A while back someone offered me a critique of my pastoring. They suggested that I needed to get tougher and take more stands. They strongly urged me to join other pastoral voices that demanded that their congregations behave better. Seriously. This was asked of me, of all people!
Here’s the problem. I’m my own handful of contradictions, how can I possibly be expected to whip a couple hundred people in line? And while we’re on the subject, what line are we supposed to start standing behind?
It made national news, so I figure we’ve all heard that one religious leader has come out and suggested that he believes college students on the campus he is influential at should carry handguns – even in the dorms. I watched a terrifying video this week of a pastor railing away at his congregation on the issue of homosexuality, calling out the boy scouts and other organizations, declaring with such vehemence that sweat dripped from his brow that no way was he going to let the government or anyone else tell him what to do. Across the country, there will be pastors willing to declare allegiances to one political candidate or another in coming months. Are these the lines?
What about the line in scripture that tells us to obey earthly authorities?
Or the passage that suggests that we love our enemies?
What about those lines?
Look, good people can disagree on a variety of topics and still be faithful, decent human beings.
But at some point, if a pastor’s job is to whip people into shape, somebody is going to have to pick a line in the sand and then stand behind it.
I am choosing to draw the line of respect and reconciliation. This is my line.
In the days ahead, I’m going to discuss more about this line business.
For today, I ask you: are there any lines you have drawn in the sand that distance you from God? Other people? Your own core beliefs and desires of your heart?