“You can’t please God in any other way but to be brutally honest.” -Bono
Leigh Anne and I got married in the middle of my first and only church pastoral role. One Sunday, before driving to an evening service, we wandered into another heated argument. The fight continued on the drive and came to a sudden halt the moment we opened our car doors. A couple from the church was walking by, and our faces instantly turned from hurt and frustration to feigned smiles.
During that same season of life, I requested that the church leadership grant permission for me to visit local 3rd places to be a student of the town. One Thursday night, I entered a restaurant and took the stairs to the basement that housed a local bar. As I cleared the turn from the stairs to the bar, one of the church members saw me and uttered, “Oh shit, it’s Pastor Jason.” (Incidentally, I always thought his quote would make a great memoir title.)
We ended up sitting together and had a candid conversation about his life, his work, his thoughts on church and Christianity. With the absence of the church walls came an absence of the “shoulds”. Honest conversation occurred, and God was in our midst.
What if it’s our humanity, our brokenness, our damaged lives where God meets us and works? What if this honest appraisal of who we are and who we are not reveals the love and grace of God? And what if courageous honesty become the bedrock of a deeper faith?
I write out of a desire to live an honest Christian life.
All tribes have the proclivity to create tribal expectations that, when mixed with self-righteous judgment, can strip away honesty and transparency. But then the tribe is only as good as its members and loses the ability to point to something bigger. In order to have real stories about God, the human messiness must be included.
I write because I am a thinker and a pastor.
Writing tasks my entire being: heart, will and soul, to sit, observe and reflect. Movement without reflection is wasteful. Writing without listening is drivel. I consider it a spiritual discipline as much a creative endeavor.
I share these writings as one more way to live out my pastoral heart. Since I am not a vocational pastor, many of my stories and reflections have stayed bottled up and shelved. Hence this blog as I do not see myself ever returning to the pastorate. But my pastoral heart remains.
I write for the pure joy and madness of writing.
Attempting to keep any conscious and subconscious motivation in check, I do not believe I am proving myself as a sage, though the temptation and desire to be revered and considered important remains forever crouched at my door. I am a storyteller who chooses to wrestle with life, both the seen and the unseen. And due to my thirteen years in the hospice field, so much of the seen and unseen has wrestled back.
I write because I am surrounded by the repulsive and the beautiful, the mundane and the ineffable.
I write because I breathe.