Friday, April 08, 2011

A good read ... a better calling !!

I started this blog on Thursday January 19th 2006, after having blogged on the old United Online web site ... my intent when I started the Prairie Preacher was to explore the ways in which the Church can offer its ministry in new forms ... to my thinking then, and now, the internet and the many online resources from Twitter to Facebook have vast untapped potential as places to engage and share in our life and ministry as people, clergy and Church.

My intent when I started Prairie Preacher was to share the happenings in my life, to provide a place for my family to keep up on the things Noahkila, Ms H, and Beetle are up to, and to show a different face of the Church that removes the silly deification that places clergy on an ivory pedestal. I wanted Prairie Preacher to be a place where real issues were raised and discussed, a place where real happenings are laid on the table and reflected upon and most importantly, where the truth about the Church was offered in an honest, upfront and unblinking way.

Along the way, I've struggled with my vocational calling, we've journeyed into the darkness that came following the Church fire in Minnedosa, I've moved twice, been fired once, experienced the rejection of the Church writ large, worked in another denomination, worked outside of the church, and struggled with real life issues including the deaths of my mother, my brother, and now two close friends ... Prairie Preacher, has over the last five years been my sanctuary and my refuge where I've been able to wrestle honestly and openly and perhaps most significantly, UNAPOLOGETICALLY with the real life issues and struggles I've encountered along the way.

Looking back, there are some posts here that I am deeply proud of, a few I am in retrospect slightly embarrassed by, and a couple that I have pulled after further reflection and feedback from trusted friends. But what strikes me most of all, as I looked back on the last four months since mom's death on January 11th, and my subsequent silence here, is the importance that Prairie Preacher has played in my journey ...

In those moments when I've considered shutting this blog down, or when I've found myself struggling to put into words what I've been feeling and experiencing, I find comfort in the legacy that this site has embodied. I can go back and re-read postings from my past, and see in a tangible way how much healing and growth I've experienced. I can read the comments of friends and strangers and see clearly the support I've had, and the importance of continuing to speak up and speak out about issues that otherwise would linger at the margins of our collective consciousness.

This week, as I began reading the book pictured above, I became aware of how appropriate the simple choice of the word 'preacher' in my blog title was ... Over and over Lischer stresses the importance of Clergy reclaiming the VOCATION of preacher in their work. More than just part of the work we are called to do and share, PREACHING is central to everything we are about in ministry.

Preaching means taking the Gospel and sharing it by word and deed with the world around us. Preaching means wrestling with the real life issues of our world and our lives, and making sense of God's calling within that context. Preaching means speaking up and speaking out, even when the world and the bureaucracy demands acquiescence and silence. Preaching means more than standing up in a pulpit and sharing a warm pink fuzzy theology.

Preaching is the very heart of what we, as ministers are called to do and be. And looking back, this blog, has over the last five years engaged in a preaching that has moved through some deep and dark moments of life ... a preaching that has tried to offer an honest and unrelenting critical reflection of the Church and its ministry in the modern world and encouraged a rethink of who and what we are.

The very future of the Church depends on the willingness of clergy and lay leaders to wrestle with the perception of hypocrisy and irrelevancy held by many who no longer darken the doors our physical buildings, yet hunger for something spiritual ... they want to hear honesty and openness from the Church, and they want to know that their concerns are not only heard, but heeded and that the Church takes seriously its call to PREACH the Gospel in its fullness.

Lischer is one of those who gets this calling, and he wants others to get it too. Five years ago, I started blogging because I for one, take seriously the need for the Church to reach out to the margins of our society where this calling needs to be offered most urgently.

Preaching the Gospel to the margins means dealing honestly and openly with the bullshit that has sadly been too much a part of the Church in recent years, and I for one have come to realize the importance of actively engaging in that form of preaching, and this place -this blog has been one means of embodying that ministry of preaching, and for that I will be neither ashamed, repentant nor intimidated. This is my place, my voice, and my preaching.

And the journey continues ...

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