Sunday, October 09, 2005

Part Three -- High Noon in Action

She was a high school senior with a 4.0 and was bound for a good college when she got an "F" on a major test in advanced biology. Her fellow teens at church alerted us (ministers and elders) concerning the reason why: she had defended her belief in creation. Her teacher was an aggressive evolutionist and had given them a long, hard test requiring ten short essay answers. She had supplied the "evolutionarily correct" answers and then added her objections and counter arguments; effectively doubling the amount of work on her test. The teacher did not deny that she had learned the material and could spout it back on command, but gave her an "F" since she "clearly did not understand it."

Our elders were at the school the next day. They were kind, soft spoken, and respectful as they spoke with, first, the principal and then the teacher. Later that day they also spoke to the superintendent of schools. The grade was changed two days later to an "A." The elders took her original paper, complete with red "F" and laminated it, hanging it in a prominent position of honor in the church building.

I could also speak about the new band teacher who upon coming in immediately changed practice from Thursday to Wednesday night and made it mandatory. When two of our teens tried to explain that they had church they were told: show up or drop the band. Our elders once again went into the school -- gently and with a Christ-like spirit. The practice was switched back to Thursday.

Or the time that a single mother who struggled against all odds to raise her children ran up against school regulations and an uncaring employer. She wanted to be at her kids' school for the parent teacher conferences but her employer -- a manager at McDonalds -- wouldn't give her the night off. The elders volunteered to go to the conferences in her place but the school wouldn't allow it. State law said only the parent or legal guardian had the right to confidential info about the child (understandable). One of our elders, who owned stores all over the state and was a very well to do man, went to the McDonalds manager and asked him personally to release the woman for that evening. When the manager refused, our elder volunteered to work in her place. He came in three nights in a row to learn her job and then worked that night for her -- for free. By the end of the week the entire town had heard about it. It's hard not to notice when a wealthy man is working at McDonalds mopping floors and cleaning toilets... without a word of complaint.

Each of these people stepped up and stepped out for something bigger than themselves. The teens could have stayed mute, shrugged and said "What can you do?" They didn't. The elders could have tsk-tsked and complained about the state of things today... but they moved in sweetly to change things. No voices were ever raised or threats made. In case you are wondering, this wasn't in some small rural backwater, but in a major metropolitan area. And we don't win them all, but we put them all in play.

Today we sent three of our own away. One of them, a lovely twenty two year old girl, is going to work at planting a church in the Bronx over the next two years. She said she had only 20% of her needed funds, but promised God she would go anyway... and then the money came in. A young couple with three elementary school and preschool children are walking away from their upper middle-class home and great jobs to live in Jinja, Uganda for five years. Why? Because on a visit they saw the need for God in the eyes of those there and determined to take the good news to them.

High Noon moments. Gotta love 'em. Step up and step out. All praise to Him who lets us in the game.

19 Comments:

At 10/09/2005 10:25:00 PM , Blogger Bill said...

Beautiful lives shining like stars in the universe! Thank you for sharing these stories of such heroes in the faith.

 
At 10/10/2005 06:40:00 AM , Blogger DJG said...

Yes, thank you for sharing...maybe such shining examples will move me off my laurels to find my own "high-noon" moments.

 
At 10/10/2005 07:51:00 AM , Blogger Steve Duer said...

Thank you for reminding us that there is always a "cloud of witnesses" surrounding us. We are not alone in our struggles.

 
At 10/10/2005 08:33:00 AM , Blogger David U said...

Ok, I see a book by Patrick Mead about "High Noon Moments". The profits could go to help some missionary, or another "high-noon" work.

What you waiting on? :)

Love you,
DU

 
At 10/10/2005 10:03:00 AM , Blogger Niki said...

Now that's what I'm talking about!!! Good stuff Patrick! These brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. I'm so very thankful that God not only gives us the courage to take a stand when the time is right, but he plants the desire in us as well. What an awesome God!!!

 
At 10/10/2005 01:51:00 PM , Blogger Jeff Slater said...

I'm with DU on the book idea. A lot of folks would be blessed by it.

BTW: There are some Meads who are members of the congregation where I preach. They claim to be distant relatives of yours. They live in New London, Ohio.

Do you claim them?

 
At 10/10/2005 01:53:00 PM , Blogger PatrickMead said...

My dad says we are related and that I met them when I was just a lad. If they are truly our relatives I would like to apologize to you in advance...

 
At 10/10/2005 03:15:00 PM , Blogger Laurie said...

Excellent examples of standing for what's right. Thank you for the uplift today.

 
At 10/10/2005 06:10:00 PM , Blogger That Girl said...

High Noon, for sure! I hope I don't miss an opportunity for a High Noon moment!

 
At 10/11/2005 08:21:00 AM , Blogger markemason said...

Patrick -

I don't know if it is possible or not, but what a blessing it would be to have a copy of that paper the teen girl wrote with the red "F" on it! Our young people would be inspired by it, I am sure!

Thanks for the story!

Mark

 
At 10/11/2005 08:39:00 AM , Blogger KentF said...

Excellent stuff Patrick. As I was reading these phenomenal stories I realized my High Noon moments come almost daily in small chunks. Go read the lead story today - 10/11/05 - on MSN regarding the National real estate housing bubble.

As a real estate appraiser, I'm almost daily asked, begged, threatened, cajoled into being unethical and dishonest. Every day I have to make the decision to do the right thing. I kind of like it actually - it keeps me in check - and it keeps my friends list on the real estate side fairly short and tidy.

 
At 10/11/2005 10:44:00 AM , Blogger TCS said...

Wow, I long for real leadership like that.

 
At 10/11/2005 03:41:00 PM , Blogger Chalmers said...

What wonderfully inspiring stories. Thanks for the inspiration.

 
At 10/13/2005 10:18:00 AM , Blogger TheRealPinkyNarf said...

Would you define a High Noon moment simply as: Any time in which a person does the "right thing" in a circumstance where that same person would not directly receive a benefit from the action performed.

 
At 10/13/2005 02:23:00 PM , Blogger PatrickMead said...

Generally, yes. Of course, some benefits accrue such as knowing one did the right thing and the positive consequences of so doing. However, selfishness and personal benefit are not the first, second, or third motivators in such a moment.

 
At 10/13/2005 08:41:00 PM , Blogger TheRealPinkyNarf said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 10/13/2005 08:46:00 PM , Blogger TheRealPinkyNarf said...

Some friends of mine had a large gathering at a local restaraunt. They stayed a long time chatting and having a good time. When they all decided it was time to go, everyone thought the other had payed already and they left. They were almost home before they realized they hadn't paid. They turned right around and headed back. The waitress was suprised and glad to see them. If they hadn't come back, the entire meal would have come out of her paycheck.

I believe we all have our High Noon moments. You probably have one nearly every day.

I had one that should have cost me my job. I work with computers and was controlling a customer's computer remotely. I was installing some updates and removing some old files. I knew they had a network person onsite trying to resolve some other issues and viruses they have. Well, remote connections aren't the fastest and best in the world... and I accidentally started a delete of some of their data files. By the time I had gotten the screen shot of the delete happening, it was too late. I was pressing the cancel button, but it had already deleted every data file from A to D. In an accounting system, that means Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and Checking... you know, the important files. Nobody, including my bosses, knew I was installing those updates. The network guy didn't know I was there. Satan was on my shoulder telling me "Just pretend you weren't there and the network guy will take the fall. He's the only one left my customer will think to blame." I promptly made a fist and flicked Satan off my shoulder and picked up the phone. I called my customer and told him what happened. To make matters worse, their last "good" backup was over six months old. They were unable to use the computers for 2 weeks while I wrote programs to rebuild data from our transaction files (luckily those start with a "T"). I was prepared to lose my job, but that never happened. I continued to do work for that customer.

I have faith in God, that regardless of what I do wrong He is always going to take care of me. That fact alone is enough to allow me to do the "right thing".

 
At 10/14/2005 11:24:00 AM , Blogger jettybetty said...

This just blesses my socks off--I wish I could tell all your church leaders myself how encouraging it is!

I have also used a quote you made on David's Light and Salt--if you have a problem, please let me know and I will take it down. The quote, the attitude just changed my day.

 
At 10/17/2005 08:49:00 AM , Blogger Kevin J. Bowman said...

I LOVE the elder who went to McDonalds to work. Now that is a person who has TRULY been converted to being a shepherd of the gospel.

 

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