4.27.2005

I had an interesting conversation with someone from my congregation this morning. He was listening to classical music on his car radio and I remarked that I liked classical too. My station of choice was NPR, I told him. He remarked that he liked it as well, but that it could be a bit liberal, at times (with a smile on his face). I said, yes, but I was a bit liberal in some ways, too. He said that he could tell. When I asked how he could tell, he specifically mentioned my sermons.

I found this comforting. It meant that, in spite of how cautious I can sometimes be on touchy issues, someone was picking up on whatever hints I have been able to drop. Okay, it wasn't just comforting; it was thrilling. Not just that someone noticed, but the likelihood that others noticed too, but that they were, apparently (so far, anyway) okay with that.

When I have shared with some other pastor friends of mine, they have said (more than once) that perhaps I am not giving "my people" enough credit. This is probably so. They have also advised that if I want my congregation to go with me (wherever that is) that I shouldn't make a big deal of it in "all or nothing" sermons, but rather learn to drop these concerns in fitting places from time to time, in the middle of other, larger messages. Good advice, I think.

4.08.2005

It's 9:18 am. I should be working, but not yet. I am thinking (a dangerous thing). Every once in a while I go through this, this thinking thing. This is a time when I question whether or not there is somewhere else to be, whether or not there is something more to my calling I have yet to discover.

The thing that is on my heart once again is poverty. AIDS. Hunger. Disease. The things that happen in many places, but this morning (and lately) Africa has been on my heart. Blame it on Bono. Blame it on Jeff Sachs (The End of Poverty). Blame it on Jim Wallis (God' Politics and Sojourners). The poor are on my heart and I long to do more, to make more of my life and ministry.

The difficult thing as a pastor is realizing that, though virtually everyone I pastor would agree that ministering to the poor is the "Christian thing to do", I'm not sure how many would like the political answers and lifestyle challenges that come with that kind of a ministry and concern. I'm not sure how many of "my flock" are ready to go where I would like to go with this (though, I must admit, "where I would like to go" is still a bit foggy).

Is this something that can happen here and now? Or is God saying to me that the time to move on is drawing near?

Now, I know that all of my cool friends, especially those who already work among and for the poor and dispossesed, will tell me that what I do is important. I have no doubt that it is. The question is, is what I'm doing, what I'm supposed to be doing, now? Or is there a better place for me and a better person to pastor this church?