Yesterday our proposal for funding to create a large scale "Kindness Project" in Brantford was rejected. There were a number of understandable practical reasons for the rejection that I entirely get. But the major sticking point remains... that Freedom House is a Christian Ministry Center.
It's an interesting feeling to create something that is already so positive in the community (the funding board acknowledged that they were "very aware" of our work and we should keep it up) but when the request for backing comes... to be rejected primarily because of an active association with Jesus Christ.
Understand me here... I get it. Funding folks and other leaders have to make tough decisions and the fact that so many are proposing projects for funding to make our city a better place is AMAZING! I bless my city and it's leaders. But this project's only mention of "church" was the fact that it should be included with government, business, education, non-profits and individuals... mutually coming together to serve, invest in and prosper each other to create a robust, fully functioning city.
That... AND the fact that we ARE a community fueled by our faith in Jesus. That was enough to make it unsafe to politically touch... in this case at least. I believe others have more courage. I believe that because of this speed bump, others will rise up and help "The Kindness Project" in a larger sense to get off the ground. Communities NEED the participation and empowerment of "Faith based" groups. Why would you NOT want to release people motivated to change their city BY good INTO good?
The issue is Christ. It's not a new issue for Him either. I'm sure somewhere people are thinking, "It would be way easier if they were hard-working, visionary, motivated, civic-minded people... who didn't think that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. THAT makes it SO tricky." It really does. No argument there.
In Psalms 118:22 says:
22 The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;
It's a very important prophetic verse about how Jesus would be seen, treated and function on earth. It's brought up again and again in the gospels and Acts as "the church" (that we're now a part of) dealt with the intensity of the goodness of Jesus. So good that as King of the Earth... He'd die for OUR petty screwups and flaws. He was SO good and His claim of King was SO controversial that he had to be put to death by the powers that be. What was their choice? The good folks in the book of Acts experienced very similar rejection on their mission... due to the Christ factor... while they went about doing good.
God IS good. In the active definitive sense. We do good as motivated by God, and communicate Him via it... because it IS Him. And it's fascinating that a project that simply strives to facilitate and co-ordinate "Kindness" is marked as risky simply because of an association with Jesus. Powerful. Actually... quite invigorating!
As they encouraged us to... we will continue to grow. It will just be slower. But we'll continue to RAK neighborhoods in town. We'll work with CAS to develop kindness-based housing transformation plans. We'll continue to encourage elementary schools. We'll again present a free winter carnival. Captain Kindness will continue to be at any event he's invited to (and many he's not) spurring ideas about how to change Brantford BY good INTO good. It will just be slower.
But what also won't change, is the fact that the God who created the universe... is our motivating factor. His name and renown are the desire of my soul. It's not ALWAYS about proselytizing as many are concerned about. It's about being motivated by a good GOOD God to show His love to the world in a practical way.