Note: Doug Brendel and I have been friends now for nearly forty years. He’s one of the smartest, kindest people I know. He might also be the bravest. For years now, he and his wife have been traveling to Belarus to minister to people. His newest book is called, “Why I Quit the Church.” I asked him to share a post with us, and I think you’ll be impressed by what you read. Doug’s honesty comes through, shining like a star atop a Christmas tree. His words will help remind all of us to think beyond the simplicity of making purchases, and to move closer to the real spirit of this amazing season.
Want to win a copy of Doug’s book? Comment on this post. I’ll choose one lucky commenter to win a copy of “Why I Quit the Church,” a sometimes humorous, but always honest memoir of Doug’s personal journey to find the right church for him.–Joanna Campbell Slan
By Doug Brendel
The Christmas Eve that changed my life was not a starry night. It was a grim, gray morning.
Some guy named Mike and his pals had been feeding homeless people in the park every Saturday morning. But that year, Christmas Eve fell on Saturday; Mike’s pals were out of town. He asked our pastor if our church could help.
I was the associate pastor. If Pastor said yes, I was stuck.
“Say no!” my heart screamed.
Pastor said yes.
I was afraid.
I had never encountered a homeless person in my life.
They must be dangerous.
I was a skinny nerd with a paunch.
I had suburbia written all over me.
These people weren’t going to take breakfast from me. They were going to eat my lunch.
That frigid morning, we scrambled dozens of eggs, made gallons of coffee, loaded serving tables into a pickup, drove to the park