Remain Until You Leave

It is the only way we survive this life. You see, we are asked, expected, to love people deeply. And then a day comes, like ripping a bandaid off, when we stop loving that group of people and turn around and start loving another group of people, just as deeply. I know the theology behind this. I know the discipline, and it is a discipline I am called to. But that doesn’t make the reality any easier to live. So when we know we are leaving, we have to start giving ourselves the space we need to survive this life. We have to start making the transition from one people to another.

A Tale of Two Charges

And so yeah, there was that banner, flying for a month across the street.  It was the first I had ever heard of Pastor Appreciation Month, so I thought for a bit it was something that particular church cooked up. Maybe that’s what some of my people thought too. Except Google exists. And Facebook exists. So that delusion didn’t last long. So I went one long month, no cards or emails, but with my encouragement file on my desk instead of tucked away. It was hard. I know I shouldn’t care about such things, but when it is waving in your face, it is a little hard to ignore.”

Practicing What I Preach... While I Preach

“And yet, in the midst of such exciting work, I have been personally assailed. This past year has probably been my most difficult year ever, wracked with grief and guilt and loss and change, and so much more. It has threatened to derail my faith. It was such an ironic position to be in, to be going around teaching people how to grow in their discipleship at the same time as mine was so far off track. But just over a month ago, it occurred to me I could do something about it. I could practice what I preach.”

Don't Judge Me

That is what we do. We stand in line at the store and look in the shopping carts of the people ahead of us, and no matter what they have in there, we judge. But then if we see them use the SNAP EBT card, we feel entitled to judge.

How Do We Understand Symbolism?

Many [symbols] are written as something called hidden transcripts. Hidden transcripts appear to say one thing to the public, but for those who are savvy, for those who have followed the clues and have knowledge to understand what is really being said, those public declarations say something else entirely. They say, “I am done following a corrupt and contaminated empire that is more interested in preserving power than in serving the greater good.”

Where's My Invitation?

This woman knows I live an hour from Little Rock. She also knows I am a United Methodist pastor…. She knows I am fully invested in my denomination, and she knows I can’t live out my call in her denomination. And yet, despite all that, she invited me to her church anyway.

Methodists: sit up and take note. 

The Uncommon Common

“I did get up and go to church. I sat next to people I sit next to every week. Not one of them, except the people who came in the same car as me and the pastor who presided over communion, know I am a survivor. So no one knew to check on me. This community has left me to wither and die on the vine. They have left me feeling like I have more in common with people in bed suffering from depression than with people who have hope in resurrection.”