Thursday, November 29, 2007

Prophet or Problem ...

In recent conversations I have had innumerable people express only surprise about the news that my Pastoral Relationship may be drawing to a close ... many of the voices come from within the community and are people loosely associated with the church who have heard nothing about the pending vote ...

Their reactions underscore for me the deep divide that exists between the "power" in the church and the real world that it exists within. The Church is unable to face and adapt to change, particularly in small town settings ... and so they react viscerally to what is percieved as threats or change ...

But over arching all of this is a simply point of view distinction that few are able to own, and fewer are able to even express in a healthy way ...

That distinction came to me the other day while I was reading some material for my thesis ... I had the realization that there is a very fine line between a prophet and a problem.

In the church those voices that claim the prophetic mantel and speak out about issues everyone else is happily trying to sweep under the rug, are seldom dubbed prophetic, but instead are called vociferously and loudly - "A PROBLEM !!"

Today one of the leaders of the course I'm taking shared with me that from where she sits, too often there is a rush to dub those voices that speak with a wisdom beyond their years and with experience that frightens others A PROBLEM, and to label them with some disorder or failing.

"They'll slap a label on them so they can push them to the side and in the process all it does is f&%^s up your mind when you dare to speak the truth ..."

Having a Mennonite background, her voice carries a different weight than one from within the Mainstream traditions ... her's is one that is steeped heavily in the tradition of non-conformity ... her's is one that appreciates the lone voice calling ...

Today I realized that I have been trying to become a square peg to fit in a sanctioned square peg ... yet in my soul I remain a round peg ... one connected with the Universe and one willing to get messy take chances and stand up for what I beleive in, and most of all to not only ask the tough questions, but to speak the words that may cause others discomfort, not to be mean nor nasty, but to shine the light into the dark corners in the pursuit of truth.

I am proud to claim the mantel of prophet ... and if others want to dub me a problem, so be it - until they've existed in my skin they don't know ME ... This isn't ego ... it is resigning my self to the reality in which I live - a reality I seek to better by my faith, my hopes, my care, my compassion, my love and my presence.

Today I stop apologizing for being me ...

3 comments:

shauna said...

Bravo, Shawn! That takes courage and true integrity. I hope to achieve as much someday.

laughing pastor said...

O.k. friend. Richard Niebuhr needs to be your text for a bit. Talk about prophet. I'm currently reading Christ and Culture. Only read first nine pages....it addresses the very things you are bumping into.

I read this in seminary....but it makes so much more sense after a good deal of ministry.

My voice has been prophetic and that makes people uneasy.

Who was it who said...."The purpose of ministry is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

Good approach.

Blake

MY OWN WOMAN... said...

"Today I stop apologizing for being me...." AMEN!