Saturday, October 02, 2010


It has taken me a decade to realize ... no, to admit what God has been quietly whispering to me all along: that my 'removal' from pastoral ministry was His merciful, if radical sabbatical  from a spreading and spiritual disease of idolatry. 

Pastors and church leaders can be the last to acknowledge the truth of this disease, they are so self-convinced that the organization is really The Body. 

It is not. It is a human organization, often disinterested in asking the question as to how much it is Real, and how much it resembles The One Whose Body it is supposed to be ... if it is indeed really a 'She', or if it is just an 'it'.

The church, in fact, can be very nervous regarding questions of Truth and penetrating self-reflection altogether. They are too revealing: Do you really see Jesus when you look at church? 

The book on the right is just off the press, written by a brave and passionate, loving friend of The Church (capitals intended). He just died last April, but for several years ministered online as 'The Internet Monk'  to hundreds of thousands of people who have left the church, unable to find spiritual life in a human organization.

Imagine that.

For a decade I have been learning how much I am not alone in getting this message that questions are not welcome in church; that they do not affirm ministry. That is not a message from God. Nor is it the teaching method of Jesus, Who asked more questions in His earthly ministry than the organization in His day could endure. Stifling questions is a management technique of an organization to which, if you really want to belong, you have to conform to the expectations of those who are in control.

Guess Whose control is not regarded there.

The point of raising questions is not to criticize or to urge others to abandon the church, but to know The Church and hold her accountable to Her Lover and Her Lord.

That will always require that She insist on the proverbial 'second opinion', and not rest until She get it from The Great Physician Himself.

Got any questions for the church? It would be interesting, and a Good Thing, I think, to really hear them.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Light Of Small Things

Day has its sun
And night has the stars
But God’s best light is born by candle.

Upon the world’s great, gaudy glare
He sets the little taper of your self to stand
And breathes the smouldering wick to flame
So never to go out again.

And when the sun has run its course
And all the stars have ceased to burn
His lighted candles will remain
To make an endless beam of Him.

Day has its sun
And night has the stars
But God’s Own Light is shown by candle –

A stable, feedbox, peasant life,
hands labor-scarred, Truth shod in sandals
and on a crossed wooden altar lifted high.
God lights the world through such small candles. 

(Apologies to M. Madeleva for filching and refining this work of hers. I think she would approve.)