It began a few days ago with an email from one of our professors, alerting some of us to Eugene Peterson’s recent interview with Jonathan Merritt. In it, Peterson was asked about his views regarding homosexuality and same-sex marriage. When Peterson responded that he would have no problem performing a same-sex wedding, it sent shock waves throughout the Christian community.
Conversations at the end of sermons can go many places. I have forgotten most, but a few stand out. I particularly remember one that took place some thirty years ago. I was just into my first Senior Pastorate, having worked my way through the ranks of Youth Pastor and Associate Pastor. I was still in the process of completing my Ph.D. in Systematic Theology, having acquired a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology degree. Nonetheless, I felt overwhelmed and woefully inadequate. I felt very much a novice at preaching, pastoral care, and board leadership.
By taking off the pressure of having to excel, we allow ourselves to live in the moment. Released from the burden of needing to be better than good, needing to claw our way to the top, hit the sermon out of the park, we can relax a bit.
The living God has made us to reflect the Creator’s wise stewardship and reflect the praises of all creation back to its Maker. This is the key to flourishing. But humans have turned their vocation upside down, giving worship and allegiance to forces and powers within creation itself.
Perhaps it is this season in my life, but I sense a growing alienation from this world. I find myself in a technocratic, post-Christian age that does not see this as the Father’s world. It is their world, where individualism reigns, freedom amounts to pursuing one’s own good, moral values are up to each person, fake news dominates the airwaves, gaining power and wealth are the ultimate objectives, and God is irrelevant.