Pep Talk: “More Socially Nutritious”

August 27, 2017

Mark Tidd is co-pastor at Highlands Church in northwest Denver. A good dude with an awesome spirit. We’ve met a few times about the wellness movement A Stronger Cord and its potential neighborhood outreach value for the inclusive and warm faith-based community.

I’m in the crowd recently listening to him share an inspiring message about the challenging times America faces with its ever-growing issues of bigotry and hatred. The Boulder native was telling the story of Peter’s transformation from being shackled to such ill-advised beliefs. An attentive gathering heard Tidd share about two early followers of Jesus. They had different viewpoints. The Apostle Paul was adamant the Jewish carpenter’s spirit was free and available to all. Peter felt differently and believed an awesome but controversial spirit, starting with love and ending with self control, was exclusive to Jews. 
Well, legend has it that serious hunger pain, a crazy dream and obedience to new thought helped dismantle Peter’s first-century racism. Tidd’s a great storyteller. His sermon was perfect for these tenuous times and included this zinger about our nation’s need to find common ground. “We need to kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight.”

Amen dude.
While marinating on that powerful statement the mind wandered back almost three decades to the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas. It’s where a cherished television sportscasting career began as the weekend sports guy at KGBT-TV. The “Valley” is the American side of the Mexican/American border the Rio Grande River separates. Back then, the four counties along the border were allegedly the poorest in America. 95% of the population was Hispanic, half didn’t even speak English. Upon arriving there in 1986, this “Gringo” spoke no Spanish. What an educational experience.
I vividly remember doing a story on a family of eight living in a cardboard shack. The dilapidated structure had no running water or electricity. It was basically cardboard wrapped around two king-sized beds. Each parent slept with three kids. It has stuck in your knucklehead scribe’s cranium ever since. This was the United States of America and people lived in such desperate poverty and neglect? For a kid raised in the middle-class Midwest, a real eye opener. I know realize that moment was a spark to current passion for serving the isolated, vulnerable and displaced. In Tidd’s words, “Kick the darkness till it bleeds daylight.” We could use it.

How about us? Where could our time, talents and treasures be utilized to boot darkness to kingdom come?  A recent guest opinion in the Denver Post by Regis University President John Fitzgibbons validates Tidd, Saint Peter and encourages us to take action with these words: “We believe we can and will succeed in this difficult but sacred work because others have gone before us with challenges as big as ours, like Dr. King, who tell us our only choice is to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools.”
This week, let’s be smart and create of culture of encounter satisfying our nation’s hunger for something more socially nutritious.

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