What Colbert, Stewart and Chase Can Teach "The Church"

One of the great journalist/NBA coach exchanges.  

Journalist are an interesting bunch. We have all sorts of respect for the journalist who tries to get the Truth or expose the darkness in the world. We trust the journalist that asks the tough questions and finds a humble way to do so in the process We feel betrayed when we think a journalist is lying or not accurate. We have high standards for journalists. 

At the same time we seem to also have a distrust of the "Media". We know that journalists work for "The Media" but when we say "The Media" is bias or all garbage, we generally are talking about some amorphous idea we label "The Media". We can dismiss "The Media" if we don't like what it says, we can ignore "The Media" by tuning it out, we can discredit "The Media" by offering up different information. 

In many respects this is also true for clergy and "The Church". Many people, religious or not, meet clergy and trust clergy. There is a level of appreciation that clergy are trying to do the right things and do them with humility. It is also true that people have high standards of clergy which is why when clergy do things that violate those standards there is a sense of betrayal and anger. 

Similarly, just as there is distrust toward "The Media" there is also a growing distrust of "The Church". "The Church" is what has caused deep wounds in people's lives and it is "The Church" that is responsible for some of the crazy hate language. We can dismiss "The Church" if we don't like what it says, we can ignore "The Church" by tuning it out, we can discredit "The Church" by offering up different information. 

Perhaps this is why so many of us Christians are apprehensive to talk about our church - people might hear us and confuse our church with "The Church". "Oh, my church is not like those on T.V." "My church is very open and affirming." "My church teaches about love not about judgement." It take so much work to qualify when we talk about our church that I can see why many of us choose to talk about something else. 

If Stephen Colbert or Jon Stewart before him (or Chevy Chase before him) have taught us anything it is that in order to change "The Media" we have to talk more about the media. In order to change the perception of "The Church" we have to be willing to talk more (not less) about our church. 

Source: http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/snl/im...

Introducing Preacher of the Month

Recently I asked a prominent female preacher who is another female preacher that I should be listening to. This preacher looked at me and said, "I cannot tell you a single female preacher in a large pulpit." I was struck at her assumption that the only people worth listening to were those with a large pulpit/platform.

After sharing my shock with a trusted friend about this experience, my friend (also clergy) said, "Jason you say that you want to advocate for the voices that are not in large pulpits. What are you specifically doing to advocate for those preachers to help get their voice heard?" She allowed me to steal her idea and put it on this blog - "Preacher of the Month". 

Each preacher is asked to respond to the same set of questions so you can quickly get a sense of who they are and where/how to learn more about their efforts in ministry. And because I do not appreciate it when someone suggests something to me without telling me why they find it compelling, I also will put a note at the bottom of each profile of why I think you should know about that particular preacher.

It is my hope and prayer that you might find a new voice that is compelling for you to guide you in your faith formation.

Source: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_xUhGn7kAtK0/TG6Y...

The Dress is Not Blue/Black or Gold/White

If the U.S. is not captivated by llamas running loose we are busy arguing about the color of this dress. 

My wife and I are a house divided. I am on team Blue/Black, she is on team Gold/White. Apparently to some people this dress looks totally different to others. Tempers were flaming all over the internet. People making arguments about what color this dress is and in the end, we all are wrong. This dress is not blue and black or gold and white. 

This dress is blue and black and gold and white. 

In fact this whole social explosion is a wonderful illustration of how our minds in the U.S. "work". We divide things into categories and once they are in those categories it is very difficult to break out of those categories. For instance try telling some people that God is She or that God really does love our enemies or that we all participate in evil. Or that this dress is blue and black. 

The spiritual life is a lot of things but at its core it is about unlearning how to break things into categories and see the unifying whole in the world. Every book written by Father Richard Rohr hits this point home - The spiritual life is about leaving dual thinking behind and embracing "non-dual" thinking. 

If we can see that some people experience this picture as a blue/black dress and others see this picture as a white/gold dress and can validate both experiences as true, if we can see the the other as our neighbor, see we have a part in all forms of evil, see we are all threads in a single garment of destiny then we are taking steps toward non-dual thinking. 

However, if we spend energy trying to prove what color the dress really is in order to make ourselves feel like we are "more right" than another, if we only see ourselves as sinner or saint, if we only see our neighbor as friend or foe, if we only see that God loves us and not our enemy, if we persist to live as dualistic thinkers we might as well put the dress over our eyes. 

At least then everyone else will see that we are blinded.