This sucks!

I really can’t stand to read pastors’ blogs, tweets, or facebook posts, when they bitch about being a pastor. Yes, we do have to work every Christmas, but 1) If you didn’t think about that going in, then you’re probably not very good at your job, and 2) At least we get to do what we love.  I’m guessing the midnight shift at Waffle House would rather be home, too. And yes, sometimes Easter does fall on Spring Break, but it’s not Jesus’ fault. And yes, I know you wish you could let your hair down, and be “real”, but if being real means still doing upside down keg stands, then you maybe you need to rethink real.

But this week, I’m joining in.  It sucks.

I don’t know what to say anymore.  Last week, I was in Honduras with a great group of people, doing some hard, but simple work with/for another great group of people. Pouring concrete floors so babies don’t have to crawl around on dirt. Building containers to hold clean water, and places for people to clean themselves with dignity.  It was a partnership, and I really want to celebrate that.

But after being away from the news for a week, I found this news story at the airport, of a Stanford swimmer receiving a sentence of 6 months in jail for raping an unconscious woman. Reader, I was wearing SPF 250 while I was in Honduras.  I’m not looking from the outside in; quite the contrary.  Please don’t tell me white privilege does not exist in this country.

Then, while waiting at the gate in Tegucigalpa, I saw Obama on television.  Quick Google search took me to this story. 50 people killed for trying to have a good time on Saturday night.

This week it sucks to be a pastor.  To try and explain.  To try and offer hope.  So many people pointing the finger. Simple blame, and simple solution.  It’s Obama’s fault.  It’s Trump’s fault. It’s religious extremism.  If they would have all been armed, this never would have happened.  If no one had guns, this never would have happened. Where is the good news? Where is the hope?

I’m sick.

I’m sick of people not taking responsibility for what they do.  I’m a good guy; I shouldn’t be held accountable for 20 minutes of action.

And my Lord, MY LORD, am I sick of people not willing to take responsibility for their own hatred, but instead dressing it up in religion, and claiming that they’re doing something for the greater good. No, you’re not!

You know what? I don’t like Arby’s.  You know what I do?  I don’t GO to Arby’s.  You know what I don’t do? I don’t go shoot up an Arby’s!  You want your Beef ‘n’ Cheddar? Have at it. Doesn’t bother me.

In high school, I counted on heavy metal bands to interpret Revelation to me.  Now, I cling to these words from Revelation 21 like a child to a Teddy Bear.

21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”

Jesus may be bringing this about, but I imagine he wouldn’t mind us pitching in a little. It’s not about claiming a victory over your enemy; it’s about realizing you have no enemy. You are a child of God, and as such, you need to recognize that everyone else is, also.

No one should have to walk through this life in fear, in fear of being who they really are, in fear of loving who they really love.  And you shouldn’t either.

Damn it! Love wins!

I swear to God, it does.  Love will win!

6 thoughts on “This sucks!

  1. Oh Patrick I feel so fortunate that I can connect to you still in this way. I know it must feel sometimes that it sucks to be in a position of helping us to make sense out of senselessness and working so hard to draw us together, but damn you are good at it and I miss you! Peace to you brother.

  2. It sucks for all of us to turn on the TV and be bombarded by negative news like this, and it will definitely take the wind out of your sails after a point. But what the news didn’t cover is the group of folks that went to Honduras, or the work of Remco Bromlett at The Hub, or the volunteers watering the garden for low income people that will get fresh produce this summer – times 100,000 other uncelebrated stories and heroes that happen every day. The news is and probably always will be more bad than good; but I choose to believe love already is and will always be winning.

  3. PS: you should at least try their Jamocha Shake, it’s pretty good but will result in a sugar coma.

  4. Patrick –
    Sometimes it sucks just to be part of the human race when we keep being bombarded with stories about Ethan Couch, Brock Turner and the Orlando shootings. But then just as disgusting is a story like this:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/06/14/pastor-refuses-to-mourn-orlando-victims-the-tragedy-is-that-more-of-them-didnt-die/
    Or this:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3639262/Orlando-shooting-victims-targeted-pastor-s-hate-filled-rant.html
    And then the finger pointing and the politicizing begins. Well, guess what?? Obama did not cause any of these events. The second amendment did not cause any of these events. Our immigration policy did not cause any of these events. Religion did not cause any of these events. Human beings did! Ethan Couch made the decision to drink and drive. Brock Turner made the decision to drink and rape someone. Omar Mateen made the decision to take a rifle to a night club and start killing. THEY are the ones responsible and it is THEIR fault!!
    Will there be more instances of class privilege where wealth and race can “buy” justice? Unfortunately, probably so. Will there be more instances of some deranged individual deciding that he/she alone has the authority to take actions based on his/her own hatreds? Unfortunately, probably so. You cannot explain it, so please do not feel that is incumbent on you. And neither can the so-called “experts” that appear on the news channels spouting off their “educated” opinions as fact.
    And offering hope?? The hope is knowing that while we may not be able to change the world, maybe through our actions we can change our tiny corner of it. You showed that last week in Honduras. I would like to believe that we at Northminster show that once a quarter when we have guests staying with us or when we take a meal to someone ill or injured or when we do something as simple as picking up a piece of trash and properly dispose of it. Maybe that is how we can help Jesus bring about Revelation 21.
    When you feel this way, try to keep in mind “Illegitimi non carborundum”. Okay, I know it is faux-Latin but often it is very appropriate.
    I hope you have a wonderful day.
    PS: We may have to have a serious discussion regarding the merits of Arby’s!!

  5. And this, my friend, is why I still miss you! I appreciate your perspective and thank you for sharing it. You ARE AWESOME!

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