It's common for members of a pastor search committee to be among the first to trickle out of church during a pastoral transition as the unrealistic expectations for their choice are not met.
Whether somebody's looking for a best buddy, champion for an agenda, carbon copy or "exact opposite" of a predecessor, paramour, puppet, or something other than an agapeish Christocentric pastor for everybody, it happens; and it's always painful.
Indeed, it's so, uh, common for those who were most unrealistically or fantastically excited at the installation to be among the first in line at the complaint department; usually masking the real issues as suggested in the preceding sentence lest the baser be confused with the noble.
Sometimes it's just not a match made in heaven.
Surely, if it's a true beruf, there will be a trickle in to replace the trickle out for it's just a part of the predestined ecclesiastical circle of life.
I was thinking about that today as the America-hating-far-left wingnuts who had such low hopes for PBHO to destroy our heritage are going apoplectic in discovering he actually cares about national security and people so desperate for an athlete to provide a pure and perfect role model for America's youth have discovered Tiger Woods is just about as human as, uh, you and me and everybody else.
In one of her more lucid moments, Barbara Streisand was right on many years ago in observing, "America builds up its heroes and then tears them down."
The church and world are kissin' cousins when it comes to that.
Victorious Ministry Through Christ, a ministry dedicated to enabling total commitment to Jesus and freedom from dark bondages, taught me to dump my garbage before others dig it up and live happily ever after.
That's my interpretation of VMTC's understanding of John's understanding of God's complete forgiveness (viz., 1 John 1:5-10); or as Bobby Kennedy used to say, "Hang a lantern on your flaws."
John 3:19-21 comes to mind.
Unlike my friends on the right who don't like to see anything happen for the first time, I've always liked PBHO on a personal level; and I'm still harboring hope of an invite to share a Bud Light in the garden and maybe get him to get me on Oprah to plug my new book before she, uh, whatevers. Yeah, I think he's strictly OJT; but I don't think he's part of some deep and dastardly dark conspiracy to turn the country over to that Hugo nutball below the equator. I think he means well; though a thought from my daddy keeps bothering me: "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
Then there's Tiger.
If I were married to that nanny, I'd think twice before...
If I/you think Sarah is hot...
While I've always felt folks who point out the flaws of others are hiding some juicy immoralities of their own and like to light fires in the backyards of others to make sure nobody sees their homes are burning down, Tiger has fessed up and admitted "transgressions" against his family and, I assume, God.
Yeah, some church ladies and other speck-inspectors want the specifics; but if God has already wiped 'em off the slate, who do they think they are to...?
Several years ago, one of my better friends picked on one of my better friends because he thought he wasn't as theologically tight as he thought he should be.
Liking things a bit looser than tighter if you know what I mean or more gracious than litigious in a Christian kinda way, I tried to intercede by saying, "Geez, guys, you're on the same side. Do you really think your intramural jousting is honoring Jesus?"
Then I told the one who was more theologically tight than the other, "Why don't you pick on someone your own size? Or are you like those terrorists who don't take on the real enemy and slaughter non-combatants and even their own kind to make a point that nobody really...?"
So he turned his attention on me.
I've learned trying to be rational with the irrational is illogical; or as an old elder counseled me so many years ago in counsel that has stuck, "Don't get into tinkling contests with skunks."
Churches as well as the world are increasingly cannibalistic.
Bantering and moaning, biting, bruising, and butchering seem to be the SOP in cultures so much more about eros than agape.
Be that as it is, it should not be; especially among folks who say they love Jesus.
I think of the idiot who actually made an appointment to see me about 25 years ago to say, "I'm leaving the church because you talk too much about love."
Help me, Jesus!
I keep running into that guy's relatives.
Our family of faith at First in Belvidere hosted a welcoming service for a new, uh, church in town on 12/2.
Our mayor, a few pastors, and a sprinkling of members from different churches showed up.
I thought it was a good idea as in, you know, one Lord, one faith, one baptism...
There's enough division in the world; and I thought, as Mark Twain noted, that maybe the church can set a better example of bringing people together instead of pressing, pushing, and pulling 'em apart: "The church is always trying to get other people to reform; it might not be a bad idea to reform itself a little by way of example."
Simply, it would be nice if more folks who say they love Jesus would love like Jesus.
Anyway, the "Lead Pastor" of the new church in town made some startling comments as far as the attending traditionalists/mainliners were concerned: "We only ask one question when we worship and minister. Are we pleasing God?...I'm sick to death of all the divisions among God's people over stupid stuff. Too many churches make it too complicated. It's pretty simple. Churches are supposed to fit into His Kingdom and stop trying to get His Kingdom to fit into their churches...I think God is so sad: 'Will they ever just get along?'...We're supposed to be agents of His healing not wounding..."
It sounds so, uh, authentic.
It brings to mind a column that you may want to read sometime that reminded me a lot of what I witnessed last night: Click Here
I made a decision today.
I was helped by some prayer partners between 6:30 - 7:50 a.m.
I'm never going to ask anyone else ever again to expand their wineskin to accommodate mine because part of agape is sacrificing my lust for others to accommodate me.
It may be His way of calling me to approach the cross.
Jesus went to the cross alone.
He provided the paradigm.
While I don't see a big parade following Him to that kind of authentic discipleship, that is His call for anyone who really, really, really wants to enter into intimacy with Him.
I know I'll never measure up.
And whenever I come up short, I'll remember that's why He came in Him as Savior.
That's why I've gotta try.
Let me put it another way - something that the pastor of the new church in town gets and I'd forgotten.
You can't always kiss Jesus and the church/world (sometimes indistinguishable) at the same time.
Blessings and Love!
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