An old man once told me to never talk about religion or politics. He said they both are loaded topics. Regardless of what you say, you are going to upset somebody. Although you may never hear me speak about politics, I did not completely take his advice. I speak daily about religion. More specifically, I speak about how Christianity and the belief that there is higher power affect the healing process for the children in our care.
Crossnore’s Christian history.
I am sometimes asked if we are connected to any particular church or denomination. The answer is a complicated yes and no. Crossnore is not denominational. But we do have a relationship with the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church that goes back more than 100 years. We are not a church but do have chapels on both campuses. Like I said, a complicated yes and no.
For the first time, I was recently asked, “What does it mean for Crossnore to be a Christian organization?” I think about that question almost daily. I wrestle with how I can do what I have been called to do. My job is to offer Christ to the kids we serve at a Christian agency that operates in a growing secular world. But, I have never had someone else ask.
What it means for us today.
Knowing that I was writing this blog post about the question, that these words would be speaking for the agency on this day, I did the smart thing and texted Brett Loftis, CEO of Crossnore Communities for Children. I sent a simple text asking what does it mean for us to be a Christian organization? He immediately sent me several scripture verses he uses when he thinks of Crossnore as a Christian organization. One verse in particular stuck out to me. It is written in Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
These words resonate with my soul. As a Christian organization, we seek to follow the example of Christ who sought justice for the voiceless, loved the marginalized and broken, and walked humbly among the powerful.
Do justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly.
I guess that old guy was partially wrong because I do not see anything complicated or controversial about it. Scripture tells us and Christ’s example shows us that we are to do justice to all. Not just those who believe like we do or agree with us or that we like. Ensuring that the kids in our care get the services they need and live in a safe environment is a just cause. It’s a cause that fulfills what we as Christians are asked to do.
It’s not complicated or controversial to love kindness. Again, there are no parameters around being kind. Treating the children we serve with compassion and gentleness is kind. Respecting their backgrounds, beliefs, and practices, as well as the parents’, who gave them life, is kind. To me, practicing kindness should be easy for us as Christians.
Finally, we are to walk humbly with our God, just as Jesus did. The only way I can see to do that is to do the first two things: do justice and love kindness. Does it mean I respect a child who has a different belief system than mine? Yes. Does it mean that I accept the child who makes different life choices than I would make? Yes. Does it mean I can’t talk to them about Jesus? No. But I do it with the humility of someone who doesn’t have all the answers and trusts the God who does.
Creating true sanctuary, simply.
How can we be an organization founded on Christian principles and practice a Christian faith tradition when the children and families we serve are not all Christians? As guided by these Biblical principles and our mission statement, we provide a sanctuary of hope and healing for children and families. We work to build a culture that values the dignity and needs of every individual, whether children, birth parents, foster parents, staff, or volunteers.
In a phrase, we do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly before God.