Pastor’s Blog #1: Abiding

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Pastor’s blog #1: Abiding

Talking with a dear friend about world conditions, local politics, and other topics, he mentioned the death of his wife, which I knew happened within this year.

“Was she sick long?” I asked. There was a pause, and then he, a pastor himself, said, “You know, I took a pastoral counseling course with the idea of making people feel better… and found out that my job was to make them feel worse.” His voice was cracking a bit by then. “ I may be ready for a bit of my own medicine.”

Just like that, among friends, when the moment is right, we go directly to the “hard stuff,” don’t we?

Every day we observe it’s hard to avoid the hard stuff in any kind of real conversing. “Feeling bad” is the only way to truth in these wide-ranging conditions and on these “shifting sands” everywhere around us.

I just learned, for instance, that our United Methodist logo, a black cross with a red flame, is offensive as a reminder of the Ku Klux Klan for a significant group of us. It’s no longer helpful to brush aside things such as this…and like the good counselor (friend or professional), we are called to stop in our tracks and listen, and wait, and respect our conversant’s effort to shelter a little in the hard fact of their soul … even as we allow ourselves the same as we listen and wait.

I believe this is our key discipleship right now. Demonstrations, vote-getting, and all sorts of essential work keeping society afloat and healing underway are crucial; but the humble, direct attentiveness to some other viewpoint than our own, and to the topic that still shakes a neighbor’s foundations, are God’s work right now

What do you think?

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