Sunday, September 28, 2014

Pert Near A Man of the Cloth

Hours upon hours upon hours of phone conversations and face to face discussions have chased me back to the quiet solitude of the Blog----Cheaper Than Therapy.

It has indeed been a crazy few months. Some of you know. Most of you are unaware. Over the last few months, I've been preaching for a small, local congregation. Stop it! There's no need to LOL and take shots. I've heard all the quips and have even taken a few jabs at myself in the mirror.

The reasons for accepting this challenge are many and some of them are not easily explained. First and foremost, I was ASKED. It REALLY is that simple! I was asked to be of service and I agreed to do it. Nothing more. Nothing less. I spend most of my days in an earnest attempt to do the next, right, apparent thing in front of me. This request seemed to meet that criteria and I took on the task with all the enthusiasm I could muster.

It was not easy. I own a small company and have to work every day. As I rode around in my little truck, I would meditate on possible ideas for Sunday. At some point on Saturday, I would try to get some sort of an outline on the computer. I would always be up by 6 AM on Sunday to finish up what I had obviously not done the day before. After lunch on Sunday, I would sleep ALL afternoon. I found the exercise to be emotionally and physically exhausting.

The congregation rallied around me and was in the process of taking this thing to the next level.  Of course, there was one naysayer. But he only opposed me because he wanted the job. We (the congregation and I) were in discussions to fulfill a life-long desire of mine and make me a full time preaching minister. It was SO close it was almost surreal.

I QUIT today. I ended my sermon by saying that it would be my last time to stand behind that pulpit. Teressa was the only one in the room that knew I was going to do it. I am sad. I am disheartened. I'm a little discouraged. But I am NOT bitter. I am grateful. I am thankful. The lessons learned will last a lifetime.

I will close this out by making a few random observations with no apparent logical progression:

1) I owe an amends to EVERY preacher that I have terrorized over the years. I have now had "an apple out of that sack" and I shutter to think of comments that I've made to preachers over the years.

2) Most religious people are very comfortable "playing church" and they don't bristle at alternate suggestions. They don't even hear them to begin with.

3) Even in churches not given to "ceremony," the desire for Clergy is still very prevalent.

4) Evidently, 99% of preachers in the business are making NO practical application of scripture. I would make very simple applications (what this text means at 8 AM on Monday). Even the "lifers" responded like it was ideas they had NEVER heard.

5) Christians are just as "self-centered", often times, even more so than non-Christians. I don't blame them, fault them, or judge them. Bless their hearts! Their denial is SO strong. They truly have no idea that most of their time is spent in useless contemplation of their very own navels.

I grew to love these people and although they started from a position of tolerance, they grew to love me. I will be in prayer for them tonight and in the days ahead.

I was "pert near a Man of the Cloth." In the end, RELIGION got in the way. It's not a new problem. It goes back thousands of years. Sadly, the biggest obstacle standing between us and God is very often NOT's Religion. May God forgive us!