Starting From Scratch Means We Have To Scratch Something
I talk with lots of pastors and I talk with lots of church-goers and non-church-goers. Here's what I'm discovering that's pretty consistent with all groups: pastors are burning out and full of frustration and resentment because they don't feel free to be themselves or to be authentic. Church-goers and non-... same thing: we are not allowed to be ourselves or be authentic. For the vast majority of those connected with church in any way, it is one of the most inhumane and soul-murderous thing in their lives. So, I have an idea. Why don't we all decide right now, starting now, that we all just be ourselves? Why don't we let down our pretenses and allow others to do the same? Why don't we just start being authentically who we are and respect others as they try to do the same? Why don't we all stop playing Church and playing Christian and just be the people that we are? If I am me and you are you and we are the church, then let's relax and let that reality exist without impinging our expectations and desires and goals and visions upon this reality! We get so anal about needing to live up to some idea we have of what a Christian is and we get so obsessive about what we think the church should look and act like that we miss the fact that we already are these things. I realize as I write this that some of you will feel compelled to write, "You are right, nakedpastor! We should only be in the image of Christ, and remember that the church is his body!" There are so many problems with this that I can't even begin to comment on it. First of all, I say discover who you are! And look and see what the church already is with clear and unambitious eyes. Look at yourself and others with love. Let down your guard, your expectations, your religious ideas and finally notice what already is! Scratch all the superfluous. Then you might be able to know the naked self it is you are surrendering to this that you call the Christ. The fine art photograph is the creation of my friend Howard Nowlan.