Lately I've been drawn to reading mysteries. I'm not sure why. Maybe it is that I am sensing more the mystery of life now that I am in my 60's. I've been a pastor a long time and if anything teaches one to respect the mystery of life that does. Why are some people interested in the Church and some are not? Why is God real to some and not to others? Why are some people passionate about matters of faith and some don't seem the least bit inquisitive? I can't figure it out. I have been surprised many times. I cannot predict whether someone will end up in the faith camp or not. I think most are on the way even if they don't know it yet. At least that's the way I approach people. What I do know is the life of a pastor makes you observant - sort of a like a good detective has to be. I'm watching for signs of God in a person's life. There is no formula. There is no one "Godly" way of life. It seems for many of us, if we are honest - and it's hard to be honest, we are hanging on by a thread or God is hanging on to us by a thread. We need the help of others, but it is hard, too, to admit that. We are used are to thinking we have to do this on our own. I find many Christians seem to be suspicious of others,suspicious of pastors, maybe they have been hurt by people in the church or by a pastor. So people tend to hold back relationally. It's as if we expect our Christian leaders to trip themselves up (not that it hasn't happened). And we have to be prepared for that to happen. So, we act like we are much more sure of our faith then we really are. That is why we surprise ourselves and others by lapses of faith from time to time. We act so sure, so certain, of what we believe. We want others to be just as certain as we are and in the same way we are. We act like we are most comfortable when we all think and act alike. But, that just doesn't work - Paul spoke about the Church as a body with different parts working together not the same parts all working alike. And thinking and acting alike is boring as all get out. God is not boring and neither is what He is up to in the world. It is beautiful, glorious, and sparks a passion for living in us.
I think if we could talk more this way, if we could accept the mystery of life, and if we could admit that hey some days I feel like I'm just hanging in there - and I don't know the answers so will you pray with me. I think the Church would be healthier.