The reason for me saying, “I’m your huckleberry” is that there are a lot of people just plain ticked with God, religion, church, etc. Perhaps this has come from a past hurt or a feeling that God has let them down. It may even come from the notion that they don’t feel they can be themselves at church. That somehow if they really let their true person out (not to be proud but real) that somehow they will be rejected. These are valid points for anyone to put up a wall. I was talking to someone the other day who just wanted to unload on me about his life but did not feel he could to which I simply responded “feel free to unload, I don't care.” Let me explain.
Perhaps I look at this too simplistically but I honestly don’t care. A few days ago a friend asked me to describe who I am as a pastor and how I see people…so here it goes. I see people that I do not know personally as friends I have not been introduced to yet. When someone feels they cannot be themselves because of me being a pastor…I don’t care what you are like, you are still a human being and a potential friend. When we go on church men's trips I am glad that some of the men feel comfortable enough around me to be themselves. This may consist of someone smoking, perhaps a little language now and then…it does not nor will it ever offend me. When someone comes into the church or is in conversation with me and tells me about their gay lifestyle…guess what? I DON’T CARE! If a person tells me that they are struggling with an addiction…you got it…I don’t care. In the words of U2’s Bono “There’s not much you can throw at me that I haven’t already heard.” Let me take that one step further…I don’t offend easily. When I sit and talk to people from different sub-cultures they can tell me anything they like. I place a high priority on being real. What is my job as “the preacher” with people that throw all sorts of things at me? According to I Corinthians it is simply to “preach to save those who believe.” Each Sunday I put a message out there that I feel God has given me to share. That’s it. I am not going to try to persuade someone with an hour long sermon. I have been getting up to 40 minutes and feel that is way to long. I am not going to yell and even sneak in manipulative Christian clichés that hold no water scripturally. I simply state the message and move on from there.
Seems a bit odd doesn’t it? I mean…what about those that are “living in rebellion” and need to be talked to before and after the service with a condemning message in the middle? What about the gay person in church? What about the person struggling with porn? What about the person struggling with (name the problem)? I have a real easy answer for that which is found in John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” This thing called Christianity is just way to powerful and life changing for a knucklehead like me to try and persuade you in my own power. The fact is that I am still working on things and am thankful for the grace in my life. This same grace should then be extended to those I come in contact with. If someone is going to change as a result of my message it is because the Holy Spirit is guiding them into all truth. I think this is a far more organic process that has lasting results than a worship team repeating a song 12 times or dimming the lights while manipulating the audience with Christian clichés.
So…looking for someone you can be completely real with? Looking for a pastor that will not be offended at what you have to talk about? Do you need someone you can poor your guts out to without a manipulative/condemning answer? “I’m your huckleberry.”
btw...if you ever want to email me, you can at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are reading my blog and are a skype user look for the "I'm Online" status on the right and click on it. I am always ready to listen.