We went to Ottawa on July 1 to catch some of the Canada Day celebrations. Here is our Prime Minister delivering his address to the crowd. Thanks to Andreas, my new friend from BC, for the use of this picture since I forgot my camera at home; plus he is just a lot taller than I am and actually managed to get shots of something other than the backs of people's heads. Yep, we were that close!
This afternoon I had another one of those interesting phone calls that only church administrators seem to get. A man called me to ask if our church was holy because he was looking for a holy church. I wasn't sure what he was looking for (what does holiness look like at first glance?). I suspect that though he will find our variegated group is far from perfect, he will be able to see Jesus and His holiness if he looks, because we make it a point to invite Jesus into our midst to change us and make us more like him.
Since I refused to give him a straight answer he asked if the pastor was a holy man, and when I mentioned that it was my husband and myself that pastor the church, he wanted to know what translation of the bible the pastor preached from. Why do I not see the connection between holiness and a particular translation? I should have perhaps let him know that I like to refer to the original Greek as much as possible or asked him, "Would that be a French or English bible you are asking about?" Unfortunately, all my good retorts only occurred to me an hour after I hung up the phone. I told him I was currently reading The Message but I had many versions of the Bible in my home that I refer to.
He said he would see me in two weeks and he would know a holy church when he sees it. Well, that makes one of us. Dean said I should have just answered, "No!" and left it at that. I am not sure what God wants to do for that man, but I do hope he encounters Jesus when he comes to visit our group, like I hope everyone does that walks into the room.
I find criticism of leaders all too common in our country and in our churches. Not that I want to be free from honest and corrective communication - not at all. In fact, if you know anything about me it is that I am always willing to learn and change. But we were not put on earth to correct one another or evaluate one another. We have mistaken criticism for that rare gift called discernment. Discernment separates life from death, truth from perversion, flesh from spirit. Criticism just points out shortcomings and does nothing about it. Any 5 year-old can do that.
I admire my husband who is a dynamic and wise leader. I respect PM Stephen Harper who is an honest and straightforward and often refreshing politician. God grant us all the grace to walk in integrity and offer encouragement and hope to each other instead of empty criticism.