Now Playing Tracks

A Conversation With My Non-Christian Mom About Being A Pastor.


My mom asks me what it’s like to be a pastor, and how hard it must be to get so involved with so many lives.  She says, “It has to be like living with a bunch of people all at once” — and that was probably the best description I’ve heard of ministry.

At one point my mom says, “Be careful though.  If you blow up just once, you’ll never be respected ever again.”  She said this was true in marriage, in parenting, in business, at home.

I had to disagree here.  I couldn’t believe in “You mess up one time and it’s over.”  My mom kept repeating, “No, when someone blows up on me one time, I cut them off and it’s done.  Because they’re showing me who they really are and they’re just a low-class nobody.”

So I tell her: “Mom, you know: I’ve hung out with people long enough to see them the moment after they blow up, that part when they regret what they said and wish they could take it back and want to re-do the whole thing all over again.  No one sees that part.  I see it all the time.  The look in their eyes, like they just want to punish themselves.  Their stammering confession.  The guilt.  This idea that they thought they were making progress, but suddenly they melted down, so they doubt that they’ve ever done anything good.  It kills them.  I talk to these same people at 3am and they can’t sleep because they think their life is over from their one mess-up, and they’re convinced that one time marks them forever.

"But the thing is that we’re all pretty crazy inside.  Seriously, I thought I was pretty crazy, but church people are really crazy.”  At this, my mom laughs.  “I mean we all are, more or less, you know.  There’s this thing that lives inside us that’s not really us.  I mean you see a person’s fault and flaws and they’re lashing out and everything” — and I sweep my hand to show a flat surface — “but underneath this is something very broken and hurting and needy” — and I make a fist to show a curled up soul below it all.  “There’s this back-story and upbringing and a long history behind their actions, and it doesn’t excuse what they did, but it’s an explanation.  If I can get there, and not attack where they messed up, then maybe they can change for the next thirty years.  Maybe we can break out of that pattern. 

"I mean I’ve said and done a lot of things I want to take back too: but I hope no one ever just writes me off for some tantrum I had when I was seven.  I’m sure you had some moment like that, but the people who love you didn’t hold it against you very long. Even if what we did is wrong, or we mess it up more than once, I don’t think anyone is beyond change or forgiveness or redeeming themselves.  I think God knows that too."

My mom nods, slowly.  Her face has changed a little.  She is seeing the stirrings of grace.

She gives me a long hug before I leave her place.  I think she is tearing up, or it’s just the street light.  She knows the person I used to be, that selfish horrible kid who threw things and used up people and cursed God at the top of my lungs.  She tells me, “I’m glad you have God.  If you can see people that way, then maybe God is good for something.”

I tell her, “I’m not always like that.  It’s hard.  But God understands that too.”

— J.S.


“She walks with a cane, but she runs with the champions.” Ninety-nine year old Ida Keeling set a record for the 100-meter dash at the Gay Games 9 held in Akron, Ohio earlier this month. The 4-feet-6, 83 pound Great-great-grandmother and mother of four began competitive running at 67 years old after dealing with the loss of her two sons less than three years apart. To beat her depression, Ida’s daughter, Shelley, urged her to participate in a 5K race. After Ida’s first race, running became her therapy. In addition to running, Ida goes to the gym twice a week and practices yoga regularly. We are inspired by Ida’s consistency and her dedication to optimal health. via Instagram


Class is in session!

4HNYC was beyond pleased to receive pictures from The Children of Haiti Project’s book bag distribution. A special thanks goes out to all of our supporters for their continuous support and generosity. As a result of your kindness, 4HNYC was able to sponsor 200 Kenbe La students in Port-au-Prince and Leogane, Haiti. Each student received a book bag filled with school supplies for the 2014-2015 school year.

Statistics tells us that 50% of primary school age children in Haiti are not enrolled in school, approximately 30% of children attending primary school will not make it to third grade, and 60% will abandon school before sixth grade. Currently, 37.9% of the Haitian population is unable to read or write (the rest of Latin America has a 12% illiteracy rate).

We at 4HNYC believe that every child deserves a chance to succeed regardless of their economical state. Thank you for also believing in our vision. We wish all of the students in Haiti a prosperous and successful academic year. Happy learning.

Kenbe La—- Never Give Up!



Interested in joining our movement, contact us via for more information. We look forward to hearing from you.

We make Tumblr themes