Friday, March 23, 2012

The Place of a Prophet in the modern era ...

As I read the words of Jeremiah for this week's Lectionary I hear the voice of the late Gordon Pokorny rattling through my mind ...

Gordon was the Conference Officer for Prince Rupert Presbytery in BC Conference when I was settled in Bella Coola back in 1993 ... Gordon was to say the very least a character. Love him or hate him, you couldn't ignore him.

Gordon was renown for his quips that cut through the b-lls-it and nonsense at Presbytery meetings and managed to lay bare the issue being discussed.

One of my favourites that he offered frequently was: "We really need to stop shuffling the deck chairs on Titanic here and either fix the leak or get the hell off the boat!!"

As I read the words of Jeremiah and do some reading on the place and role of Prophecy, and the historical context into which Jeremiah lifted his voice, I hear Gordon (and others) calling us to stop shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic!!! (It's ironic given that we are approaching the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of this mythic vessel!)

Then I turn to the various places where happenings and events about the United Church are posted, and that sense of cynicism is deepened ... there are page after page after page of the ubiquitous "good news" stories and things that I honestly feel are intended to distract us from the big picture issues confronting us as a People of God ... instead of listening to the prophetic voices that are warning us , we continue to blithely go about our business like there is NOTHING wrong ...

There is lots wrong ... and as a Church, we are stangely silent ...

I weep for the Church today ... we're so caught up in avoiding offending anyone that we've become a pale incipit shadow of ourselves ... we stand up for justice 'over there', but won't confront our hand in creating that injustice right here ... we'll engage in acts of charity for the needy 'over there', but we won't admit to our involvement in oppressing the needy by our life choices here ... we are very good at standing up for what we believe in, but we are less good at looking more closely in that mirror and OWNING what we could and should be doing about it in our day to day lives!!!

In short, the Church today lacks a Prophetic Conscience and Voice that calls us to faithful action ... we're busy readjusting and moving the proverbial deck chairs, nodding politely when we hear the prophetic readings and giving thanks that the words are historic and quaint ... when it truth the words still resonate in our modern era and the warnings still echo in our souls!

The readings this week, as Lent draws to a close are a stark and startling reminder that we in the Institution called the Church need to STOP shuffling the deck chairs on this Titanic we're sailing on, and instead start dealing with the reality around us by LIVING our FAITH!!

The prophetic voices are speaking ... we've just chosen NOT to listen ... and that my friends is anything but faithful !!

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