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Some things this Christian pastor is ‘for’

April 16, 2014

A Facebook friend proposed today that fellow Christians use social media only to proclaim what we are “for” on every day that includes a ‘4.’ That, he said, would still leave plenty of other days to point out our theological superiority to others, but at least we would hopefully hit a few days each month in which we would not tear each other down – the 4th, the 14th, the 24th.

I think you get the point. If you spend any time on Facebook or Twitter, there can be no doubt why nonChristians believe that Christians are, well … contentious, judgmental, anti-gay, too political … to name a few. And as I am writing this, I realize that I can no longer in good conscience say this is about those other Christians. I am part of the problem. Within me dwells a divisive spirit that sometimes comes out when I am having dialogue with people who challenge my faith/beliefs. So, in the words of many older saints I have heard over the years expound on the topic of sin, “I’m talkin’ about me!”

We Christians have an image problem. Of course, we will disagree among ourselves on many matters – sometimes spectacularly. And if you have read of the controversies involving the early church, or the squabble between Peter and Paul, you know that we come by it honestly. Yet our continued divisiveness and separation from one another over who is more “pure” – and the ways in which we disagree – act as a form of reverse evangelism, convincing the world that we have nothing more to offer than what the world already has seen. (The world already knows plenty about polarization and divisiveness and separation.)

So maybe it would be a good idea to commit ourselves to trumpeting what we are for – for a change. Some of the Church’s confessional statements certainly do this. And perhaps as individuals we should do it every day, instead of just once in a while. But then again, maybe that is too tall an order.

I have decided to take up my friend’s challenge, yet I know I will never remember to say what I am for on days with a 4. So, I thought I had better just get started on it today.

So here goes. As a Christian, and a pastor, here are some things I am for – realizing that I sometimes fail gloriously at living up to what I am about to proclaim:

– I am for a God who was at the beginning and who will be at the end and is bigger and better, more loving and inclusive than any of us can possibly imagine.
– I am for Jesus and for trying to love others the way he did.
– I am for grace for myself and others.
– I am for potluck dinners.
– I am for reconciliation to God and one another beyond what I can see and imagine and in ways that do not seem at all possible to achieve right now.
– I am for building relationships. Even if you don’t believe anything I believe. Perhaps especially if you do not believe anything I believe.
– I am for hope, even when it is hard to find.
– I am for serving others — especially the poor. No strings attached. (See the second ‘for’).
– I am for seeking the divine image of God in others. Every other.
– I am for reading the Bible with an open mind.
– I am for throwing wide open the doors of Christ’s Church to all people. And all means all.
– I am for social justice.
– I am for the resurrection.
– I am for mercy.
– I am for transformation.
– I am for the Holy Eucharist, as often as possible. And then more often.
– I am for the truth that forgiveness liberates us all.
– I am for trying to find ways for Christ’s Church to be more welcoming to people who are hurting, broken or who have been harmed by the Church.
– I am for community.
– I am for asking questions and leaving lots of room for others to do the same.
– I am for leaving the judgment to God.
– I am for trust – continually renewing my faith and trust in God to forgive me and carry me through even when I fail to live up to the words I proclaim. Because I have been known to fail – spectacularly.

So, I am wondering, fellow Christians: what are you for?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 17, 2014 12:02 am

    Today I am for remembering that Christ took care of all of our sins, big or small, one or 1,000.

  2. P A Clore permalink
    April 17, 2014 2:27 pm

    Reminds me of a song:

    Gather ’round me, everybody
    Gather ’round me while I’m preachin’
    Feel a sermon comin’ on me
    The topic will be sin and that’s what I’m ag’in’
    If you wanna hear my story
    The settle back and just sit tight
    While I start reviewin’
    The attitude of doin’ right

    You’ve got to accentuate the positive
    Eliminate the negative
    And latch on to the affirmative
    Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

    You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum
    Bring gloom down to the minimum
    Have faith or pandemonium’s
    Liable to walk upon the scene

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