Skip to main content

take me to your leader


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.

Comments

Terry said…
Dear Matte,

Thanks again for a great post. I've met people like the man you described. I used to feel very threatened by them and become defensive and angry. Now I just feel sad for them and don't engage, which is not much more loving than my previous reaction.

If I thought such a person would listen, could listen, I'd tell him that Jesus and his grace are there for him when he's done with judging others and redeeming himself with his own ideas of holiness.

-ttj

Popular posts from this blog

what does the cross mean?

Words which we use a lot can sometimes become divested of their depth of meaning. In the Christian tradition, we talk about the cross a lot. We see visual representations of the cross in prominent places in our gathering spaces, we wear crosses around our necks, some get crosses tattooed on their bodies. The cross is a ubiquitous symbol in Christianity, so lately I have been asking myself, what exactly does the cross mean? For the most part, the cross as portrayed in contemporary Christianity is a beautiful thing, festooned with flowers and sunsets and radiant beams of light (just google cross or cross coloring page). But in the first century, the cross was a symbol of disgrace. To the Roman empire, this ignoble instrument of death was for those who were traitors and enemies of the state. We are many centuries removed from this view of the cross as the locus of torture and death and shame. The fact that Christianity has made the cross a symbol of hope and beauty is a good thing, but p…

stained and broken

Recently, I was asked to speak at another church, and the passage of Scripture which was assigned to me was John 1:6-8. "There came a man commissioned and sent from God, whose name was John. This man came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe [in Christ, the Light] through him. John was not the Light, but came to testify about the Light." (John 1:6-8, Amplified Bible)

The first question I usually ask when reading something in the Bible is this: What does this tell me about God? Two things are immediately obvious - God is a sending God and God wants to communicate - but there is a third which merits a bit more attention. Though God could communicate directly with humanity, sending truth and love to every individual via some divine mind-and-heart-meld, God chooses to send messengers. Not only that, instead of introducing Jesus directly to the world as the main event, an opening, warm-up act appears as a precursor. What is the point of incorporati…

the songs we sing

NOTE: I am going to make some pretty strong statements below, but understand that it is my way of taking an honest, hard look at my own worship experience and practice. My desire is not to be overly critical, but to open up dialogue by questioning things I have assumed were totally fine and appropriate. In other words, I am preaching to myself. Feel free to listen in.

---------------------

When I am in a church meeting during the singing time, I sometimes find myself silent, unable to get the words past my lips. At times I just need a moment of stillness, time to listen, but other times, the words make me pause because I don't know that I can sing them honestly or with integrity. This is a good thing. We should never mindlessly or heartlessly sing songs just because everyone else is. We should care deeply about what we say in our sung, communal worship.

At their best, songs sung by the gathered body of Christ call to life what is already in us: the hope, the truth, the longing, t…