Monday, June 11, 2012
I attended a "Self-Awareness Workshop" for executives about 25 years ago in Greensboro, NC.
Frankly, a few elders funded it because they didn't think I was very, uh, self-aware at the time.
They were right.
Anyway, it was kinda cool being the only guy paid to be holy in the group; and it wasn't long before I discovered banks, clothing companies, universities, medical schools, car lots, and other businesses along with even law firms and tobacco pushers seem to have higher ethical as well as performance standards than most, uh, gulp, gasp, geez, uh, churches.
I think it was the first time that Matthew 23 came alive for me by contrast.
We went through more psychological testing than I ever recall enduring before ordination; which could be a clue to why...
While I'm still scratching the surface of my relationship with Jesus and finding more about myself with the passing of every day, I gotta admit it was worth their money.
The highlight was one shrink saying, "You are not responsible for what others say and do; however, you are completely responsible for what you say and do and how you respond to what others say and do."
That was the most liberating gospel that I'd ever heard as a partner, parent, pastor, presbyter, professor, and just about anything else beginning with the letter...
That came to mind over the weekend when two elders and three others gave a newspaper clipping to me about a colleague who wrote some pretty outrageous stuff in a "special" to a local rag.
Parenthetically, they were especially interested because he used to be co-pastor of one of our presbytery's flagship churches.
Nobody's really sure what he is anymore because another franchise hired him and he rarely attends our meetings unless pushing some left-wing-wacko agenda. How he gets away with it is beyond me. I didn't know you could belong to two different denominations at the same time.
While his latest hobby-horse doesn't interest me, I was impressed by how he approached it: "My words may surprise some, given that I am a Christian pastor...Surely the Bible contains several references that...But I believe...The Bible clearly includes a message against...I do not believe, however,..."
O.K., I added the italics and bold print.
Do you find that as flabbergasting as I do?
Essentially, "I know that's what the Bible says but I believe..."
As if what he thinks/feels/wants/believes is somehow on equal footing with Biblical revelation!
Of course, he, obviously, doesn't think Biblical revelation has any more clout than Twain, Maclaine, or, uh, how he thinks/feels/wants/believes.
And while you've probably guessed what he's advocating, it doesn't really matter because his logic could be used to controvert/confuse clear Biblical declaratives on just about any issue of faith and ethics.
History tells me that's what some of those "Christians" did to put Jews in ovens back in...
I'll give him this.
He put his thoughts/feelings/wants/beliefs in print and in direct contradiction to Holy Scripture for all to see.
He owns 'em.
I feel no responsibility for what has come out of his...
Yet, yes, I do feel compelled to say he does not represent any pastor I know who still prays/labors to live under the authority of God as personified in Jesus and prescribed in Holy Scripture.
Go back to the shrink quote in the first section.
Here's the point.
The shrink was right.
We are not responsible for the good, bad, or ugly being spewed by other people.
But we are completely responsible for what we say and do and how we respond to what others say and do.
If we're still trying to honor God as God has revealed Himself, then we must honor those who are still trying to honor God as God has revealed Himself.
We must stand up, speak up, and act up with 'em.
If we're still trying to honor God as God has revealed Himself, then we must not honor those who are not trying to honor God as God has revealed Himself.
We must stand up, speak up, and act up against 'em.
God knows one Judas was/remains enough.
I guess, for people like me who profess/pretend to be Christians, self-awareness is confirmed by praying/trying to speak/look/act like it/Him.
Anything other is not true to self; not to mention Him.
Or maybe it is true to self; not to mention Him.
I'm not saying I've got it/Him all together.
I'm wrong about lots of stuff.
I'm just saying He's right as He's revealed Himself in Jesus and the Bible and my arms are just too short to box with...
I'm just not, uh, divine enough to take on...
Blessings and Love!