The Man in the Van

Someone posted a “Christian” meme today. It was meant as humor – no ill will intended – but it struck me as humor of the judgmental. Humor of the log-eyed.  You can decide for yourself:

not that funny

The blogger – a decent guy – captioned it with a “Yep.”

I would have captioned it with a “Nope.”

But it did remind me of something good and noble.

There is a man (I don’t know who he is yet) who picks up a van load of people from various locations around the city every Sunday morning and brings them to church.  Because they cannot get to church on their own.

He was sick yesterday and people were counting on him.

So he picked them up, delivered them to church and then waited for them in the van while they partook of the two hour service. So he wouldn’t spread his germs.

Shortly after the pastor began to preach, he remembered to call the man in the van and then he laid his cell phone on the lectern so the man could listen to the sermon.

“God’s sick servant deserves to at least hear the message.”

Everyone cheered.

As the pastor preached his interesting, challenging and inspiring sermon, I could hear intermittent hacking – sometimes prolonged, uncontrolled hacking – coming from the cell phone.

Bless his hacking heart.

Today, as I read the cartoon, I wondered three things:

  1. Would God say, “Since you listened to church in a van on a cell phone…”?
  2. Would the man in the van type, “Yep”?
  3. Will we ever stop judging those in whose shoes we’ve never walked?




13 thoughts on “The Man in the Van

  1. Judgement. I hate it.

    If you’d read my blog for a while, you may have read “Confessions” last fall. I posted that I don’t go to church when Ron is out of town. It’s too hard. I cry. Don’t want to go alone. Still raw from Andrew’s death. Etc.

    Anyway, it amazes me that no one. Not one person from our small church ever called to check on me that first year. They would see me for weeks, but no one checked. Did they judge me? I don’t know. If they thought about me at all, then probably they did judge. They should have reached out instead.

    How many miss church for reasons we can’t understand unless we ask them? Love and compassion rather than judgement are needed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “How many miss church for reasons we can’t understand unless we ask them? Love and compassion rather than judgement are needed.”

      Amen. Thank you for sharing Kathleen. May we all reach out, may we all ask, may we all be less smug.

      Liked by 1 person

      • BTW. We left our church of more than seven years. We had been very active in all areas of the church. Our kids had all been involved in the youth group.

        No calls, texts, or emails from staff after the funeral. Not one call to check on us. We left for other reasons, but the lack of support and compassion in our darkest times tipped the scale.

        We were gone more than six months when one Sunday a couple of folks told our adult daughter that they’d been thinking of us and hadn’t seen us in a few Sunday’s. A few?! Six months! We’d been gone six months and they hadn’t noticed. Wow!

        Liked by 2 people

        • That’s very sad. And such a shame. I’m sorry it was your experience. I’ve experienced it, too, though not under such heartbreaking circumstance.

          Many churches still shoot their wounded, others are so focused on being the biggest and most fabulous that they aren’t even aware of the needs of the individuals who come looking for rest Jesus intended.

          The church we are attending now puts a wonderful focus on ministering to the flock and I am grateful that such churches still exist.


          • Me, too!

            We joined a much larger church across town. A few thousand members. Big, but with huge hearts for lost and broken. They support the local homeless ministries with time, food, and volunteers. They have a wonderful outreach to the military. Dozens of families are fostering children. Many are adopting from the filter system. They minister to single parents, divorced, addicts, and even folks like me.

            Many who did can for us in the aftermath attend this church. Their loving care is part of why we switched.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I think that blogger isn’t indicting all people who miss out on church due to illness/work/shut-in/heartache etcetera. I can’t tell you how many services we missed when our children were small due to sickness and how many sermons I’ve listened to on podcast when I couldn’t make it to services.

    I think that the judgement was on people who feel like they have no need or desire for fellowship with other believers. Maybe I assume too much.

    I think it’s important to let people know they are missed and loved when they’re not there. God knows where their heart is, I don’t.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Elihu. I don’t think that blogger is indicting all people, either. But even intended solely for those who have no need or desire for fellowship, it is judgmental. It judges the in- person attenders as more righteous than those who attend remotely.

      If someone is avoiding fellowship, perhaps it is because they need to take a break from self-righteousness.

      If so, love and patience, would be the proper response, not more judgment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Julie!

    Love you my sister!

    I case anybody doesn’t know. It was me me me me!

    Actually some really great point have been raised here. There are people who, for whatever perfectly valid reason, can’t attend church live and in person. Heck, I have watched a preaching on my phone a few times when I have traveled due to simple inability to find a church on the road.

    Some folks said some things I found disturbing and a great shame.

    @Kathleen, I am sorry nobody came looking for you. I am the self appointed sheep dog of our flock. If you step out to use the bathroom I will probably follow you to make sure you make it back ok. Well, not really, but you can get the point. Something similar happened to me when I was a young teenager. One day I just quit showing up, and not a single grown up ever came to find out why. Thus began many years of a Godless life.

    Elihu did have it correct. Again, if one who simply can’t make it due to life was offended, I am sorry. If somebody who just wants to golf or fish instead of being in God’s House is offended…well, not so much.


    Liked by 1 person

    • ” I am the self appointed sheep dog of our flock.” That’s wonderful, Wally. Every flock needs at least one.

      However, I doubt any amount of cartooning and guffawing at such cartoons is going to bring anyone in off the golf course. So it’s kind of counterproductive. Love you too, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Julie, you know I would love this article. You just have a way of tasking my mind. I can understand that feeling Kathleen, but thank God He’s so different from us and cares for us even when we want to be left alone.

    That not-noticing-someone-has-been-gone-for-long-and-not-caring-to-constantly-check-on-people is everywhere. The sad part, is even your friends are sometimes too busy attending to life that it passes by.

    @Julie, I love what the Pst did just so the ill parishoner would share in the word. The cartoon has its moments.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Much to my shock, Terry and I rarely attend evening services these days. I’ve always enjoyed the more relaxed evening service, usually full of great music and a more family-oriented message. But it’s a 40 minute drive, and neither of us sees very well in the dark these days.

    Maybe people judge us, but if they do it’s because they’re rule-bound and they haven’t asked. We just try not to judge them back 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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