Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I Am the Enemy

According to The Layman, I am everything that's wrong with the Presbyterian Church. My theology is apostate, my ethics are hideous; apparently, I have given up on Jesus Christ years ago, I have abandoned Scripture, thrown out the baby with the bathwater, and I am leading the church down the road to perdition.


I got up this morning, brushed my teeth and shaved. I read a book and read my Bible. I worked on the July 4 message and will prepare the liturgy later today, a day late, because I've been home with a nasty cold - no doubt, some form of punishment for my wicked ways.

I love my children and they love me.

I love my wife, and she puts up with me, and that's miracle enough for any day.

I have friends, new and old, and I constantly receive notes from folks, via Facebook and the mail, thanking me for my ministry - a very humbling thing, of course, because any minister worth her salt realizes that it's grace, and grace alone, that enables us to touch a person's life with hope.

But I'm the enemy, according to The Layman, and I'm responsible for the decline of the Presbyterian Church the last 50 years.

When I think about it, that's a pretty serious charge, and I've given it some thought. I've granted to The Layman over the years the benefit of the doubt, and I've tried to listen to their concerns.

From my point of view, there's enough blame to go around, and who can blame anyone for the vast cultural changes affecting our world.

I don't think it's a question of blame?

I think it's a question of opportunity. Look, things have always been in flux, and there have been times of social prosperity for the church (history makes painfully clear that social prosperity doesn't always equate faithfulness) and times of displacement. So, what's the big deal?

Didn't Paul counsel Timothy to preach the gospel, in season and out of season? I think if we spent far less time blaming the other guy and simply did our best, as God has laid it upon our hearts, we'd be a far healthier voice to the world.

Oops, I forgot. We'd still have to make justice decisions, wouldn't we? Especially with regard to our LGBT sisters and brothers, and corporate greed and investment policies and militarism and war and poverty and education. As long as some want to keep the door closed to LGBT persons, I work to get it open, all the way.

Anyway, I'm trying to figure out what "an enemy" looks and feels like.

I feel pretty friendly this morning. And aside from a little weight I'd be happy to lose, I look pretty good, too.

So, I don't know what "the enemy" feels and looks like. Guess I'll have to read The Layman a little bit more.