No one in his or her right mind wants my job. That is why only the called ones should do it. We clergy types are the true rebels. We are counter-cultural. If the culture wants to ignore the needs of those who are truly in need, we step in to help. If the culture preachers that salvation is found in social approval, we preach salvation is by the grace of God. If the culture claims God is only alive when we want God’s help, we claim Christ is Risen. If the culture says “give us a sure word we want to hear,” we proclaim God’s truths are higher than our own thoughts.
The role of the clergy person, pastor, deacon, teacher, elder, minister, or whatever we may be called by others is to live and embody the words of God in this world. We are to be prophets. Not fortune-tellers but those who know the way of the world is doomed to death and destruction. The paths we take to our incessant desires and indulgences help to destroy everything God has done. We are to be prophetic physicians who proclaim the world and its’ people can be healed. It is indeed God’s purpose to do so.
How I attempt to fulfill this ministry is by getting involved in the community around the church and calling the church to do the same. Through Soddy Daisy Food Bank I help feed the poor. The Soddy Daisy Ministerial Association is designed to help the other clergy in town. I keep an office where people may come and share whatever they are feeling. I practice friendship with the people I meet. I attempt to keep the way to God open for any who wish to find grace.
And yet most of what I try to say and do are not followed by others. Most Christians are distracted. Personally, I try to avoid this by not being a multi-tasker. I do not believe in having unrelated irons in the fire. I am a one-trick pony. I practice a sense of Buddhist mindfulness in the task at hand. I do one thing at a time. Yes, I know that the world does not work that way. So what? I am looking for the world’s ways to work right just once.
I am suspicious of the term “relevance.” Does this mean finding a way I like? Does it mean being something shallow, vacuous, and phony so other people can be shallow, vacuous, and phony? Could it be that I am supposed to give approval to attitudes that I know are false, wrong, and self-indulgent?
When I see Christians who have no need to make a living being consumed by things that are not God, I know how the church has lost the young people who are “busy” with so many other activities that they wonder if God is even real. “If God makes no difference in the lives of such believers, may be there isn’t one,” they seem to say.
The Church, even the local congregation, is not an end in itself. It is a community being transformed to the kingdom of God. If it is anything else, then it is dead and unfruitful for the kingdom of God.
Perhaps, I should be asking myself, “Why I do it?” I know the answer. Too many others are not hearing God. I must speak and act. So should we all.