Raquel and I talked about reaching out to the fringes of society. It was fun to talk with others about our experiences and to tell our story. We started innocently enough as youth workers, but things got crazy soon enough. Both of us came from some interesting groups. I was running around with a bunch of crazy punk rockers as a teenager. I started Portuguese bull fighting in High School. I was on the wrestling team, (a fringe group if ever there was one). Raquel had a lot of friends with issues. She also hung around with a lot of punk rockers. When we were left to ourselves to form a youth group almost from scratch, well, we sort of gravitated to these kinds of people.
Throughout our ministry we have been drawn to those that don't exactly fit in.
A few of things that I think must be remembered when reaching out to these kinds of people are:
You don't have to look like them to be accepted by them
You don't have to have a "special calling"
You do have to spend more time proving your trustworthyness
You do have to be willing to have them in your home, at your table, and with your friends
You must be willing to be hurt
After years of reaching out to people on the fringe I have realized that they really are no more on the fringe than many of us. They just have determined a way to identify with each other that you or I may not understand. But we all want to belong, we all want to feel part of something bigger than ourselves, we all want to be loved and accepted no matter how ugly we find ourselves. How many of the nicely dressed, middle class, perfect people want the same thing? I would say all of us. We are all wounded, we all want to be loved, we all have a desire for something transcendant in our lives. Perhaps some are just a bit more honest in their lack of completion.
Anyways we had some great conversation, and I hope those of you who came were blessed.