I am thankful for so many things this year that they cannot all be possibly listed in this weeks blog. But there are several things that form atop my list, and surprisingly one of the first is that in this past year our ministry has helped bridge the gap between the church and the world of addiction recovery. Let me explain please.
In his book "Breathing Under water" Richard Rohr says this: "The similar messages between the two teachings assure me that we are dealing with a common inspiration from the Holy Spirit and from the same collective unconscious. In fact I am still convinced on the practical ("transformational") level, the Gospel message of Jesus and the Twelve Step message of Bill Wilson are largely the same message."
If anything in the past years of ministry has been a stumbling block, it has been in convincing the church in general that AA and the church can coexist even if the "God of their understanding" starts with a doorknob that opens a door to a meeting. This statement is only the first step in finding God which doesn't always start with understanding Jesus, who he really is and what incredible affect he had on the human race. It is the beginning of a spiritual awakening.
Fortunately both the North Atlanta and Campus Churches of Christ are exceptions to this and have come through big time in supporting recovery ministries that have been a very bright light in the very dark world of addiction. I am thankful they have understood this verse of scripture from the book of Romans:
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Certainly those of us who have overdosed, wasted our lives away and been a general disaster may be considered people of low position at one time or another. It took someone who believed in us who could be the hands, feet and very soul of God to help us overcome ourselves. I am thankful, most of all for two great men who helped save my life.
In everything I do, just below honoring the name of God come the names of Bill Long and Wayne Collins, two men who understood what Richard Rohr wrote about, I was underwater and needed a life preserver to float until the doorknob to their church opened the door through their teaching, mentoring and belief in me.
Across The Bridge will always be that ministry that reflects the loving, accepting and understanding nature of those two men and the two churches I have had the privilege of being a part of. They were my Bill W. and Doctor Bob.
Be thankful and remember those who helped us get where we are today!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.