It is full-bore autumn, and the pastoral staff are on retreat. The trees in Wisconsin - as at home - are in their glory. The air is cool, and the wind is blustery. Retreat is the pause that refreshes just before everything kicks into high gear for the holidays. It is the harbinger of an autumn birthday, and whatever else it involves it also is a few days when I can't help think of all that I have left undone. But it is a great good gift. I am thankful.
Two recent episodes with colleague friends - friend colleagues - have perhaps revealed more about myself than I care to know. Or maybe, if I dare to put a positive spin on my bad behavior, they simply illustrate the tension or pressure I feel this time of year. Blustery is probably the best way to describe the weather and these encounters.
In both cases, a simple question or comment opened some kind of door out of which rushed a torrent of opinion, a storm of high-mindedness, a lot of hot air. Without going into a lot of detail - suffice to say the adjective "boorish" might be a kind description - the upshot of these windbag encounters was a reminder that being "right" is no excuse for a lack of grace, no reason to tell everything I know, no platform for diagnosing situations from a distance, no cause for discounting the experience and subjective appraisal of others.
Today I sit here humbled ... not by my friends and colleagues, as I deserve, but by my conscience and (I trust) the Holy Spirit. I do not think my opinions wrong or unfounded or merely subjective. But my bluster betrayed a pride, an impatience, probably a fear, certainly a lack of confidence in the light I have received. I have gone back to my colleagues and friends to apologize for the bluster. I have come to see myself as a crank, a boor, and maybe a dinosaur. But I am learning to trust God to change that in me.
I do still believe these things are true:
1) it is wrong for a church to have 2 styles of worship on offer every week.
2) many of the RUF tunes are pathetic pieces of poor melodic craft.
Now, can I communicate these things with grace and humor? Apprarently not yet, but perhaps some day by God's grace.