|A few minutes before our recent Folk Fest concert, a lady whom I did not know approached me and said, “I’d like to ask you a question.” I told her to ask away and she snapped, “I want to know why you exclude handicapped people from your church.” |
Her question caught me totally off-guard, and to be honest, offended me. I do not appreciate being attacked, and I resent any implication that FCC folks are uncaring. Turns out she had attended our Christmas Carol sing-along in December and knew of someone with a disability who could not find a parking space in our lot that night. Evidently she had been stewing about it ever since because she admitted that she did not know of a similar incident at the Folk Fest.
Our exchange grew more and more tense and ended rather badly. I guess you should be prepared for someone in the community to tell you, “Hey, I hear your pastor yells at old ladies and hates handicapped people.”
As I thought about the incident, I realized what set me off. It was the way the lady framed her observation. She framed it as an assumption that I and this congregation do not care about people with disabilities. Knowing that not to be the case, I reacted negatively.
I probably would have responded better if she had said something like, “I’m glad to see that you now reserve your parking lot on Sundays for handicapped persons.
|Might I suggest you find a way to do the same for events like this?”
Perhaps then something constructive could have come from the
How you and I frame an issue is key to what we do about it. The assumptions with which we begin usually dictate how effectively we deal with a problem.
For example, take our current financial condition. Pledges are OK, but return on investments is way off. Yet, we passed the most challenging budget we have ever adopted (see Mark Hartwig’s article on page 3). How will we frame our response?
One option is to say, “Why are we setting ourselves up for failure?” But another option is to say, “How can we as a church, and I as an individual, trust God for the resources to accomplish the purposes God is calling us to do?”
Many in the church have pointed out that an extra $740 from 100 pledging units would eradicate our deficit entirely. How will we frame our response?
One option is to ask, “How am I supposed to afford $740 more this year?” But another option is to ask, “What can I do to find $2 per day that I could give to this church I love?”
It’s all in how you frame the issue. It’s a matter of the assumptions with which you begin. I wish I had remembered that when the lady confronted me the other night. I hope to do better next time. I hope to do better with stewardship this year too.