27 April 2010

Transparently Overwhelmed

We are out of internet at the Lutheran Center this morning, so I've been working at home, doing the work that requires being connected so I can work unconnected this afternoon. Thus far I have
  • planned our final worship service of the semester, downloaded the worship plan and powerpoint slides, and begun assembling the show for Sunday morning;
  • replied to various emails that need replying, cleaned out my inbox and tried to catch up on Facebook as much as possible;
  • started working on my sermon for Sunday by perusing an article or two at Textweek and Working Preacher; and
  • last but definitely not least, read through the growing list of blogs I follow.
It is this last that has me overwhelmed today. Sometimes, when it's been a couple of days since I've caught up, I realized I haven't missed a lot. Today that was definitely not the case.
  • Susan at Pretty Good Lutherans had a number of excellent posts, including one about the recent brouhaha at Augsburg Fortress Publishers and their Board meeting this past weekend.
  • Tripp is pondering community and solitude.
  • Milton preached a sermon I wish I'd heard live, and linked to an incredible NPR story on the Hubble Telescope.
  • Coffeepastor is preparing for his sabbatical, which makes me envious, but he also posted a preview of an upcoming movie that seems as though it will be a must-see for anyone who calls themselves a Christian.
I haven't posted much lately, for many reasons. Primary among them has been an ongoing sense of being overwhelmed by many things. Ainsley's surgery certainly limited our ability to do anything but tread water the past few weeks, and the ongoing, important work of ministry needed to be handled as well. I am, after all, first and foremost a pastor to a campus ministry community (well, okay, first and foremost I'm a child of God, then a husband, then a father, then a pastor, but I digress...). So in the midst of being overwhelmed by life and work, I've been away from things here.

There's another reason I haven't posted lately, a reason with which I've been struggling for over a month now. I was asked to refrain from posting about The Unbloggableness. The words "veiled public comments" were used. Not the kind of thing one wants to hear, obviously, and so I've been mulling it over in my head these past few weeks, wondering if the accusation is justified.

In the end, I'm not sure that it is. It depends upon your point of view, I guess, and from mine I'd say the line hasn't been crossed. Others can certainly disagree. Heaven knows there have been more things I've wanted to say here, but haven't, because that would be crossing the line.

The last thing anyone of good conscience wants to do is contribute more dysfunction to an already unhealthy situation. I don't think I've done that thus far, but obviously some do. I'm not so concerned about their thoughts on the matter, but I am concerned about the integrity of what I say and do here, so it's been a matter of a lot of thought lately.

I started blogging because I thought that perhaps I had some things to say that were worth hearing. The subtitle of the blog says it all: I am a man seeking to follow Christ in the real world. This has never been about making myself look good to the world, or getting therapy on the cheap at others' expense: it has always been about sharing the struggle of following after Jesus as the imperfect man that I am. I'm convinced that many of our struggles in the church have to do with a marked lack of transparency about who we are as Jesus' followers. Like my brother Rich once sang, "Oh, Lord, it's hard to be like Jesus." I believe one of the reasons people are abandoning the church is because we pretend to be who we aren't, and seek to protect our power rather than live in repentance and forgiveness with one another. All of us, including myself, wholeheartedly jump into the "victim complex" at times, because it's such a comfortable place to be. If it has seemed as though I've done that here, I apologize and ask for your forgiveness - my intent has always been honesty and transparency, not manipulation and craven appeals for attention. It's part of the peril of blogging honestly, I guess - somehow it always looks as though you're exposing yourself, because the really true stuff always comes out raw and bleeding no matter how you finesse it.

In these overwhelming times, may you be transparent. You are a child of God and, though you are flawed and imperfect, you are beloved and cherished. Keep following after Jesus, don't pretend to be something you're not, and love one another to the best of your ability. And may the peace of God, which truly does surpass all human understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, friends.

Grace & peace,

1 comment:

  1. I was all ready to do a drive-by read. "Yep. Been there, done that."

    But then, damn you, you reached right through the screen and pointed at the hole in my soul.

    Thanks, by the way.