Saturday, March 29, 2008

Beyond Church Disillusionment

One thing is for sure, this 2008 race has tons of people fired up and in the process already. The more idealistic you are, the more you are likely to get hurt or at least disappointed. Of course, idealism works- people want to think the best of their candidate.

With churches, the same is true. People are pretty idealistic when joining a faith community. They are thinking the best of their new church home, hoping and believing that it will work for them. If the church doesn't somehow measure up to their expectations, expectations usually formed by the church's own self-presentation, then it is easy to become disillusioned, a disillusionment, by the way, often experienced by new clergy who realize that a community of faith is not all it was cracked up (read: presented) to be.

There is a line in the Serenity Prayer that comes to mind: "...that I may be reasonably happy in this life..." Balancing our expectations with reality is the way of wisdom, and the art of becoming happy within reason is perhaps what St. Paul meant: "I have learned to be content in all things."

It is easy to enjoy the excitement of this political season, and the hope it raises. The joy in finding a new church or going to a new pastoral assignment is also wonderful, a gift and a vessel of God's grace. Hopefully, our political hopes and the grace of the new can and will draw us closer to the One that we cannot do without- and the One beyond our wildest dreams.

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