things get out of hand. I do not see business as a virtue as I once did, but occasionally events can overtake us. I had let the deadline for writing Threshold’s Prayer Calendar sneak up on me just as I was consumed with our new project. I now have that writing in the rear-view mirror and am back!
I had an amusing thing happen last week. I had been invited to address a Bible Study about our new project. This was an ideal group for me to enlist because one of the key goals is to connect residents of Threshold House with the wider community. The men of this study are all retired. The years of serving with hammer and nail are past. They have though, the kind of wisdom that comes only with age. We feel we have a special place for them to build relationships with the younger men who would reside at Threshold House. Often addicts desperately need such fathers to help them to become useful and responsible citizens.
Allow me to interrupt this description of our 2nd story “Building Community” and interject my anecdote.
About 35 years ago I finally decided to “get with it”, all my evangelical friends were using the NIV (New International Version of the Bible) and though I liked my NAS (New American Standard Bible), I broke down and bought an NIV. That Bible has travelled over 100,000 miles and sat on hundreds of pulpits. It has travelled into prison and down alleys and streets. It now resembles a Red Green concoction. It is held together with layers of duct tape.
Last week I took this well travelled Bible with me to this study. An older gentleman asked to look at it and I handed it to him. It turns out that he too had a ‘duct tape Bible’ and he had mislaid it. He convinced himself that this was his Bible. He became more and more agitated about it and by the time I was ready to leave it was obvious that he would not take kindly to my leaving with ‘his’ Bible. Though I was particularly fond of that Bible (it seems to open up to the very passages I want) I knew I had a dozen Bibles at home, so I left the book for him and was able to depart in peace.
Over the next few days he found his Bible and his mortified wife arranged to get mine back to me. I hardly missed it but was happy to have it back. (I’m preaching this week and it has been a long time since I preached with another Bible). I was pleased with the opportunity that was presented to me, not to assert my rights but to show compassion. It is only true compassion if it costs me something.
Back to my 2nd Story “Building Community”. Threshold House will not just house people, the goal is to form a community of compassion, a community of Jesus followers. The idea of Community does not end at our door because people will not live their lives in Threshold House, they will be preparing to live their lives outside, in the wider community. It is our goal that each resident be connected to at least 8 people in the wider community. In arranging this we create a web, not a worldwide one but a local and personal one. People will take this web or network with them after their stay at Threshold House.
These are not one-way relationships. The individuals, groups and churches that form this intricate web will be enhanced as well!
We hope to have people from outside our Threshold House Community participate in our work and worship and our fellowship events. So that Threshold House becomes a hub in the web. With each new resident and with each new supporter the network grows, making it less and less likely that someone ‘slips between the cracks’.
Without this 2nd Story of Community, like a house built on sand, the whole edifice will fall.
To see Threshold House, succeed will require more than money (though it will require that). It will need people with a whole variety of gifts, people just like the gentlemen I met with last week.