After an Easter concert at a public venue on Sunday, I’ve been thinking about Bono and U2 a lot. Especially, on how one can be distinctly who you are and yet inclusive to everyone else in one’s message and approach.
It’s Lent I’ve always had issues with. I gave it up … self-denial is where I come a cropper. My idea of discipline is simple – hard work – but of course that’s another indulgence.
Then comes the dying and the living that is Easter.
It’s a transcendent moment for me – a rebirth I always seem to need. Never more so than a few years ago, when my father died. I recall the embarrassment and relief of hot tears as I knelt in a chapel in a village in France and repented my prodigal nature – repented for fighting my father for so many years and wasting so many opportunities to know him better. I remember the feeling of “a peace that passes understanding” as a load lifted. Of all the Christian festivals, it is the Easter parade that demands the most faith – pushing you past reverence for creation, through bewilderment at the idea of a virgin birth, and into the far-fetched and far-reaching idea that death is not the end. The cross as crossroads. Whatever your religious or nonreligious views, the chance to begin again is a compelling idea.
I’m doing a quick read of one of Ron’s books now. Good stuff. smooth read.
The narrative pattern and rhythm of Gen 1-2 was God naming things, separating, and pronouncing them good. There is one “not good” thing and that is that Adam is alone. So God makes for Adam a mate. Interesting in the narrative is God’s invitation to Adam to name and separate the animals. The intimation seems to be that Adam is being invited into the very activities that had in the previous narrative been the domain of God alone.
One thing however Adam IS NOT invited to do and that is to pronounce things “good” or, for that matter, “not good.” In fact God is so concerned that Adam and Eve NOT make such pronouncements that he tells them to do whatever they want in the garden, to eat at any restaurant and order off any menu, except one..the tree of knowledge of good and not good (evil).
In other words God has reserved the pronouncement of good and not good, of judging between, of drawing boundary lines of in and out, the domain of God alone. It is not something humanity has been invited to share.
Benefitting from links from someone else 🙂
I agree . . . of course, specifics are unique for each pastor! 🙂
Professional clergy are in constant danger of being so consumed by their congregational duties that ministry in their local neighborhood is minimized or neglected altogether. The demands of the institution press upon the pastor with a vengeance. This often leaves the pastor, as well as the congregation, un-engaged and isolated from their wider community. This drift towards an inward focus must be deliberately resisted.
In the 1940’s Dietrich Bonhoeffer noted “The church is only the church when it exists for others.” So among other things he suggests, “clergy must live solely on the free-will offerings of their congregations, or possibly engage in some secular calling” (Letters and Papers from Prison). This proposal is radical, still every pastor should consider the spirit of Bonhoeffer’s words and choose to engage the neighborhood. The possibilities are many: serve as a police or fire chaplain, join a service club, meet regularly with other ministers, get involved in community efforts, serve the poor
Fascinating . even thought I’m not particularly drawn into the debate. The distinction is helpful I guess.