"There was a time, not long ago, when the NFL was the most unifying public
institution we had...watched together...Now, suddenly, the league that
was once for everyone has no natural constituency. Liberals think it's
dangerous, classist, totalitarian, and cruel. Conservatives think it's
pandering to players who kneel during the anthem and too
politically correct. A game in which people throw a ball
and tackle each other has somehow become another
thing for us all to yell at each other about from
our ideological corners."
Will Leith, The Week, December 8, 2017
While I'm still scratching the surface of my relationship with Jesus by the book which is one of the many love-filled reasons why I'm so psyched about life and ministry on the corner of Lincoln and Main for the next few decades, I haven't missed much as I've seen too much if you know what I mean over the past 40+ years.
Anyway, I was kinda shocked that I'd never thought about something until it was brought to my attention by a young struggling pastor in another town in another state with the town being very much like the one where I'm rooted.
It's a smaller town about 10 miles from a bigger town where lots of politicians and businesswomen/men from the smaller town go to worship.
"Good doctor," he said then asked, "We have lots of good churches in town and lots of good pastors. Why do our local politicians and so many business people have to go to ___ to worship? What does it mean? Why do they do it?"
Never thought about that; pero I've got some suspicions.
Parenthetically, as I consider the comment and concern from another part of the country, it got me to thinking about our neck of the woods in Belvidere and Boone County, Illinois; suspecting something that I hadn't ever really thought about has been on the minds of others and that this may be a borderless challenge.
For example, Belvidere and Boone County have some of the most loving, caring, competent, sacrificially serving, and, most important, Biblically Christocentric pastors around.
I can't imagine why any local politician or businesswoman/man would need to travel to Rockford, Barrington, Chicago, or even Capron to worship.
Really, I'm very critical of clergy because I have a mirror and taught homiletics; yet there are at least a half dozen pastors in town that I recommend to people who are new to town or wish I'd leave town.
The young struggling pastor from another town in another state much like our town and maybe yours pressed, "You've always got something to say about almost anything. How about this? What am I and the other pastors in town doing so badly that the people who want our votes and money have to go out of town to worship? Why can't they worship under our leadership and sit with people who vote for them and shop in their stores?"
Though a little concerned about his first comment though it may be true and while I'm always eager to be corrected by Jesus, Holy Scripture, and common sense so I may confess, repent, and experience His forgiveness if not anyone else's, some conjectures are slipping through my noodle and onto the keyboard.
Maybe the big shots like to skip town for anonymity which doesn't seem to be a New Testament principle.
Maybe they'll be self-righteously incensed that I'm even asking after being asked because they'll rationalize not hanging around us because religion is a private matter which doesn't seem to be a New Testament principle.
Maybe they like finding churches that are socioeconomically more to their liking with, you know, people who are more like them than us.
I don't know.
I do know they haven't read, for starters, Matthew 5.
Truth is we need our local politicians and busnesswomen/men to invest themselves in local churches because, well, uh, sigh, gasp, we need them!
We need their time, thoughts, treasures, and talents to advance the Kingdom in the part of His world entrusted to us.
Why should we vote for people who don't vote for us?
Why should we shop in their stores and patronize them when they don't reciprocate?
O.K., maybe it's like those big box shops?
More, more, more...
Again, I don't know.
Just thinking about it after being prodded just recently.
Yet, if we go back to that quote at the top from Leitch that could be analogous if you know what I mean and if you don't forget about it, churches are intended by Jesus to be the backbone of a community's unity along with invitational, inclusive, and welcoming love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
If our local politicians and businesswomen/men are looking out of town for something that we're not supplying, maybe we need to do the same.
Again, I don't know; but I'll be finding out where they worship before I go shopping and vote.
Blessings and Love!
Shatter the sound of silence!
Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!
This is a great post. I am sure some are wondering why it made them so mad. Praying the Holy Spirit does what only He can do in their lives!
Why do you not worship with us while you are on vacation and in the area?
I would suspect 2 reasons why politicians look for somewhere else.
1) They want to worship the Lord and don’t want to be distracted by being bothered by the people of the church to do this or that for the community.
2). They have lofty goals and want to know more people and have bigger connections
It's the CULT-ure of bigness that causes it. For generations we have equated bigness of effectiveness, though it ain't necessarily true. The Millenials are discovering the falsehood of this equation. We should, too.
Rarely disagreeing with my favorite ECO pastor, I'd like to add a thought, amigo.
Several of our very faithful pastors in Belvidere often comment, "They go to ___ in Rockford/Barrington...[usually]...to worship but then they expect us to visit their sick, do their funerals, counsel their children, and be there for them when they need a pastor. They worship out of town and give most of their money out of town and then expect us to take care of their lives in town while expecting us to vote for them and shop in their stores."
Frankly, I've already been attacked viciously for raising the question.
I guess I hit a raw nerve in the guilty.
Jessup was right. The sheep can't handle the truth and the wolves dispute it.
I still think about what you plan to say after the benediction when you announce your retirement.
Let me clarify.
Mainly because you want to worship the Lord. And your presence might be a distraction to you and others.
Thanks, again, Jerry.
While I don't understand your first question, we will post all of it.
No. My question was. When you are on vacation and in the Belvidere area you choose to worship elsewhere. Why? It’s nothing against you. I have never seen a pastor worship with a congregation. But I assume it has to do with what I mentioned previously.
Actually, my friend, I wasn't sure where you were going with that; but I assumed something positive as you have always prayed and labored redemptively as an elder.
While you are right in what you have perceived, there's more to it.
Because of some mentoring and fraternity and judicatorial stuff, I visit parochial and ecumenical settings to encourage, probe, reassure, assess, report, etc.
But even more than that, I'm just scratching the surface of my relationship with Jesus by the book and really, really, really need to hear what He is saying through other saints...like you.
That's why, for example, I rarely accept initiations to preach in town or at presbytery or just about anywhere.
Aside from folks being able to hear me too often just about any Sunday on the corner of Lincoln and Main, I lost the need for the egotistical part of that stuff while needing to be fed personally.
Just like nobody reads my books or my posts or listens to the radio show - not moaning because I tell peers that the primary audience is One as I lectured during homiletics classes - I'm very, very, very prayerful before accepting any invitation to give it a go anywhere but on the corner of Lincoln and Main.
I really appreciate the opportunity to talk about this and appreciate your sensitivity that I have some softer spots than some will ever...
Blessings and Love!
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