I must tell you that when you are faced with death... death of another or the possible death of your self... it ought to do something to you. The losing of a friend this week has, once again, reminded me of what's most important and what isn't. As a pastor, it caused me to scold myself for farting around with non-essentials. We churches can get so caught up in such silly fluff, while all around us and even inside us there is anguish, suffering and genuine blood-and-guts battles for mere survival. I can't believe the very real pain so many people are in. Even today I've spoken to at least a few people who are in very real anguish and are crying out for some kind of meaning, some kind of hope. Anything! Do they give a damn that she sang slightly off key on that high note, or that we didn't feel the Spirit during worship Sunday, or whether the sermon was boring, or whether the decor was up to snuff? Seriously! They don't! I'm admonishing myself this week to GET REAL! And as the pastor of this church, I say, "GET REAL!" Can we please quit rearranging the furniture on a sinking ship and get down to it! What really matters, I agree with Paul, is faith working itself out in love. Last night I listened to a gay person pour out her heart. The anguish, the torment, the agony. She LIVES in the garden of Gethsemane. I mean she LIVES there folks! Her soul sweats blood. Judgment, analysis and clich√É¬©s just don't belong inside this garden gate. Our friend died the other day because of torment. The scriptures don't say that we are all like sheep without a butcher! It says we need the kind of comfort, security and care that shepherds give. Sorry this is so, so, unpoetic and frantic, but that's just where I'm at. Peace out!