Rustlings (September 3, 2014)

HOMEWORK…is being assigned now that a new academic year is in full swing. Elementary school children are putting worksheets in their binders, middle and high school students are engaging the initial steps of projects and university students are digging into the requirements of syllabi and reading lists. Homework is intended to do one of two things – reinforce what we have learned or expand the parameters of what we have learned. It has been my observation that those who do their homework are typically better prepared for subsequent classes and exams. Not always my experience, but certainly my observation…

HOMEWORK…is rarely part of a church congregation’s life. At times, small study groups or discipleship groups will be given assignments that extend beyond the scope of a meeting. But congregations as a whole are not accustomed to receiving a syllabus. Well…I’d like to give you some homework. It will reinforce some things you already know and also expand the parameters of your present experience. I would like for every church member – from our youngest youth to our oldest adult – to read Father Gregory Boyle’s book Tattoos on the Heart. It is an incredible reflection of Father Boyle’s work among the most gang-dominated streets of East Los Angeles, California. Nothing in the book seems relevant to First Baptist Greenville…and everything in this book is relevant to First Baptist Greenville. I promise you will laugh, cry, thin and be inspired. In October, I will be leading a four week discussion on the book. Three different times will be offered each week for you to attend a discussion session: Sunday morning, weekday lungh and a weekday evening. Hopefully everyone will be able to fit one of these into their schedule. But even if you cannot attend a discussion session, please read the book.

Now it’s back to school. Go to the bookstore, buy your book and do your homework. I’ll see you in class in October…

— Jim