I'm sorry I haven't written much lately. Some tell me that I should just stick to cartoons anyway. But once in a while I feel the need to write, as if the exercise exorcises my demons. I haven't written lately because there's lots happening in the lives of the people of the community I pastor. It is heartbreaking stuff. Our lives are filled with tribulation and transgression, and it gets exhausting sometimes serving one another in this kind of context.
Part of the frustration that pastors can sometimes feel is that people get in the way of building the perfect church. There is no such thing as a good church because there's no such thing as a good person. Even Jesus rejected the label of "good", insisting that God alone is good. I've given up imagining a good community. As soon as you point to what you think is good, it is quickly swept downstream. Nothing is permanent. Nothing whatsoever. Just last week someone looked me in the eye and said, "People think this is a great church. Well, it isn't!" I agree. It isn't. All we have here is a wide variety of people that I call my friends. We suck individually and corporately. Bring on the accusations! I won't deny any of them. I am a sinner among sinners.
But once in a while we shine. Once in a while someone shows an act of kindness, generosity, forgiveness, encouragement, love or mercy. We sometimes try to love one another. And when we succeed, the joy is palpable. These are my friends. I am theirs.