Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ramblings on Shane C., my call, and CHURCH

This weekend I was honored to listen to Shane Claiborne talk about his life, grace, reconciliation, and God's radical love.  The thing about Shane is that he lives what he says he believes.  This is something that puts a lump in my throat. 

While we were at the conference, I said to Merkin "This is stuff that will get me kicked out of church if I speak it on Sunday" (only partly in jest).  The more Shane spoke the more I wondered if the corporate church can be the CHURCH in a radical way, in a Jesus way, in a living out loud sort of way.  As much as I want to say yes, I'm not sure it's possible. 

I can't quote precisely, nor confidently say this came from Bonhoeffer but he supposedly said that pastors/preachers cannot depend on the church for their income--it's too compromising.  I know this to be true for myself.  What I long to say, I hold back out of fear.  Sometimes it's fear of being written off, sometimes its fear of hurting someone else, sometimes its fear that it will get me kicked out of the church.

I've been struggling lately with my call.  I'm questioning if I can be, should be an ordained pastor in the UMC.  I'm wondering if I should even be a pastor in any denomination unless I'm preaching as a weekend gig, where I'm earning money building tents or something during the week.

This weekend wasn't much help.  Yet, I do believe that if we don't have anyone inside the church calling us to task, calling us to be accountable to Christ Jesus then there is no way the church will be CHURCH.  I do want to be that person/preacher/christian!

I'm grateful that I'm not preaching this weekend.  It gives me time to think.  Before going to WOW I was planning a sermon series using Adam Hamilton's Enough.  I think I'll be adding some radical Shane to it and ask some of these questions to the church.  How else can we be the CHURCH?  Gotta start somewhere!


Terri said...

See the thing is we live in a cultural of the professional - we pay our doctors who tell us the hard truth; we pay therapists who lead us to hard truths; we pay attorney's who, well who try to help us find justice when we've been wronged; I think clergy should be paid too to help people find their truth in God, their spiritual truth - that we too are professionals.

That may not always be a good thing, being professional, but it is the culture we live in and its how we get respect for the message of truth we bring.

true, many people in congregations want clergy who just enable them to feel safe and be comfortable - and that is only part of the Gospel -

arriving at the place where clergy can help people find a deeper truth, one that challenges people while still loving them, is also our job - but that one requires a deeper level of trust with the congregation - and the ability to tell the hard stuff with love and not judgement. People grow and change over time, slowly, but ultimately through relationship - not words. Even through relationships that involve payment and professionalism.

Patrick Moore said...

Stephanie , got messed up too at
WOW. Never discount holy discontent. Follow deep calling. It pisses off everybody else.