Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

further revelation needed...

I drove 400 miles yesterday and ended up back where I started. The whole event was a comical series of miscommunications. Scheduled to teach for a week long intensive at a Bible School in Canada, I'd made my way north and was waiting at the float plane dock on the Frasier river, pondering why the airline had no reservation for me. I'd checked my e-mail before leaving, and confirmed the dates, but also had heard from the school that they'd reserved my flight. I decided, just before boarding the plane to call the school and confirm that I was supposed to be there this week. "Nope" came back the reply. "You're scheduled for next week."
"But my e-mail says it's this week"

"Here's the one I sent you" she said, and proceeded to read a note confirming that I was to begin teaching, not tonight, but one week from tonight.

Thankful that I didn't get on the plane, I turned around and drove home to Seattle in time to watch one inning of the world series before it was called due to rain. Then I checked my e-mail and sure enough, the one I read, said that I was to be in Canada THIS week. Sadly, another e-mail had been sent subsequent to that, changing the dates. I'd only saved the original though, and my rejection of further revelation cost me four hundred miles. I'm glad gas is cheaper now than in July!

REJECTION OF FURTHER REVELATION... maybe you're busy reading NT Wright's book about Hope, and you come across some teachings that challenge what you once thought regarding the rapture and 2nd coming of Christ. What do you do with that? Maybe someone challenges your view on divorce and remarriage, or economics. Problems will come our way if we toss any challenges to our existing views too quickly, or embrace new views too readily. What's a pastor to do?

Read everything
- I think I tossed the e-mail that had changed the date without ever reading it, and it cost me. Sometimes we're quick to categorize someone we're listening to and put them in a box, and when we do this we end up tossing them in some bin, liberal, conservative, fundamentalist, post-modern, presuming that we know what they're going to say before they say it. We do this to our own loss my friends. In the blogging world, in the church, in the neighborhood, and in the classroom, I've continually been amazed at how people defy categorization, and even more amazed at how much I can learn from those with whom I disagree.

Consider the source - Had an e-mail come from a total stranger, indicating that I was teach a different week than the scheduled one, I'd have tossed it. Had it come from a friend who was unrelated to the school, I'd have considered it a joke. We're not invited to put people into box, but we are invited to consider the source. When I read NT Wright, I'm convinced that this is not a man who's trying to lead me to the doors of hell, and so I listen. I still might not agree with everything he says, but his command of the Bible and church history mean that I'll trust his propositions more readily that some other people's.

Double Check - I should have called before I left the house. If some new discovery or revelation (new for you anyway) is going to require that you live differently, it would be wise to consider if there are others who are living on the terrain you're heading. Are you moving towards a position of non-violence? Read Bonhoeffer, and perhaps CS Lewis piece, "Why I am not a Pacifist" before going there. Are you changing your position on divorce and remarriage? Read from some who think like you do now, and some who espouse the new position you're considering. This is how we grow.

400 miles between Seattle and Vancouver on a crisp fall day is really not that big a deal. But the lessons learned, if applied to how I live out my faith in all areas of life, could be priceless.


At 8/11/08 15:07, Blogger ana said...

Pastor Richard, my name is Ana Wang. I am Jessica's mom. She talked to you at the CHBC this past week, remember? Ok, I am interested to understand Ecclesiates 9: 5-8. Thank you in advance for any information that could help me to clarify this passage.

Ana Wang


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