Ten minutes into the conversation, I said, "So I think this is what I'm hearing: You disagree with the speaker. He said to be a Christian is to have a relationship with God. You're saying to be a Christian is to be a good person." Heads nod, mmmmhmmmm. Oh dear. The dominant speakers of the group went on to discuss in super-religious terms how it's all about what you do and whether you're meeting "the standard." Our druggie neighbor did a great job of interrupting and arguing, but other than that, there weren't a lot of dissenting parties.
It's okay. I think this is why Alpha is 10 weeks instead of 3. It was hard letting them go without correcting them, but I have hope in this particular way of bringing people alongside and letting them watch over time, discovering for themselves rather than just being spoon-fed again. When they all left, Sierra, Tim and I just laughed. What was that? A group of people dead set on refusing the liberating truth that you aren't all that great of a person, God knows it (and you do too on one level), and He Himself has made a way for you. They'd rather not be accepted, received, liberated, empowered, caught up in a new life. They'll just focus on being decent people and making sure they don't steal or at least not very often.
If you're ever going to find freedom around here, it's going to be in Jesus. You'll find a lot of small-town nonsense in Puerto Supe (judgment, criticism, gossip, inescapable reputations, hypocrisy) and nothing that looks like freedom. They're taking their grudges to the grave. The only place I'm finding acceptance and forgiveness is in the good news that brought me here. Jesus is the one offering freedom from condemnation and this moral rat race we're stuck in.
Thank you for your prayers. I feel strangely encouraged tonight and I can't imagine why. We had a great turnout, and our druggie neighbor brought along his cousin. He in particular has been a gift to us recently. Pray for him. I'm pretty sure something remarkable is going on in that heart of his. The chicken pot pie was tasty (although Tim still argues we added too much cayenne) and was portioned perfectly. Now there's a miracle if I ever saw one!