Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ministerial Self-Censorship

I am a naturally adversarial person, especially when it comes to intellect. I believe truth is attained best through dialogue and especially debate. Competition between thinkers helps yield the fruit of truth. It is often forgotten that competition is a form of co-operation, and ideas set in competition with each other work together to get us closer to the place where our ideas and beliefs match reality. I am also a very political animal, with deeply held economic and political convictions that I think are important.

Additionally, I care about people very deeply and when people misquote me or over-simplifies my positions, it angers me. Finally, I have anger issues and it is hard for me to keep my mouth shut, as I tend to talk stream of consciousness.

Put all that together and you get someone who likes to argue a lot. I mean, I love it. And it matters to me. Arguing has weight, and I feel like there have to be strict rules. This, btw, is why I love philosophy, too, and there was a time in my life when philosophy nearly tempted me away from a call to ministry. But in the end, this is what I was called to. And so I'm a minister, and a theologian, not a philosopher. Additionally, I am called to love people over ideas. This is actually extremely hard for me, but I think this is essential to what God has called me to. The end result is I have to censor myself. A LOT. I didn't always do this. It was a religious revelation that made it clear to me that my arguing and debating was a sin, and a violation of my call.

I want to stand up for what I think is right on a social level. I want to fight for my political positions and to fight against those I think are wrong, especially when their wrongness or ignorance is harmful. But God has empowered me to spread the GOSPEL, to tell people about the Love God has for them and has activated through Christ Jesus and to invite them into a relationship with HIM. That is my first and primary duty. A relationship, with God through Jesus Christ. I am here to bear witness to the true God as revealed on the Cross and the hope of man as revealed in the Resurrection. So I keep my mouth shut. A lot. And it is hard. It is especially hard when you love people and they hurt you with comments and innuendos and imply that people who believe like you believe (say, politically) are harmful or evil. It hurts so much when people I love belittle my beliefs or paint what I believe in a wrongheaded way. But, hey, who said love would be easy.

I want to yell out and say 'NO, it isn't like that I'M not like that' and to give my not inconsiderable reasoning as to why I do what I do and believe what I believe on almost every issue. If I wasn't a minister, if Christ's holy community was not given charge in part to me, I'd be able to let this storm inside free. God, it is so hard. But my duty is to this community and to the Body of Christ, over and against my own personal feelings, even my own personal beliefs.

This extends to religious beliefs, too, really. There are many doctrines I feel are important but I subvert doctrine to relationship with Jesus Christ. I don't go around arguing theology that might bother people, if I think it impedes them seeking out Jesus Himself. But holding my tongue? Not arguing? It doesn't come natural. And it is times like those I wonder why God called me to this life. Of course, most of the rest of the time, I can't imagine being called to anything else.

No comments:

Post a Comment