Monday, May 8, 2017

The New Guy - Foundations

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock."  -Jesus of Nazareth

As Jesus spoke these words he was standing near the sea of Galilee.  This analogy was understood well because the sand ringing that lake was rock hard during the hot summer.  But a wise builder would dig down as far as ten feet below the surface sand to the bedrock, knowing that this was the only way to erect a foundation able to withstand the winter rains, which were notoriously torrential and capable of causing disastrous flooding.

Hi!  I'm the new guy!  As I sit here I am finishing off my third week here at Habitat for Humanity of Marion County.  I've worked within the non-profit world for the past 8 years.  Most of that time was in sunny southern California but some of that has been here in Iowa.  One of the things I've observed in that time is that the foundation of those who work in this field deeply effects their impact within this field.  Someone can do all the right things and say exactly what the people around them want to hear but as time goes on and the weather of life wears on them it comes down to the foundation they are standing on that determines their impact.  Discovering the right foundation in most cases takes digging, and not just a little digging.  You have to dig deep in order to find a pre-existing rock or boulder capable of building on.

My Foundation - I would be lying if I didn't state plainly that I have spent a lot of time and energy digging to discover my foundation.  One truth I have learned is I have little control over the bedrock I uncovered after all that digging.  All I could do is discover what it is.   There is little about that foundation that I can build to my liking, it had already been built hundreds and thousands of years ago.  My job is to build upon that pre-designed bedrock. I suppose that's part of being in submission to a Savior.  Finding a place here at Habitat has been a result of submitting to that design.  I was designed to build capacity and build community among those within arms-reach.  My design requires me to be in regular relationship with those whose lives I wish to impact.

Living into that foundation is about making a place for those who otherwise might not feel welcome.  It's about grace, hospitality, and sincere friendship.  It's about loving my neighbor as myself and advocating for the poor and disenfranchised.  By doing those things I express my love for my God.  Don't get me wrong though, I have no plans to force these ideas of mine onto you.  I will not treat you any different depending on how you build on the foundation you have found or created for yourself.  Sincerely, I just want to be someone who welcomes you and speaks to you in a combination of truth and grace.

Habitat's Foundation - Habitat for Humanity also has foundations.  Foundations I truly appreciate.  In the span of 20 years some deeply inspiring things have taken place.  Likewise to my personal foundation there is little anyone can do to build the foundation to their liking.  It has already been built.  It's about helping those who would otherwise not be able to get a traditional home loan get a home and doing it in a way that they thrive as home owners.  Thriving as a new home owner and experiencing things for the first time requires great quantities of grace and truth.

This Blog's Foundation - I hope you see a theme here.  We are all building on something and I wanted to make sure you knew the sentiment which will serve as this blog's foundation.  Grace, truth, and hope.

Grace and truth aren't new terms for anyone.  Separately they are well understood.  When used together they always birth HOPE.  Unfortunately, hope can sometimes be a rare commodity.  For those in search, I welcome you to come find what you're searching for here at Habitat for Humanity in Marion County.

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