Tuesday, May 29, 2007

let god in, or not?


my dad emailed about wanting to support his pastor. i said to go for it. he mentioned that he'd been told that the last pastor to want the church to get out of itself and get into the community, the world, had been fired. that was the late 60's. jesus. so here's what i wrote to my dad, in response:


Okay, so, you're getting excited about doing what Jesus did. Mind-blowing ain't it. And isn’t that what fires pastors and prevents the Spirit from having some room? Just like it happened with Jesus. No shit, I’m not kidding.
There’s a cynical side of me – a Shadow – and I know it and own it – that says, Stupid-ass Christians, they're all alike, they kill everything good. They suck. They don’t understand God’s love … like I do, since I’m so awesome and I get it. (welcome Shadow! glad i know you're there. glad i know you're not the truth.)
There’s a more realistic and in fact hopeful side of me that says that people are just people, and they react sometimes out of love and courage, and often out of fear and the need to control and feel safe. Just like me. And let’s face it, when God is really at work, things aren’t so tidy or in control. And that’s scary. And I don’t blame people for being scared about it. For real. I have compassion for them. I believe Jesus felt the same way, that his railing against the religious system of his time was flowing with tears and compassion for those caught in the system.
And God keeps on being present, keeps on loving, knowing that a lot of it won't soak in, but some of it will. And keeps on doing God stuff.
If the pastor is worth supporting, do it. Every pastor needs support – even, no, especially, those who are lost or have forgotten or are being assholes and i swear they wouldn't choose that if they were in their right minds.

What KIND of support is the issue … accountability? Nurture? A kick in the ass given with lots of love? A friend to confide in? someone who won't judge him/her? we pastors need all of those and more. someone just to be there week after week, looking at us, sending us the message “Yes, I’m here. You are not alone. If you cause trouble by opening people’s minds and threatening their safe space, I will be with you.” that’s as good as it gets.
So, let's say your pastor causes trouble, lets God in, sends the Church out into the world. So the pastor gets fired, or punished, or sent somewhere. That’s up to the pastor to figure out, regarding her/his calling from God. Shit, there are lots worse things than getting fired. Losing one’s soul is much, much, much worse. "What good does it do anyone to gain the whole world - power, control, a great resume, a great salary, job security, a pension, happiness - and lose his soul?" Jesus said that and he meant it big time. He knew.

And religion is just neutral, just a tool; it’s the people who at some point meant well and then were seduced by the dark side of the force, or maybe they just don’t know that they're doing evil and thwarting God’s work (Jesus to his best friend and head of the class, Simon The Rock: "Shut up, dammit, Simon! You're speaking the words of my Enemy!"). And if a pastor or any other person begins to be prophetic, a problem, a mirror, and the people aren’t used to it? They’ll kill the sonofabitch. For real. It happens every single day. Either they’ll kill her/him slowly, by degrees, or all at once.
There is always resurrection in this story, because God is always present and always at work.
So, it’s up to the pastor to decide.

If she/he is lucky, there'll be a group of people, in person or far away or in the present or in the future who will want to hear the words of God, who will want the doors opened, who will want trouble. they'll be the poor in spirit, they that mourn, the hungry and thirsty for something.

i have that.

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