Get It All Back…And More…Make Amends and Move On…

   Once I worked for a fellow who could start. He could not persevere. He could not finish. He could not hold a course. Decisions taken in the morning were reversed at lunch. He would go to see a movie and come back with some life lesson from the film. We would have to reorganize our centers and departments accordingly.

   Until he went to another movie, or off on a ski vacation, after which we would have to realign according to a slogan he heard on the radio. It was maddening, defeating and, for those of us without state-wide administrative experience, a certain set up for failure.

   Yes, he did all those things.

   He should not be blamed for any of them. The convention that chose him chose him second or third or fourth, depending on whose story you hear and believe. We all knew he was at least second. Later reports convinced me he was the third choice but third choice among hundreds who might aspire to the post and thousands who might be considered is not all that bad, is it?

   He should not be blamed for taking the post when it fell to him. He should not be blamed for making such a rare and complete botch of it all. Never a hard worker, never a sure thinker, he was put in a situation where very few preachers will be successful.

   Why not?

   Well, accept the fact pastors must start over every seven days. We prepare for six of those days, put on a program only slightly less complex than a moon landing, and we do it with volunteer workers, very little money, baling wire and duct tape. We do that on the seventh day, which rolls around regardless of our level of preparation. 

   Then, we start over and repeat the process. We may have a preaching schedule for six months ahead and a church calendar for a year but, understand, none of us is great at long range planning. We fear to set a process in stone for the very good reason we might have to chisel our way through it.

   So, if we are to pass out forgiveness, make amends and move on, we have to actually forgive the bumbling, the incoherence, the strutting arrogance, the cronyism and the shallow generalism that looked like corruption.

    Desmond Tutu, years ago, was asked to put together a committee for racial healing in South Africa. Asked what would be the ideal candidate to serve on the committee, he replied, "I am looking for a victim of the system. I want only those who have suffered. But I have to have those who are victims who have healed. I want wounded healers."

   The organization I mentioned cannot continue to call on the non-injured servants who do not understand the pain of the past. Nor can they continue to depend on representatives of the angry remnant. If they would recover, the injured must forgive, make amends, recover and so enable their group to prosper.

Opinions expressed here are mine alone, do not reflect the opinions of any other person or organization, including the church I serve.


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