Recently I spent a week on retreat with my book club. It’s a smart
and kind and diverse group of people. But one of the greatest pleasures
of their company is that only two members are Christian—and very
different Christians in terms of theology and tradition. One woman, a
psychologist, laughs out loud because she can’t believe that she has a
friend who is a pastor.
When faith-based advocacy groups hold a protest, they often dress it up
in prayer. It's not enough to say to the gathered people and (hopefully)
cameras that your faith compels you to speak out against torture or war
or inequality; you have to say it to God (but still in front of the cameras). This always strikes me as odd and mildly offensive.
After having worked for several years as a youth pastor, I recently
accepted a call to be an interim solo pastor. One weekend, Sara, a
beloved saint of the church, died after a long battle with Alzheimer's.
On Sunday morning I was standing in the choir room discussing plans for
the funeral when Jonathan—a high school sophomore—walked in.