Posted by: minnow | March 28, 2009

Spiritual Prader-Willi

I intended to write a follow up post to my latest one before now and while contemplating what I wanted to say I discovered this post at Parchment and Pen and this post at Seeds in My Heart that touch on various aspects of the same topic.  I thought about sending you to those posts and calling it good but I’m not too good at letting others do all the talking so for what it is worth give those guys a read and if you still want more come back here.  And do not forget to let at least one of us know what you think.

If we claim Christ in any kind of overt way—a verbal testimony, a bumper sticker, a lapel pin or cross necklace—we are indeed witnessing, whether we are inside or outside of a building.  But, is being a witness the same as being the Church?  I may be splitting hairs here but I think we can, and too often do, make pretty poor witnesses as to what it means to be a Christian, or the Church.  So, I want to be cautious in saying we ARE automatically the Church wherever we are (implying the “and in whatever we do”).  The sad reality is that Christians in general have earned themselves a pretty nasty reputation for being judgmental, self-centered, self-righteous, materialistic, narrow minded, anti intellectual, uncaring, prejudiced, and down right ugly.  I do not like that reputation and I certainly do not accept that, that is the Church.  So what is?

God gave me a pretty poignant illustration of what it means to be the Church just this morning.  I work in a group home for eight developmentally disabled adults.  Part of my job is to fix breakfast in the morning.  Four of my clients have Prader-Willi Syndrome.  In case you have never heard of it people who suffer from Prader-Willi never feel satiated.  They could eat from sun up to sun down and they would still feel hungry.  In addition, they have extremely slow metabolisms thus they are put on very low calorie diets, on average between 800 and 1300 calories a day.  Always feeling hungry causes these clients to engage in some fairly disturbing behavior.  They are always on the look out for food, always aware of what is on their individual menus, and highly sensitive to the least little slight. 

This morning one of my clients wandered into the kitchen pantry a little before breakfast and wanted her creamer.  I immediately informed her she did not have creamer on her menu because she had chosen to have gravy instead.  (The day before, she had helped herself to creamer before I checked her menu.  She did not actually have creamer on her menu then either so she “got away with” getting something extra).  This morning she was not happy that I knew she was not to get creamer and immediately started screaming at me.  She told me she did not want the #@%  %$*! gravy, that it tasted like &#!$, and that I didn’t know how the $#@% to make it!!  She wanted the ^$&#(!@*  ^$&#( creamer!! and, she proceeded to reach into the cupboard to grab her creamer. For the next five minutes, while I tried to tell her we could make the change “no problem” but that she only got 4 normal teaspoons of creamer not six heaping ones like she took the day before I got to listen to how I didn’t know what I was talking about, how other staff told her she got six and how I was an idiot—all of which was peppered with language not terrible pleasant to hear.  She eventually read the label of her creamer and discovered I was telling the truth.  However that did not stop her from calling me a few more names as she kicked the garbage can into the corner, knocked the house laundry over, threw the container of creamer back into the cupboard (after taking 4 heaping  teaspoons) and slammed the cupboard door.  She continued to swear and mutter under her breath as she left the pantry only to come back a couple minutes later to help herself to the coffee she politely  asked me to make because it took too long for her to make it herself.  As she left the second time she took a measuring spoon I had been using.  When I asked her for it I was once again told how I didn’t know &#!$.  Once my interactions with this client were finally over I was feeling terribly sorry for myself and fighting back tears.  That is when God started talking to me. 

I did not really hear Him ask the question at first, but I heard myself answer it.  “But I don’t know if I want to be the Church to her.  I didn’t deserve to be talked to like that.  What gives her the right to…?”  (Dramatic pause)  “Oh.”  (Another pause)  “That’s the point, isn’t it?!”  I then understood that being the Church to people did not mean they would ever feel full just because I was so good  as to give them breakfast.  The holes in their lives might be so numerous, or so big that the best they can manage is to throw the creamer in the cupboard and not directly at me.  Barring a miracle, my Prader-Willi clients will be hungry their entire lives.  And, they will do some pretty nasty things in order to get fed, including prostituting themselves, digging through garbage, and lying to their friends, family, and caregivers.  If  I am serious about taking the Church beyond the building I am bound to run into a few folks suffering from spiritual Prader-Willi.  The question I will have to answer is will the fact that they may never feel full stop me from giving them good food?




  1. Beautiful as always and thnx for whout out… Thnx especially for reminding me that we are not being the church ALWAYS…because sometimes we r acting / living out of our sinful nature…. Though we r always part of the church…. Not always being/representing as should….more later on this. Thanks for doing ur job. And for listening to Him. Love

  2. This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

  3. *shout out I meant 🙂 I was typing on blackberry sorry.

  4. I think I understand a little.
    I I want you to go farther and push the rest of us that don’t see it yet.

  5. Hi Minow,

    Do you realize how many people are speaking in terms related to what the church is and is not?
    I read Tamela’s Place and saw that she had written on what I had been considering writing a blog on, and did.

    Then, I read Randi Jo’s and found similarities as well as with yours.

    I am some what reluctant to say it is a sign. What do you make of the buzz?

  6. Randi–Thank you. My blog posts probably seem pretty disjointed to the outside viewer but God is connecting them in my brain. Our prayer without ceasing making us aware of His continual presence and then this situation where it felt to me like He just started talking to me in person after my client left the room was amazing. We are definately witnesses but what is our testimony–that God is good or that we are self-centered and…
    Matt–thanks for dropping by.
    Trail Blazer–it’s a wild ride we’re on.
    Jim–I do think the Spirit is on the move and the Church or some or it is finally waking up!

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