Tag Archives: Pastor

when it’s worth saying

Screen Shot 2013-07-01 at 8.34.07 PM

She held her hands over her mouth
most of the time she talked,
which I’ve been trained to know means
she’s not sure about what she’s saying
and she isn’t sure it’s worth someone else hearing

I find out soon enough
that her pastor tells her she can’t get divorced
even after she knows she’s gotten
an STD from him
a reputation from him
a history and an internalized notion of not being enough for him

but she can’t get divorced from him
so my only hope
and maybe her only hope is
to help her feel strong enough
to know she is strong enough
to stand up to him and maybe
to stand up to her pastor

to say that she thinks
just maybe
even though all of her life has suggested otherwise
that she is worth standing up for herself
and that she is worth having someone else stand up for her. ‘

poverty and power and religion and resources
blur the lines between
what God desires for his people
and what his people end up living through.

and it is, in fact, his people who are called
to put up a fight.
And we, then, cover our mouths as well
because we aren’t sure about what we’re saying
and if it’s worth someone else hearing.

djordan
Summar Dr.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

if you know these things…

maundy-thursday-2013

 

If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. + John 13. 17

 

I remember last year sitting in a Maundy Thursday foot washing service. We were at a Methodist church in my neighborhood sharing the duties for a night of Room in the Inn, an emergency shelter program that houses our community’s homeless in churches across the city every night of the year.

I watched a friend of mine who grew up with my grandfather wash the feet of the adopted child of good friends of man. An old man hunches over to wash the feet of a young man who has become a part of a family I care a great deal about. I remember sitting in that room of the sanctuary off of Forest watching my grandfather’s high school classmate wash the feet of my friends’ adopted son. I was sitting in the pews next to our homeless guests who had decided to join us.

Something felt very surreal and very holy.

Tonight, one year later, I found myself sitting in a Maundy Thursday service at the church I have called home for the last several months. I had my feet washed by a very good friend, and found myself remembering one year ago and the ragtag company and heavenly connections that found themselves mixed together in that sanctuary dimly lit observing that evening where that last supper was had in that upper room.

And I know, more than anything, that there is something very serious about this ancient practice that really makes no sense. Water poured over my feet tonight and poured over the feet of the son of friends one year ago by a classmate of my grandfather whom I miss deeply.

And there is some connection with the water and the flesh and the candlelight of what it means to lean into some way of life that makes no sense, and yet not leaning into makes even less sense when we still ourselves to try to evaluate it. And I watch online as friends ands acquaintances wait for pastors and priests and authors to tell them how to draw lines and what to think and where to make a stand on issues of politics and moral legislation.

And I wonder what it would mean to hear men and women push, more than anything, to follow Christ into the practice of washing the feet of those who will betray us, those who will deny us, those who will hurt us and embarrass us. There is a sense of fake honor in standing up against those who disagree with us, but there  is a sense of real humility in washing the feet of those we desperately want to join us int he journey in the dark. this journey in the dark that we hope, Lord help us, is a journey toward the light.

To know is one thing. To wash the feet of another is wholly other. To humble ourselves and serve others in our own awkwardness and powerlessness is wholly other. We can know a great deal, or think we know a great deal, about what it means to follow Christ, but to actually do it is wholly other.

Beware those who announce they are doing the hard thing by drawing lines in the sand. And pay careful attention to those who say little and wash feet much.

To know is not to be blessed.

If you know these things, and do them, you are blessed.

djordan
Pine Tree Dr.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

divine proxy | intro to a series

The notion is not a new one, but it appears to be one seldom discussed explicitly, unless I am missing the entire conversation altogether (please let me know if I am). I want to spend a few posts on the idea of divine proxy. I hit the concept in “Congregation as Expert; a New Way Forward” during the “Culture and Crises” lecture series. It’s something that lurks behind practitioners in the helping fields, especially those practitioners who are Christians, as we falsely imagine that we are the changing force in the lives of our clients.  It’s something that lurks in church offices and behind the desks and efforts of those who try to help and change situations being faced by others.

Today, the idea itself could use explanation, however brief.

Divine proxy is the idea that when someone is speaking from authority, whether professional or religious, whether self given, institutionally given, or transcendently given, they are then interacted with, heard or perceived as becoming the official voice of the source of the authority.

So, …

a therapist who speaks on matters of relationships can become the final authority on a specific relationship.

a pastor who speaks on matters of moral or spiritual issues can become the actual voice of God on specific matters with individual people.

So, …

if a therapist has a misguided view, or is offering a personal, cultural or biased view on someone else’s specific relational situation, the someone heeds the advice as fact, and acts accordingly whether or not everything in them says otherwise and the result is damaging and more disabling. Or maybe they do heed advice even though they feel otherwise, and it is helpful and healing and the person comes to know that to be true later. Or, the person finally hears what deep down he or she knew all along about the situation, and they are set free because the professional speaking offers a more authoritative voice than the person views his or her own voice as being.

If a pastor has a misguided view, or is offering a personal, cultural, or biased view on someone else’s specific moral or spiritual issues, the someone heeds the view as fact––from God rather than from the individual––and acts accordingly whether or not everything in her or him says otherwise and the result is damaging and more disabling. Or maybe the advice is heeded even though the individual feels otherwise, and it is helpful and healing and the person comes to know that to be true later. Or, the person finally hears what deep down he or she knew all along about the situation, and finally freedom is experienced because a pastor speaking offers a more authoritative voice than the person views his or her own voice as being.

We can quickly see how the influence of authority gives incredible weight, whether someone turns a back and walks away from the perceived authority and the authority represented forever, or someone follows the authority because it is seen as direct from the authority source, and therefore should be heeded.

While it may sound pointless or semantic, the issue quickly becomes incredibly personal and incredibly immediate. I think about people who experience great healing because a pastor sees the presence of divine proxy, and takes great caution to express anger and action toward injustice and evil.  I think about the latest story coming out of a megachurch about a spiritual abuse and misogyny that is only headed because the pastor has an unquestioned direct link to God, and questioning is called disloyalty to him…and God. I think about other church experiences where people continued to go home to abusive homes because the pastor says the wife should act more like Jesus to make the husband come around.

So it’s not pointless, and it’s not semantic, and it’s worth the time to consider, even if it’s only mine. So, the first time for a series on mosthopeful.com. We’ll see what happens.

Next up: divine proxy | stories of the phenomenon

djordan
Pine Tree

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,