Monday, July 28, 2008

Polite Dinner Conversation

Lately I’ve been having conversations about my upcoming internship – especially related to getting back into the habit of writing in this blog.

Why, Jason, you know people will be able to read
everything you’ve ever written, I’ve been told. Entries written about the current Bush administration, for instance, or articles written about inclusive language when we talk about God – or another type of inclusion: that of all people in our churches, regardless of the lines society often draws for us. Lines across race, ethnicity, economic status, or even sexual orientation and gender identity. Lines that have been erased in Christianity, as Paul couldn’t help but point out: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). And if that’s not enough, I’ve connected my opinions and beliefs with my Christian faith and identity.

Certainly these are things I cannot think anymore, right? I mean, at least not while I’m on internship. Does that mean I can go back to having these opinions on August 1, 2009, when I’m all done at my internship site? No, it would just continue, on to my first call after I’ve graduated from seminary, and so on…

I feel as though I’ve been called to be at seminary, and I especially feel I’ve been called to this particular aspect of seminary: internship. I’m going to be working full-time (and probably more) at a church, gloriously diving into all aspects of what it means to be in a church, to continue discerning what God has called me to do. Meeting people. Learning to be a pastoral presence. Preaching the gospel among the gathered believers.

But this call does not stop at the church doors, or only on Sundays. It does not only include my internship experience – it includes everything else in my life. It includes how I feel my faith informs my political and social beliefs. It includes how I feel the church is called to attend to the “least of these”…and how it so often does not. It includes accepting a certain level of discomfort and frustration with the current status quo of things.

So I argue that I can continue writing in this blog, even though it’s open to anyone. This means that my words might anger someone else, or go against the core beliefs of another person. And that’s okay. As a Christian, I am not called to be an intern at a social club, a gathering of like-minded, look-alike people, in order to feel better about myself.

I’m called to struggle, to doubt, to proclaim Christ crucified, to share in communion…with everyone. As my worship professor would say, especially with those whom we struggle. With whom we vehemently disagree. We are not called to agree…we are called to love one another, as God has first loved us. It’s that simple, and that inexplicably difficult and complicated: To love God, and to love our neighbor.

I’m not perfect, and thank God for that. Here we are – especially those of us working in the church – understanding God to be present, even amidst our glorious imperfections. Maybe because of those imperfections.

Any words I have written in here are meant to be a conversation-starter, not a cause for shutdown. This is my sincere hope.


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