So I'm consoling a pastor at the Starbucks on Bell School Road in Rockford because a woman in the church has been making life miserable for him.
It's the typical catalogue of complaints scarcely concealing a pathological transference of her miserable life to him because sick people feel better when they do that.
I've been around long enough to know misery really does like company and creates it whenever possible.
I've also learned nothing has changed from the beginning when it comes to rebelling against God like our first parents and killing each other like their first kid.
God knows I know God knows everybody's getting really sick and tired of hearing how awful things are getting in our country; but there ain't enough St. John's Wort at Walgreens to anesthetize America from the truth of a decaying and declining empire because it increasingly distances itself from the real Founder.
Anyway, he asks, "Ever feel like quitting?"
"Every day," I say.
I go on, "You know how Jesus said sheep are dumb. They're always getting into trouble and easily misguided and always dumping their do-do for the shepherds to clean up. Still, Jesus said anyone that's gonna follow Him as an undershepherd better be willing to love them to death like He did or they should get the Sheol out of ministry right now."
"Besides," I went on, "if you're called to it, you survive. Looking at my pile of pension credits and continuing enthusiasm for pastoral ministry and how I really love people enough to tell them truths that will cause them not to like me for anything but Christ's sake, I guess I was called way back in 8th grade when my pastor took me to a seminary for some reason that I now get and I said, 'Rev. Mante, I'm coming here some day.'"
"Pero, yeah," I confessed, "I feel like quitting every day. There's always someone peeing on the parade. It's human. Always remember that's why Jesus came. He didn't come because we're so hot. He came because we can be such dumb..."
4,000 churches closed in America in 2014.
1,700 pastors quit every month in 2014.
We've had 6 churches leave our presbytery in the last few years with 2 more getting ready to exit because their speck-inspecting faith and morality are sooooooo much purer and perfect than...without, uh, mentioning their, uh, pride that, uh, I guess, is no longer on the list of deadly sins.
That fellah on Bell School may add to the stats in the next tabulation that gets worse every year.
Unless Jesus is our foundation, focus, and filter, we can't get no satisfaction in life and especially ministry.
Sounds like a song that I heard back in the...
Anyway, learn more about how to endure, overcome, and live triumphantly amid the meannness, madness, misery, and miscreance of life in the modern world on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. and Sundays at 7:20 and 9:50 a.m.
BTW, if you don't like us or me for some irreconcilable reason alien to Christianity, just call me and I'll provide a list of great churches and pastors in the area that love Jesus by the book so much that they'll endure you. There's no excuse for not worshipping God. God deserves it. You need God. And your failure to worship means you don't get it/Him and are forfeiting the blessings that He wants for you by grace through faith in Jesus.
Blessings and Love