Certain holidays, such as Christmas or the Summer months, tend to offer great excuses from the work that needs to be done at hand. It is easy to put off a meeting or project “until after Christmas” or “after the Summer break”. And then when the holiday is over it is a panic to do all that needs to get done, and often there are things that are missed. The things that are easy to miss or avoid are often places where I need to take time and prayer to explore, and to come to know myself better.
So often I find myself getting caught up in debating issues that are political in nature regarding religion, or having people question me as to where I stand on a particular hot topic. Usually these issues are being played out on a global or far away place. People will leave the church because of something that happened across the country, yet the personal issue that is most needed to be faced is rarely the thing which we want to confront.
When I find myself worked up or caught up in the whirlwind of controversy, I find that it can suck the energy out of my day. It is also a great diversion from addressing the ongoing discipline of being faithful and tending to the concerns that are before me and such issues serve well in becoming an excuse to procrastinate from paying the attention due to the challenging and perhaps mundane activities which are my issues to face.
I was amused to hear that a local denomination had a statement which people, who were called to serve as ordained ministers, had to sign a statement which stated that they were not homosexual. This denomination has rarely if ever dealt with a situation where one of their clergy made public their sexual preference in such a way. The denomination did not have any statement regarding adultery, and yet there were countless cases of clergy being tangled up in such compromising relationships. This particular denomination is no different than any other in acting in such ways of judgment and not directly addressing the concern most pressing. It is easier to look at problems elsewhere, to judge others and institutions for their shortcomings, but each time is also an opportunity to see where we are falling short and grow in our own need of mercy. Or we can expend our energy and divide the church even more in efforts to prove that we are not to blame.