Better suited?

Readings: Psalm 21; Isaiah 41:14-20; Romans 15:14-21

…from Jerusalem and as far around as Illiricum I have fully proclaimed the good news of Christ. Thus I make it my ambition to proclaim the good news, not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him shall see, and those who have never heard of him shall understand.” Romans 15:19b-21

“Well, that is just sin.” This was the answer a retired pastor gave when the president of the seminary said that perhaps clergy from his denomination were called to serve educated, middle class and wealthy churches. In fairness to the seminary president, I think he meant that the training the seminary provided was geared toward those groups.

In fairness to the retired pastor, such a sentiment is just sin – sin as in missing the point in some crucial way, heading in the wrong direction even with the best of intentions. The point isn’t to find the most comfortable match between a pastor and congregation, or between the educational backgrounds of congregants and seminarians. The point is to share the astonishing truth that God loves us. The point is to encourage one another to live in that love, and to love and serve all of God’s beloved children. See God in Christ! Listen to him! Everything else is a side issue.

If I take the life and words of Jesus seriously, I have to admit that it was usually the strangers and foreigners and the needy and uneducated who recognized God-With-Us. If this is true, I suspect that those who shall see, and those who shall understand aren’t necessarily the ones who are familiar with church and its customs and leaders. If this is true, Paul served the ones best equipped to recognize Jesus when they met him. Perhaps he thought his the easier road…

Come, Lord Jesus, Come. Give me eyes to see you and ears to hear your voice. I don’t want to miss you.

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I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

2 thoughts on “Better suited?”

  1. Amen–and–the elite, the wealthy, the well-educated are often very poor in many other ways and need Christ so much–I think it is often harder for them because of all the “side issues”–Jesus certainly made that point. People who come at faith from an intellectual point of view are not very likely to listen to a message if the messenger isn’t to their liking nor are those less educated apt to “get it” from a sophisticated pulpit. Your message for me is very Pauline, a master in the rhetoric of his age–who adapts his message to his audience. Also, in your message, I do believe God will give us “eyes to see and ears to hear…” if we just stop, look, and listen (sorry for the old railroad analogy). Thank you for this–obviously it got me thinking–now to look and listen.✞

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