Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Bishop Speaks What Are We Thinking Clergy

How did we arrive at this hope stuff? Sometimes I think of this and conclude we do not have a real understanding of the basic issue. If one is in the hope business it is a sign that all is not well. Therefore we must work on that.

The work then becomes the center of our thinking. It is natural to try to fix something and hence we have plans and studies and trials and arguments and fights and votes and meetings and prayers and new books and better songs and search for the “right” people and look for more money and get some committes and work very hard and get mad and sad and tired and wornout and loose track of who and what we are and the church becomes smaller and people drift away and we pretend things are well and try to hang on to what we believe without really knowing what we believe.

How did it begin? Well, most of us were introduced to a religion and we tend to stay there. This religion tends to be what ever is available in a region/community/nation where we live. We are indoctrinated into a religion and it is reinforced all around us. People often acquire a religion without giving a lot of thought to what they are saying they believe.

Religion is reinforced throughout our lives by clergy, civic leaders and families. We believe this is what keeps families together. People learn that certain ideas, ideologies and practices are to be treated as vital to our lives and are not to be questioned, but rather accepted.

Then we have the issues of death, heaven and hell. We are given answers for all of these things. We accept them without questioning.

It is like the old song:
You better watch out,
You better not cry,
Better not pout,
I'm telling you why:
Santa Claus is coming to town.
He's making a list,
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out
Who's naughty and nice.
Santa Claus is coming to town.

He sees you when you're sleeping.
He knows when you're awake.
He knows if you've been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake!
Oh, you better watch out!
You better not cry.
Better not pout,
I'm telling you why:
Santa Claus is coming to town.
Santa Claus is coming to town!

Then it happens. Santa is not really coming, but the message lives inside of us and we remember it. Then we might begin to wonder if following the good and bad rules will determine our salvation. Must we be good and follow the rules? If things could have been fixed this way, all would have been taken care of 20 minutes after Moses came down off the mountain with the 10 commandments. Law is holy, just and true, but law alone is not an instrument of salvation.

Our gospel assures us that the whole salvation work has already been done, once and for all, by the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. We have the story, we are saved. But, there is more than having the story and telling the story. We need to start living the story. The Kingdom of God is at hand. It is here and it is for you.

I fear our worship has become our religion. Throughout the church year our worship tells the story over and over without much thought about how we live our lives, how we live in the Kingdom of God.

We say we gather to praise God, but in truth we gather to tell the story, over and over. Our praise of God is in our lives.

Ask yourself this question. “How does a person who believes this story live and praise God?”

Relax. You are saved. Everyone has been saved. The Jesus work has been done.

Now, all you need to do is live in the Kingdom.

Think about it. Then, rethink hope.


  1. Bob, one of, if not the best, essay you have posted. Thank you.

  2. Thanks you Bob, for communicating the Good News of the Gospel in a clear and distinct voice...something all of us clergy need to emulate.

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