Kevin Spacey is gay.
Didn't see that coming.
October is Pastor Appreciation Month.
While the officers and staff along with a few members of our family of faith on the corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere, Illinois go out of their way to care for me in so many ways, I feel a little guilty about it because I counsel and care for many faithful pastors who aren't as blessed.
Lots of churches don't see PAM coming.
A pastor in Michigan just resigned after less than six months because the fix was in before he arrived.
He followed a fine senior pastor who had been in the church for decades - tough enough - and inherited an associate pastor who had applied for the job - worse - and has been lying in wait to pounce on any vulnerability to undermine, overcome, and satisfy ecclesiastical lust.
The AP succeeded for two reasons.
First, the new senior pastor sinned; and while the prurient think immediately of sex and money, it's what our RCC friends call venial. Moreover, the denominational judicatory - proving again that one should think twice or more about leaving one stinking denomination for another stinking denomination even if they like Jesus by the book a lot more on paper while abandoning Him when the rubber hits the road - totally ignored Matthew 18 and Galatians 6. In other words, the poster children of their much-better-and-faithful-than-the-PCUSA denomination provided no process for restoration via forgiveness precipitated by confession and repentance in total ignorance/defiance of Matthew 6:12, 14-15; 7:1-6 and 1 John 1:5-10 juxtaposed to Matthew 25:45-46.
How wearisome to hear story after story after story of these self-righteous-Sister-Bertha-better-than-you-we-don't-dance-and-we-don't-chew-and-we-don't-go-with-girls-who-do denominations that don't walk their talk when it interferes with their discriminations, segregations, and degradations.
Second, the associate aspiring to the senior position recruited another staff member under his supervision to lead the charge.
Job security, I guess.
Anyway, the surrogate fired the bullet made by the associate that murdered the ministry.
Adding insult to injury, the surrogate contacted the deposed the day before the official resignation and wanted to meet for reasons that elude me; prompting me to suggest the following response: "Colleague, as I have confessed my sin to all and continue a process of repentance with humble gratitude for those who require discipline for restoration as patterned by Jesus and Holy Scripture, I don't think it is helpful for me and anyone entrusted to your employment to meet with someone who says, 'I can never forgive you for this!' Talking with pastors, seminary professors, elders, and deacons around the country as well as locally, they say there is only one unforgivable sin. They suggest it is time for you to be held accountable for your unbelief. If you would like me to help you, yes, we can get together."
Sadly, I recall something said to me by an antagonist about 40 years ago: "Preachers come and go but we stay the same."
Too bad more pastors aren't told...that's coming.
As pour moi, I'm blessed with a faithful which includes forgiving church.
Besides, I've got enough pension credits built up so I could just...
So after being appreciated again in October, I wrote a letter to our officers, staff, and members.
Dear Elders, Staff, and PoDs,
Consulting with many churches and caring for so many pastors who are confused, abused, and vocationally precarious, I always thank God for the privilege to be your undershepherd to the Good Shepherd in the spirit of Matthew 10:16.
While every day isn't a hot fudge sundae and the demands seem to be escalating almost exponentially in our family of faith and neighborhood not to mention the extended regional and national family, I find relaxation and refueling in cellular prayer, corporate worship, pony, truck, playing 9 with Billy, Cubans, and calmer times at home; so your gift certificate to Woodstock Harley-Davidson expresses your sympathy for my idiosyncrasies and stewardship of my head, heart, and guts.
On the night before he was assassinated - which I mention not to encourage folks who hate me in a Christian kinda way - MLK, Jr., said, "Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life...But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know...I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."
As MLK, Jr. would say, I have the "strength to love" you and everyone else from Him through you.
But there are difficult days ahead.
While the house has been cleaned far more than less (Matthew 12:43-45), we still have some significant challenges ahead of us:
1. Longing for the way things never were or maybe were but are no more is unfaithful yet seductive. Aside from the fresh blessings requiring new wineskins in ministry (Matthew 9:15-17) because God is alive and well among the two or three or more who truly gather in His name, finances will continue to dry up as demonic, dark, and sometimes even innocuous distractions/seductions inhibit, blur, and betray fidelities. In other words, we will be expected to do more to help heal emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, and materially with less;
2. My parochial and ecumenical experiences coupled with a compelling witness captive to John 17 and other supporting counsel/commands from Jesus by the book have convinced me of the folly of leaving one stinking denomination for another stinking denomination as some appear more faithful on paper while all fall within the verdict of the apostle in Romans 3:23. Moretheless, I applaud our leadership for taking the steps necessary to insure our passion to esteem over 2K years of Biblical, confessional, constitutional, historical, traditional, and common sense Christianity is not compromised by possible mandates moving our voluntary apportionments, gifts, and donations to mandatory taxation and insisting we endorse and host rituals+ceremonies=rites requiring the violation of our collective conscience captive to over 2K years of...
While I will never leave the PCUSA as I have spoken and written for over three decades after praying about it for another decade before providing a paper trail of my devotion to remain faithfully while always eager to confess, repent, ask forgiveness, and seek restoration if shown error by Jesus, Holy Scripture, and common sense, I could be thrown out if the aforementioned are mandated by GA or PJC. Following the crucified Christ, all of my heroes have chosen to remain faithfully. Surely, it would be easier to "go with the flow" or "run away from a fire rather than into it" or some other meaningful metaphor. Yet, I've always chosen the road less traveled because I believe that's the best way to follow Him; and
3. While I'll never be as astute as Don Norek when it comes to eschatology, I believe we are in the last days and tribulating times will increase around the globe and in America. Welcoming the ultimate victory of our Lord Jesus, we will live triumphantly amid the meanness, madness, misery, and miscreance of these days as we witness to confident living in the assurance of eternal paradise by grace through faith in Jesus and do all we can whenever we can with all we can to extend agape through grace and mercy without regard to color, class, or culture.
So, again, thank you for remembering me during Pastor Appreciation Month as we pray and labor to show our undivided loyalty to Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Blessings and Love!
Shatter the sound of silence!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!
Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!
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