If you are a daily fan of Richard Rohr, you might recognize the source of this title. His current series, best defines what my daily quest has become.
"The model of the prophet is one who can love and yet criticize, and who can speak words of correction out of an experience of gratitude."*
As a confidant of mine shares, no one in their right mind would choose this role, for with the role comes misunderstanding and social awkwardness.
It comes with a piercing and daily reminder to stay tender at heart, engaged within the Institution, yet never being comfortable apart from those who feel challenged by the actions of the church; always authentically candid with both!
An insider with a compelling urgency to function as one "called out."
Just yesterday, I was overwhelmed by the Presence of the Lord as I prayed with my pastor and several others. My wife and I are a part of a team who monthly rotate prayer support and affirmation prior to each Sunday service, given the pastor's challenging role.
I cherish the opportunity to share life with devoted men and women of God, a privilege it seems I have had since within weeks of coming to Christ at age 25 in 1973. Yet, even while serving in leadership at three different campuses over the years, I have never allowed myself isolation and identity with only one fellowship of believers.
Community is my primary calling and responsibility. That's the way it has always been and perhaps why my first true epiphany occured at my earthly father's side, in his living room.
Providence seems to have provided a certain sense of broad belonging, always protecting an identity with the Body of Christ at large, moreso than any one particular "organ" or "limb".
I associate with Christ-followers who differ politically and doctrinally, those churched and unchurched, those None and Done, some very vibrant in their expression of the gifts, and those hesitant to be with folk like me, who do!
Many of my acquaintances even see themselves as unacceptable to the institution, their life journey having disqualified them in their own eyes.
Then there are those quite opposite in their reasons for their "outsidedness", having lived for a window of time in Institutional leadership, even pastoring, but at a certain point sidelined by some controversy, retreating for the sake of their own recovery.
Too often, though seldom openly admitted, we identify those outside our fellowship as "living in darkness," sinners, we may even call some of them!
When we are around them, we are uncomfortable, sensing a felt seperation between lifestyles. In reality, what we may be feeling is the push back of our own denial of love's deep work! The Spirit struggling with our own need for a shift in our hearts, which could sufficiently change us, better affording love to flow authentically, even across our differences!
We all fall short of the glory of God, though by grace we are all equally loved by the Father, each needing the occasional reminder than none of us are perfect in all of our ways, though all of us perfectly loved!