I entered parish ministry with a fair amount of idealism, particularly liturgical idealism. Inconveniently, the liturgical proclivities I picked up in seminary were not especially popular with my first congregation.
This became clear as a sleigh bell during our first Advent season together.
It is often observed by my friends, and even by my wife, that I might be a little too “angry” for someone who supposedly is called to a ministry of presenting the gospel to others. They don’t go so far as to call me a hypocrite, but I do think they’re pointing out that I’m not always that nice, that I don’t necessarily embody forgiveness (or even the golden rule), that “Christian” implies a graciousness I simply lack.
In the social media I often read about a Christian community that has excluded an innocent person or demonized a marginalized group. The writer then juxtaposes this with a pithy saying from Jesus about loving all persons. And there you have it—we Christians are exposed as two-faced and heartless, insensitive to anything but our own proclamations of righteousness.