Since I'm not preaching tomorrow, my weekly rhythm is off a bit. Usually at this time of day I'm "running" the script in my head. Seeing the moves (David Buttrick would be proud of me - no, probably not), and trying to bring the message alive in me.
Rest assured, if it ain't alive in me, it sure as the world won't be for you.
But today, my mind wanders on to other areas -
World Series -
Cardinals won, blah, blah, blah - there's a commercial running during the Series in which Tommy Lasorda is counselling a distraught fan who is quite literally up a tree and unwilling to come down. As he inquires to the woman below what the fella's problem is, she tells him that he's been up the tree since his team was eliminated from playoff contention. The point was to have him come down and "let's all go watch the World Series on TV." Of course, the guy up a tree is wearing a Cubs jersey - which means that he's been up that tree since, I don't know, maybe the first of June?
Cubs, Memphis Tigers, Democrats - I'm wondering if I'm being honest with myself about whether or not I exhibit masochistic tendencies.
Tennessee's Marriage Amendment -
On the signs for those who are proponents of this Constitutional Amendment, is the phrase, "Protect Marriage." The implication, of course, is that if gay and lesbian people are in committed, covenantal, legal relationships, that straight people who are married might decide to switch teams? Is that it? The sum total of intelligence in this fear-mongered, homophobic effort to employ noble, to say nothing of sacred, language as a tool to discriminate is disgraceful. It's also a clever diversion from other issues. I'll address the issue of committed relationships in a future post.
I've exercised my right to vote early. It's done. Don't pat me on the back, mind you, I'm always motivated to steer clear from my actual polling place where I threw my fit a few years ago. I look at it this way - my candidates' winning or losing is not the imperative here, retaining my right to complain is, because I've exercised my duty as a citizen.
Go vote, please.
Go vote for the candidate and party of your choice - but go vote.
I received a flyer in the mail today from the Republican Party that said that there is some one from the Middle East trying to call someone in Memphis to set up a terrorist attack, and, thank God for the Republicans, they're going to stop it. But, if you vote for the Democrats (too late, already did), you can all but guarantee that attacks will happen.
To that I'll say this - whatever remains of this republic when my grandchildren are grown may well be measured by those who refuse to allow terror, fear, and the politicization both to divide a nation. How dare anyone suggest that one group of Americans will protect you and the other group doesn't give a damn. This is, I fear, the Civil War of the 21st Century.
Prophetic Imperative -
Some sisters and brothers who come to my congregation and then leave it, and others I have served in the past question me sometimes about my overt declaration of issues related to Church and Society, and government in particular.
"Isn't the role of the preacher to be neutral?" Nope.
And any clergy who tries to play it down the middle is disavowing that to which they have made promises.
The issue that drives any clergy person, as one who leads a congregation, is to hold the line on what is pastoral and what is prophetic. Too few of us want to go the way of the prophet. Life is a whole lot easier if we can create an atmosphere were we all get along.
The prophet isn't Democrat or Republican.
The prophet looks at absolute power's absolute corruption, and is obliged by the God who called them to say, in the words of the prophet Nathan to King David - "You are the Man."
There is no joy or satisfaction in that. It is as requisite to my call as is the making of disciples for Jesus Christ.
It must be done.
The sad part, of course is that history's track record of dealing with those who confront power isn't favorable for the prophet.
Either you stand firm in the knowledge that you are faithful, or you can always join the Cubs fan up in that tree and sulk.
There are days when that is the tempting choice.