When the world looks at me, it sees a peculiar fellow dressed equally peculiarly (at least for those who wear a clerical). I am an anachronism -- I believe things science must have disproved by now and do not believe things everyone else around me does. I hold a morality hopelessly out of step with the modern world and I expect the supernatural of word and mercy over the practical of getting what I want. I am the man in black (sorry Johnny Cash) who preaches a Gospel that has not changed in two thousand years and who still expects the people to be accountable to their higher power. People in the world are sometimes threatened by me, sometimes attracted to me, and always disappointed in some way or another. On top of that, society is sure I am a pedophile waiting for the opportunity to abuse the innocent.
To the liberal Christian, I cannot possibly be so naive as to believe the what the Bible says and must be a thoughtful, erudite, skeptic in order to be authentic. I am kind of a Santa dressed in black who fulfills everyone's imagination, dreams, and identities -- in the nicest way possible, to be sure.I must never say an unkind word. I am a boy scout in pursuit of that which is tolerant, indulgent, generous, and kind (which really means I defer everything to everyone else).
On the other hand, however, the conservative sees me as must be a paragon of
virtue, right doctrine (as they define it), and total moral purity in word and deed. I must
never have a lustful or dirty though (unless it is a really funny joke) I must be constantly in prayer
and also be a spiritual warrior–always on the lookout for the devil and
always ready to fight the good with every denier, blasphemer, and lover of evil. If I screw up, I exasperate God and must live with the constant fear of disappointing Him and them.
Thanks for your wonderful posting on being a "failure", when trying to please everyone in a congregation or the world in general. I'm retired from full time pastoring now (45 years of being in congregations). It seems to me your comments are "right on" in terms of attempting to live as a "people pleaser", at all costs. One image comes to mind: imagine yourself sitting on a chair on a theater stage...there's only one person in the audience...the curtain opens and you're now going to offer your presentation to that one person who happens to be Jesus Christ. Your question and mine is the same: "So, who are going to play your life to?"
Pastor Bob Hoem
Awesome & totally true... Wouldn't it be nice if not only the pastor lived that way!! And if all of us did then those that are officially social workers & therapists would hopefully be almost out of work. Then Pastors could concentrate on the Lords work,
and we could all work together.
What a beautiful world that would be.
Thank you Larry:
Yes Jim Redmann Traverse City, MI.
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