Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cowardly, cautious or just callous?

Good morning God,
I was more than a little shocked when I read an article which effectively described the Methodist Church's decision to not revisit the resolutions on human sexuality as a form of cowardice. It claimed that as a church we are too scared to have the necessary debate because it might be too damaging to us...
IS this true? Are we really cowards or justly cautious or - worst of all - are we perhaps just callous - indifferent to the insult, to the very real pain and suffering of those we discriminate against by leaving our existing regulations as they are? Have we become pharisaic? More concerned with the minutia of the Church's self-preservation than the proclamation of the Kingdom and of the good new of salvation for ALL in Christ?
God forgive me - I think we are.
But that set me to wondering.. what of me? What are the subjects I have been avoiding because I like to be liked or want to be included in?
Ironically I think it's YOU God.. I think I avoid talking about YOU for two main reasons
The first is because it gets me into trouble.
I WANT to talk about you, but people seem to think that that is just not the right thing for a minister to do. Theology (which is the name that other people give to these conversations) is too frightening for the Church to do anymore... Apparently talking about you (or even to you) is considered too difficult, too academic and too - well - time consuming, and unnecessary to real worship and love..! So I get into trouble when I do it, accused of being too cerebral or too academic and not really having any faith, as though faith and theology are polar opposites! So I live my own Nicodemus life of retreating to night time conversations with those who are still seeking to know the truth whilst playing the role in the day with those who wear the same robes.

The second reason follows on from the first - my wanting to talk about you is obviously a bit of an embarrassment to others (perhaps because so many people are scared that they cant).
Whenever I ask at meetings - what is of God in this? - people mumble things about priorities or budgets, or projects and clusters... And in order to not seem a complete idiot for Jesus, I nod sagely as though I understand - and shut up about YOU not the Church, needing to be in our thinking and in our acting - not just somewhere in our strategy.

Am I just being cowardly - no.. if I'm honest I'm getting quite callous about it. The proof of it is that I can actually read through a whole conference agenda and even a full set of Methodist Council briefing papers without getting angry or even saddened at how few mentions there are of your people, your grace, the gospel, scripture or the need for peace, reconciliation and justice. I read the management-speak and the business profiles and simply acknowledge that the general consensus of opinion is that we really don't need to discuss these things with reference to YOU any more God - not now we've got it all under clustered control with our reds and greens almost all in place now. But where was the good news - Ahh yes of course - in the balanced budget.

So here's my real question to you God - how can I move from cowardly, cautious and callous into confidently courageous?
Is it possible? Is there still time to recover some of my confidence in speaking of Christ?
I might not have quite managed Peter's three denials in my avoidance of certain conversations, but I do want, nonetheless to assure you - Yes Lord - You know that I love you...
But grant me please the courage and confidence that I once had to speak your name boldly, and dare to ask - and what is of God in this..?

No comments:

Post a Comment