I took short walk yesterday, down at St. Joseph's Retreat Center on the lake. I walked the Stations of the Cross in the garden there. I had to work a little harder as the station plaques are still wrapped in plastic for the winter and are difficult to discern. I then headed for the dock to pray. I needed perspective.

Once again there are interpersonal conflicts brewing amid people in my church. I want so much more for them than this. I want a sense of mission and calling and community that is able to rise above whatever might get in its way. I suppose that's dreaming. I was reminded yesterday afternoon, after the time of prayer, that I pastor a bunch of sinners. Heck, I'm one myself. And sinners sin. That's our nature. Some of us are really good at it, too.

It's hard to tell the difference between a godly desire to see more Christian maturity in these and other relationships and a selfish desire not to have to deal with these issues. Sinners. The world would be better place without us, I think. It would be kind of boring, though. I mean, who would be left?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminds me (via Eugene Peterson) that "A pastor should not complain about his [or her] congregation, certainly never to other people, but also not to God. A congregation has not been entrusted to [him or her] in order that [he or she] should become its accuser before God and [humankind]." (quoted in The Contemplative Pastor, p.120)

Wow! Is he right? Or is he coming on a bit strong? It seems to me that I ought to be able to at least complain to God every once in a while, at least. I mean, okay, maybe not every day, but once a week, maybe?

I wonder who complains to God about me, though? I'm sure someone must. If not, I will. God knows someone needs to.


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