Religion is not popular in the media. Perhaps I should modify that to say “organized”
religion is not popular in the media. I
am referring primarily to television (in all its platforms), movies, and much
of literature. Religious people are
often represented as hypocritical, bigoted, and malicious.
On one television program that my wife and I watch
regularly, I know that when someone is identified as a person of faith, they
will turn out to be hiding some secret sin or be identified as the murderer!
I understand that many people have become cynical because of
those who call themselves religious but eventually are revealed as embezzlers,
adulterers, and megalomaniacs. Sin
exists and continues to manifest itself among even those who call themselves
believers. I can’t argue with the
truth. But there are any numbers of the
faithful who are making a positive difference in their communities and are an
influence for good because of their faith.
So how do we respond to the cynicism of p…
The man who came to my office was a retired moderate Baptist
pastor who had moved to Tennessee recently.
He came to talk to me about ministry opportunities in the immediate area. I expressed appreciation for his interest, asked
him some questions about himself, told him a little bit about the nature of
progressive Baptist life, promised to share his resume as opportunity presented
itself, and suggested that he might want to expand his search to some other
denominations in middle Tennessee. He
finally said to me, “I come in here asking for your help and all you can tell
me is that I might have to seek a place in another denomination? That’s not very helpful!”
Helpful or not, I had defined reality from my experience. He had the choice to accept it or not. In
this case, he did not. The late Max
DePree wrote, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you.”
When we go to someone asking for insight or information, how
will we handle the inf…