I am passionate about the Church; I am called and committed to The United Methodist Church. I want “her” to be all that God is calling her to be. Sometimes she gets it. Sometimes she seems to be willfully wandering far afield. At other times, the church seems to be lacking direction entirely. Honestly, that pains me. We are called to so much more!
In my passion I sometimes react rather than prayerfully respond. Yesterday was my day to learn (another!) lesson about humility. Part of my personality is to process and think out loud. I will sometimes say things that lead people to believe I’ve made up my mind, when in fact I’ve just started asking questions and bouncing ideas around. Yesterday, I let myself get a full head of steam and opened my mouth and inserted my foot.
I read Jeremiah 23:1-8 this morning. It made me stop and consider something. There’s a kind of self-righteousness that can sneak into our hearts. It increases the risk that we become part of the problem and not part of the solution. We make snap judgments. We think we “know” and want to make sure that everyone else knows that we “know.” Our righteousness becomes rightness because we fall victim to the brokenness of our own spirits. When the prophet says, “woe to the shepherds …” God is, of course, talking about anyone except us. Really?
There’s a place for doctrine, but not dogmatism. It’s not about failing to lead. It’s about leading well. I never want to be so convinced that I’m right that I can’t hear the Holy Spirit convicting me when I need to be told otherwise. My Church is facing important decisions that will have a significant impact on her future. My local church is in a similar place – facing important decisions about vision and mission that will have a dramatic impact on ministry. Perhaps before I open my mouth to make pronouncements or express my opinions with such certainty I need to humble myself and make confession.