Back in December, I spent almost an hour on the phone explaining to our insurance carrier what we do.  I explained that we coach, train and support residents who want to be agents of change in their community.  I explained that the “work” the leaders do is “theirs” and not Embrace’s.  For Example:  the Family team in Hillside belongs to the leaders in Hillside.  Embrace does not direct it or control it in any way.   Embrace is simply a connector and a coach.  We connect caring residents that make up the Family team with people and programs to support their dreams for their communities and we provide the training and coaching leaders need to succeed.

I thought he got it.  I prayed he got it.  He did not get it!  He sent me a very long “Social Services Addendum” to complete with all kinds of questions geared for “programs” that have “clients.”  I don’t have “clients.”  I have “leaders” and they have “neighbors.”

When did neighbors caring for their neighbors become “social services” ?

When did neighbors become clients?

I don’t blame my insurance man, he wants to mitigate his company’s liability and labeling me a social services agency is the most conservative approach.  However, my frustration is not just with my insurance man.  It is with our culture that turns everything into “programs” that need to be administered by “professionals.”  We have lost the ability to simply “love our neighbors as ourselves”.    Love of neighbor is so rare that we can’t even recognize it anymore.  We have become so fearful of liability that we don’t practice it anymore.

This blog is not a rant against my insurance agent – he is a very nice man.  It is a lament over the brokenness of our society. 

Christians abdicated their responsibility to love their neighbors to the professionals and now simple “neighboring” is not even seen as a “legitimate” activity.  It breaks my heart and I believe it breaks the heart of God.