Alright, something in the readings this morning bothers me. I know, that is probably not a surprise anymore, but this is for a different reason. This morning, I had to stop and look hard at what I'm doing with this blog.
Jesus said it, and that's why it bothers me. Now, before I get into what he said...no, let me just go ahead and do that. Here it is: "Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, 'You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don't you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? How is it you do not understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.' Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
I realize, as I mentioned the other day, that this blog goes out to over 800 potential readers, and that's only the ones I have direct access to. It's not the millions that hear Pat Robertson's voice by any means, but I am humbled by the fact that it goes out to as many as it does. I have also realized this week that folks are actually reading it, and pondering the things I write about. I give thanks for both of those, and do not take lightly the responsibility that comes with throwing my thoughts out every morning.
There are at least two things that I am passionate about in ministry, very passionate. One is including those that feel outcast. To me, that's where disciples are made. Church is not about, or even for, those on the inside. It's about reaching those that don't feel comfortable on the inside.
The other thing that I'm passionate about, is encouraging people to think about their faith. I grew up never having to question anything because I have been taught about the faith from the time I was knee high to a grasshopper. I was raised in the same faith tradition I'm in now, in the same type of setting, so there was no reason to question anything.
Then came seminary...and like a brick between my eyes, I was hit with ideas that had never crossed my mind, so I had to begin some very serious processing. For 33 years I'm not sure that I ever asked that first question about the faith, and suddenly, I had questions coming faster than I could process them, or even write them down.
As I think back to those first few semesters in seminary, I remember how unsettling it all was... "What do you mean God's not a man? Of course he is. An old white man with a long beard and a staff."..."What do you mean Christ was killed as an enemy of the state?"..."Religion is political?"..."No Rapture? Sure there's a rapture, right before the rest of the world goes to hell."...
Then I had to start thinking for myself,and when I did, I saw as many images of God as a mother as I had for God as a father. I began to understand first century politics and why Christ's death through crucifixion meant what it did. I saw, for the first time, the oppression of the mighty Roman Empire and how their "Pax Romana" was nothing more than propaganda used to keep the lowly Hebrews in line. I began to think about when our scriptures were written, who they were written to, and why they were written. And when I did, the meaning of Revelation changed...for me. So did the way Paul's letters, and even some of the gospel stories, read.
So, I guess what I'm saying here is this, take my words each morning for what they are. They are not yeast that I'm trying to work into your dough and cause you to throw out your beliefs. This is a place where I give you, the reader, a peek into my thoughts, my questions, and even my struggles. If the things I write cause you questions, shoot me a message and ask me to clarify or go a little deeper. If something I write upsets you, that was not the intention.
I will say, though, that if this blog causes even one person to give God and the institution of church another try, or if it causes even one person to begin digging deeper into their faith, it's done exactly what I had hoped it would do.