. . . And another thing, Father!
Well before I get into any other complaints, I confess before you that I know I have to be careful. I know that a far more faithful servant than I – your dear friend Dietrich Bonhoeffer – once wisely observed, “A pastor should not complain about his congregation, certainly never to other people, but also not to God. A congregation has not been entrusted to him in order that he should become its accuser before God and men. When a person becomes alienated from Christian community in which he has been placed and begins to raise complaints about it, he had better examine himself first to see whether the trouble is not due to his wish-dream that should be shattered by God; and if this be the case, let him thank God for leading him into this predicament. But if not, let him nevertheless guard against ever becoming an accuser of the congregation before God.” (Life Together) So Father, first let me state that I’m not complaining about the congregation I have the pleasure of pastoring. I’m complaining about the general state of discipleship in the country of my birth. I know that in complaining to you about the state of discipleship in North America I am also forced to face myself and all the ways I fall short as a disciple. I’m okay with that, and I thank you for leading me into this “predicament” as Bonhoeffer described it. If, in asking you hard questions about believers, I have to face my own shortcomings – then I’m fine with you putting your spotlight on all the ways that I also fall short. But here’s the thing Father . . .