Friday, September 25, 2009

A Sort of Poem - Happy to Be a Presbyterian

In our humility, we find greatness.

Greatness of spirit and impertinent hope.

Though our battles have been fierce and even final.

There is no rest for those who weary themselves in the Lord's work.

In the spirit of Calvin, we excel in vilifying one another:

Oh, the names we hurl, like silly children playing war, as if our words were killing grenades, and if we throw 'em hard enough, and often enough, we'll win ... and stand one day on top of some imagined hill, victorious ... such is our vanity.

Doubting intelligence and sneering at the other's faith.

Today, I'm happy to be a Presbyterian.

We have guts ... we tackle big ideas and dangerous concerns.

Like Calvin's sewer system in Geneva, we see needs and strive for remedies, to heal the broken bones left in the wake of human pride and the ceaseless tides of power, ebbing and flowing, as if we could control anything - making idols of our theology to provide some mask of comfort to a soul too afraid to see itself ... making enemies to despise and defeat, in our stilted imaginations ... to small in spirit to love the "enemy" - which is the test supreme of our true metal.

Yes, we're a tough and sturdy bunch. And we believe in God with a curious ferocity that demands a legacy of love from us. We believe that we can make a difference, and that's good to believe. For what else should we believe about this Christ of ours who dies for this bunch called humanity, because even God has to believe that God can make a difference.

We've taken our licks lately ... thousands have left our fold; ten-thousands have disappeared into the flood of time - some have gone elsewhere to seek a more perfect union ... huge, flourishing churches, once landmarks in great cities, mostly are uncertain now, about roofs unrepaired, and great organs that need tuning.

Like Gideon's army - 300 is enough. God's way surely isn't our way.

With God, all things are possible.

I am happy to be a part of this rowdy, striving, bunch of hard-heads and great hearts, name-callers and lovers, coffee-drinkers and booze-swillers, preachers and powerpoint, seminaries and missionaries, traditions and dreams, tears and turmoil, pushing and shoving, sinners all, forgiven all ... lovers of God, each in our own strange way ...

I am happy to be a Presbyterian.

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