The past few mornings I have been up at the crack of dawn. I am an early riser by nature but my children… they beat me to it. If your children sleep in past 8AM in the morning you ought to consider it a blessing. My kids will be up anytime between 6 and 7am and if they make it to 7 I really feel like I slept in a bit. It’s not really a big deal for me but my husband is a night owl so trying to balance staying up later with him but having to get up so early with the kids is a rhythm I am still trying to figure out. With that said, the past few mornings have allowed a time for a nice walk through our neighborhood. When it’s 8am, everyone has been up for 2 hrs, breakfast has been served… what else is there to do but get outside?

I have not walked our neighborhood in a while so these past few days have been an interesting walk of discovery for me. We don’t live in an upscale community. It’s a very modest neighborhood. Dave and I love it here and we love our home. The home we live in is nicer than any home that Dave and I grew up in. We feel very blessed to have the house that we do. We made a few good decisions when buying our first home and when interest rates hit rock bottom a few years back we were able to sell that house invest in a much larger home for a very little house payment in comparison. We were just fortunate that all the cards played in our favor. Our neighborhood is governed by a covenant. We like this because it prevents eye sores or chain link fences going up around you. However on my walks it amazes me how many people are in violation of the covenant. It’s not just a few homes, it’s many. The thing about covenants is that it’s very black and white. There is a document that says exactly what you can and can not do. There is no gray area. But yet so many people want to live in the gray. It bothers me when there are issues that are black and white and people live in the gray. But it bothers me even more when the issue is Gray and people want to define it as black and white. Bet you did not see that twist coming!

It lead me to think about the generation that we live in. Especially Christianity and people who claim to be Christians. There are so many churches, people, Christians, that want to define a black and white covenant to issues that are gray and can’t be defined. Living in the bible belt we encounter this everyday. Churches in the south have a tendency to define major issues as black and white and leave people in a battle of choosing purity or sin. It’s such a shame. We are enslaving people through a bad theology instead of defining the gray issue and letting people live and draw their own lines based on there experiences and relationships with the Lord. Jesus dealt with this a lot as he constantly lived in the gray and had the Pharisees looking over him wanting him to define black and white and then persecuting him when he didn’t. Jesus hung out with ungodly people, He did things that made people question him, he healed on the sabbath, he changed water into wine, he ate and fellowshiped with people living in sin. This is like Christianity 101… most of you already know all of this. Sorry for the details.

All that to say.. I feel like am constantly aware of the black, white and gray.

Dave gets this a lot with the people and groups that he comes in contact with. Especially the youth of this generation. At most of the camps he does… there will no doubt be a question and answer time where Dave sits in the hot seat and trys to answer life questions that these kids have. It becomes interesting because a lot of these kids are from places that have defined issues as black and white. Dave and I.. well we live in the gray on a lot of issues. That is the way we live our life and in ways it’s part of our ministry to shed more gray in people’s lives. Not to be reckless but to take God seriously and enjoy the freedoms he has given us with life and to trust our relationship with him and the holy spirit on what is right for us. Of course in teens lives it all comes down to about three questions that are asked every time. “How far is too far?, Is drinking alcohol wrong?, How do I deal with mean people? I love how Dave answers these questions. Especially when you have a baptist minister standing over you wanting you to define it as right and wrong. And Dave always comes back to the gray. Telling students that there are a lot of gray area’s in Christianity that can not be defined in black and white and that you need to walk in that grey in your relationship with the Lord and define your own lines with Him. (I really wish someone presented those thoughts to me while growing up. When I would live in the gray on issues… which I thought were black and white, I felt like such a sinful person. When really… looking back, it was not sin at all. I feel like I missed out on a greater impact on people because I was so chained to my own struggle of disapointment.) There is a lot more that goes into answering that but I’ll leave it there just to make my point. And let me preference…. There are many many issues that are black and white… take the 10 commandments as some of them. Don’t steal, covet, honor your father and mother, etc… so I’m not trying to say do whatever you want. Hopefully you know what I was trying to say. Just focusing on the Gray thing right now.

I am trying to think how that has played out in our lives. Dave and I are definitely trying to be more missional. We both grew up with a very black and white influence in our lives. Daring to live in the gray has brought about much freedom. It’s not always easy because there will always be those people in our life who will question us when they see us doing something that for them is still defined as black and white. Much like with Jesus there are probably people that look at us and play the Pharisee role. We don’t care.

So back to our neighborhood. Who ever thought that a few days of walking around our hood would bring me to reflect on the spiritual journey’s we have been on. Or more so.. .I have been on.