Pastor(s): The Church as Sacred Monster, the Bully (Page Two)

   Equilibrium, disequilibrium, reequilibrium: lose your balance and it is natural to lose your place. The church is the church and not The Church because it loses its balance, first, and then its place. To regain orientation is not so simple as returning to the spot where one loses balance. The route may be wildly circuitous, winding, treacherous, repetitive, with no promise of success.

   "The market," John Kenneth Galbraith once said, "can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent."

   The church can function as a portal to the next world or a base of sane kindness in this world but some people need both all at the same time. When the church is rational (not logical, logic has no content except what we bring to it, while rationality at least has an accepted objective base, regardless of equal or uneven distribution of information, cultural, gender bias, et al) then the Church balances on the high beam, where this world's need for meaning perches perilously close to that final fall when all the meaning of this world will get lost in death. Then, the athlete needs hope, not meaning, and The Church can offer hope for later, as well as meaning for now.

   Yes, I want there to be Heaven, even at the cost of Hell. So much good goes unnoticed, unrewarded, unrequited. We live in an increasingly vulgar world, where religion is now as often expressed in an IED as in Scripture distribution, be that Scripture KJV or Koran. Yes, I want a place of purified religion; worship for worship's sake rather than ratings or market share. Yes, I long for a pure heart; service for the blessing of service, not to salve an ill-kept conscience.

   This is Friday, a Good Friday, reminiscient of all the other Good Fridays for which even the secularists thank God. There is a rest coming just after dark tonight even if your rest, like mine, is simply to vary the kind of labor you do for the moment. Purified religion is perfect rest for it is the kind of labor that frustrates frustration, succeeding even if the rains don't come or the hard drive crashes.

   Bullies don't love. Self-absorption nips the bloom in the pistil, from which empty perch affection cannot be plucked. The bully is the most purely self-absorbed fellow you will meet.

   Do you remember the obituary Henry Kissinger laid on the grave of President NIxon? The immigrant success said of the native-born failure, "One wonders what this man could have been if he had ever been truly loved…"

   Please, this time around, on the Sabbath and the Lord's Day, love your church into being The Church. Transform the bully into the beatific. Be blessed. Sunday, you know, is not the end of the weekend. It is the first day of the week. What you do on Sunday announces what you want your week to be like.

   It was too hard to be hard again today so you get a Friday psalm instead of a shrill screed. Trust me. The screed will be back on Monday.

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