For many years, the bulletin in my church would provide name and title for several people involved in worship services. Calling out the organist and lay reader, for example, is just as important as identifying the choir director and pastor. That list also had an entry for minister as "every member of the congregation." At least from a Protestant Christian perspective, all of us are ministers. The term is not a synonym for someone who pastors a local church.

I mention this to provide some context for a statement that I feel compelled to make. It might be obvious. Then again, maybe not. Among other things, Inappropriate Conversations is, for me, a ministry.

Am I "preaching" the notion that strict separation of politics, religion, and aspects of popular culture (including sexuality) has not served us well? Perhaps. If so, this post is not a signal that things are changing in any way. On the contrary, I anticipate the tone and approach remaining the same.

It may be enough to say, for now, that I am reaching out in several directions, intentionally.

  • * I'm asking Christians to view Jesus as something more than a celebrity they follow with an "I like this" or even an "I'm like this" mentality.
  • * I'm correcting or even rebuking those who seem to worship their Bible, whether they realize it or not, without actually having a full understanding of what it says.
  • * I'm also reaching out to people who have left the church or bypassed it completely because they have been either marginalized or harmed by what I call "politically active Christianity" but is more commonly known by terms like "the religious right."
  • * Finally, I'm delighted to know that I'm also speaking (literally, from a podcast perspective) with like-minded Christians. Almost without exception, these are followers of Christ who have felt the Holy Spirit move them, either in a completely different direction or simply out of complacency.

That last group describes me as well. Examples are sprinkled throughout these podcasts -- sporadically, by design, to avoid becoming preachy. Make no mistake, though, ministry can and does happen in a variety of ways. It doesn't require a worship service, and certainly not a sermon. Is there some risk in speaking up, in exercising my freedoms of religion and speech in this manner? There shouldn't be, politically, for reasons that go back to the founding of this country.

I believe there is greater risk in silence. Why, and what does that have to do with ministry or God? "It's far better to say something that should not be said, than not to say something that should be said." I attribute those words to the Holy Spirit at 1:37 a.m. CST on February 7, 1987. How would you remain willfully silent after hearing that? I haven't and I won't.

Inappropriate Conversations
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