Soon we will begin a new sermon series at church, Confessions from the Pastors. I told my clergy colleagues I wasn’t comfortable confessing things before God and everybody. One mentioned, “Isn’t that what a confession is? Something you are uncomfortable admitting to God and others?” I hate it when one of them is right…it is so rare it actually stuns me sometime. Just kidding, kind of.
As I get ready to preach, all kinds of confessions are emerging on my part. A few I’ve admitted before:
Many, many times when I’m sitting up front in worship, looking pastoral, I’m guilty of thinking non-pastoral thoughts like “I’m hungry.” “A nap would be good right now.” Sometimes I even do what you do, I wonder why someone is wearing that. Or, if one part of the service is going long, I secretly will whoever is talking just to put a lid on it. I do. I confess.
I’ve confessed before that I have a big problem with Christmas. It is overdone….way overdone and it makes me want to go to St. Lucia and look at the water for the whole month of December. I confess.
But, the biggest confession I have is the one I will try to include in my sermon. I confess that I have a problem with many, many Christians. I have a problem with the ones who think they know everything like who’s going to heaven and why. They seem so darn sure. I don’t like the judgmental Christians who have figured out which sin is worse than the others and will tell you about it and what you should be doing. I ran into one of those early on, when I was in college. She knew everything about God’s will. She confidently told me that it was absolutely against scripture for me to be a pastor…she even showed me in the Bible. Luckily, God’s voice was louder than hers in my spirit. I just past the 25th anniversary of my ordination and so far it seems like it just might work.
I confess that I have a problem with Christians who act badly. You know the type, they act in mean, hateful and destructive ways and then post a Bible verse on Pinterest causing the world to say “Whaaaat?”
Some Christians even make me want to hide the fact that I’m a Christian. A recent book, Unchristian, surveyed thousands of young Americans and they said Christianity has an image problem, we appear hypocritical, judgmental, anti-homosexual and a few more things I won’t mention here. And to that I would say, it is not an image problem Christianity has, has a real big giant problem. Christians don’t just seem to be that way, many really are. And, my big confession is that I don’t care for those Christians. They make me want to turn my cute Christian t-shirt inside out, lest someone thinks I feel that way too.
It hurts my heart that I’m so distracted by others. It hurts my heart that I’m not somehow holy enough to let that stuff just slide by.
Here’s my problem, I really, really like Jesus. I like the forgiving, surprising, God-embodying Jesus. I like what he talked about. I like what he stood for. If it wasn’t for him, I’d never hang around the church. I’m just confessing.