3.26.2004

I am troubled these days. Why am I troubled? Glad you asked.

I recently re-subscribed to Sojourners Magazine. I did so because I have noticed slippage in my concern for the poor and oppressed and conplacency creep in my attitudes toward social issues in general. I did so because it is all too easy to slip into an unexamined, conservative evangelical rut, especially since I became a pastor, but really ever since we moved back to the United States from Europe 13 years ago (sheesh, has it been that long?). I felt that in subscribing to the magazine I would be pushed and challenged to see things through different eyes, things I need to see again. Boy was I right.

I received my first issue just the other day and I was taken aback by the frankness with which the magazine approaches the "current administration" as they say. I'm reading some of the comments and I'm thinking to myself, "Wow! If this is true, how could I possibly not have heard this before? How could I be so isolated as to be unaware of the direction the 'current administration' is going?" Honestly, it's like reading a news magazine from a whole 'nother world, for crying out loud.

This troubles me. It troubles me because it means I have much more work to do in order to understand the implications of these events that can so easily be reported on differently from different sources. It troubles me because I am clueless when I like to think of myself as more informed. It troubles me because I can't imagine finding the time to thoroughly and faith-fully examine the issues and events in the world.

It troubles me because I am starting to suspect that I have been duped, blinded by mediocrity. It troubles me because I have realized this week that Jesus' words no longer shock me as they once did.

I visited with a man the other day who is reading the gospels through fresh eyes. He is seeing things in Scripture that we all ought to see from time to time. He is rather new to the faith, or at least to a new way of experiencing his faith, and he finds Jesus' words about wealth, for instance, disturbing. Shouldn't we all? I don't remember the last time Jesus' words shocked me. I don't remember the last time I saw myself not as a disciple, but as a Pharisee instead. I don't remember the last time I felt Scripture standing in opposition to me and my values, rather than comfortably baptizing my views.

And now, as I begin to face the possibility that I've been duped, that I am blind and need to see things differently, I am afraid that I lack the courage to do anything about it.

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