We all live there. And, serve there.
Manic Heights isn't such a bizarre neighborhood. As a descriptive of American life it isn't meant to be negative or pessimistic, or used in some dooms-day woe-is-me scenario. To live in Manic Heights doesn't mean that we're one-flew-over-the-cuckoos-nest wacky or on a express bus to the funny farm. In fact, if the people who study and research such things are right, Manic Heights is just another new normal community. I mean, get real for a minute---
a majority of Americans are frantically busy
anxiety marks the personal boundaries of most American citizens
we keep the doors to our houses locked most of the time
a majority of us are on-again, off again spiritually
one in eleven families rents storage space for their accumulation of stuff
stress relief is a major medical and pharmaceutical industry
50,000,000 Americans eat one meal at a fast-food restaurant every day
we have a corporate level of attention deficit and lack focus and lack focus
one third of us are sleep deprived, running on empty most of the time
Just to mention a few. They're just snap-shots of a population living on the edge.
Manic Heights interruption:
While writing this Monday afternoon, sirens were heard throughout our community,
near a major thoroughfare through North Charleston. Helicopters flew immediately
overhead, back and forth many times, very low. Police officers with scent dogs walked
down the street behind our condo. Police cruisers followed slowly. Our neighbor just
drove in and related that all of the entrances of an apartment complex across the street
have been yellow taped. At least thirty police cars have responded along with EMS units.
Early reports are that a family was assaulted in the complex and the police are looking
for the unsub (only people who live in Manic Heights know the meaning of unsub). I'm
thinking, Manic Heights indeed.
Jesus, the Apostles, his followers, and early church believers lived in Manic Heights too.
They ministered and served in a time when humans chased after material things (Matthew 6:32), became entangled in human pursuits (2 Timothy 2:4), sought the approval of men rather than God (John 12:43; Galatians 1:10), and practiced the acts of the flesh with relish (Galatians 5:19). First century people were anxious (Matthew 6:25); hurried (Mark 6:31); aimless and frantic (Matthew 9:36); confused (Acts 19:32);
uncertain about the future (Philippians 1:6); contentious (Luke 11:17); envious, boastful, and proud (1 Corinthians 13:4); and 66 books of depraved human nature.
Jesus went into that world with a redemptive mission that he finished (John 19:30). He introduced truth, grace, faith, hope, peace, and joy to the people in Manic Heights.
What is more, he sent his disciples into Manic Heights with the same message and promises. He said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you" (John 20:21). And, here's the point. We're not supposed to simply reside in the Manic Heights neighborhood. Jesus sends us into Manic Heights to let our lights shine there (Matthew 5:16). Yes, we're to be in it, but not of it (John 17:14-15). That's a sad reality about life in Manic Heights today. In so many cases you can't distinguish the believers from the unbelievers.
It's Manic Heights. Welcome to the neighborhood.
As the drama of the neighborhood unfolded Monday two ambulances, with no lights
flashing, exited the complex up the street. Two children had been assaulted in an
apartment. They died at the scene. Hours later, the murderer was captured by police just
blocks from the scene of the disaster, very near the church I pastored for twelve years
and the place of our membership today. This location is surrounded by middle class sub-
divisions and eight apartment complexes. The entire community today mourns the
needless death of two precious children. Even more, most of us are still in shock mode
this morning. We're living in Manic Heights, and learning how to serve there.
Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_gurb'>gurb / 123RF Stock Photo</a>