Saturday, July 05, 2014

More on the ministry thing...

This first Saturday of July is a beautiful morning in Southwest Missouri. Just 69F at 9AM with a breeze rustling through the trees. It will be warmer later and the week to come holds temps in the 90s for us, but it is a beautiful morning as I enjoy my coffee on the deck with my computer in front of me.

In what is becoming a normal situation, a red wasp is hovering around on the inside of my screened in habitat. So far, they haven't bothered me and so I haven't bothered them.

I am a little disappointed (though not very surprised) that I didn't get any pastoral feedback on my last post. I am thankful for my one friend's comments. I really am a little frustrated about ministry and wondering just how all of it (not just my part) will play out in our society in the coming months and years.

As far as my part is concerned, is there room in conservative Christian theology for a socially liberal person like me? It appears that there is less room than there once was. In the past, I have used forums such as Out of My Hat and Facebook to share my social and political views, as well as my spiritual beliefs. Unfortunately, I believe that has been a part of my lower numbers of readers and fewer invitations to preach in churches--in spite of the fact that I have never used the pulpit to share anything other than the Gospel.

I've toned down the rants quite a bit and have really limited my Facebook posts and comments...perhaps too late. However, I have to admit that doing that makes me feel like a bit of a hypocrite. It's not the real me. Of course, the real me is kind of a jerk and I'm certain that I don't want most people (there are a few that I'd like to unleash Ugly John on) to see the real me, but I don't feel free to completely express myself within the highly judgmental community of Christians.

In my heart, I often feel like dumping the whole concept of church as we know it -- or as we've created it to be. I wish that I could just be free to live out life as I believe Jesus instructs us in the Bible and share that with others. I know that you are going to say that I can, but it is simply not that simple.

If I come out and disagree with you on the SCOTUS ruling of the Hobby Lobby case, I'm judged for it.
If I say the pro-life/pro-choice debate bears no weight in my political decision making, I'm consenting to murder.
If I say that I am not in favor of legislation that defines marriage as a union between a man and woman, I am condoning sin.
If I follow the Bible and claim faith in Jesus as the only means of salvation and yet fail to live up to your particular set of legalistic rules for life, I am a heretic.

If I could live out my retirement as a hermit on a tropical island, I probably would.
But in the end, I don't know how I could face my God and say that my comfort was more important than telling people about His great love for them.

Maybe the preaching thing is over-rated. I just don't know. On Sundays that I'm not preaching or teaching, I feel like I'm missing out on some great work; that somebody needs to hear what God has called me to share. I wonder if I have been a poor steward of my gifts and squandered them on sharing my feelings and my message rather than sharing His love and His message.


John <><


Anonymous said...

John, you have been called to spread God's Word (as we all have). Be who God wants you to be. Be the best you! You do not have to answer for anyone else's choices. Continue to share His Love. Your sermons and lessons have always been music to my ears.

John Hill said...

Thanks for the encouragement!

Fran said...

Wow..John, I have been thinking about this ever since I first read it a few days ago. Personally, I know we disagree on a lot politically...probably not as much as we once did...BUT..I also know we agree on quite a lot spiritually. Some might find that odd...just because I have different thoughts on some of the issues... I have never questioned your right to have them...or express them. I also know that you have touched many with your ministries. Guess, I just don't think the two things are mutually exclusive. Personally, I think some of the stuff..we Christians find to fuss about must really break God's heart. He is a really big God and doesn't need us fussing over stuff that He can take care of. I think He is much more interested in how we treat each other and how we walk it all out. There is an audience for what you have to share if God has given you that message. It may not be in the mainstream church, but it is there. I guess it is up to you to decide if that is okay. As the commenter above said..God created you as you are..your views are not a surprise to yourself. Can't wait to see what God does with you next!!!