Thursday, January 29, 2009

Me, a pastor, on the church and 'Cheers'

As my family and I start to work through the transitions of our lives; finishing at one church and anticipating starting at another; I have a few thoughts.  Add to that we are in annual meeting time when we write reports and reflect and plan for the future there is a few thoughts banging around in the grey fluffy bits between my ears.

Randall wrote a post yesterday about overhearing a group of pastors discussing things in a bookstore today.  His post pushed the thoughts that have been brewing down below to the surface of my mind.

Let me start by saying this - I love the church.  Really I do.  
For some people I know this is perhaps the most unbelievable thing I could write.  The church is a place that sometimes is a hard place to be.  We are sometimes hurt by what happens in church.  

But as I reflect on my journey, for all the things that at times drive me crazy about the church and about her people; I also know that without her I would not know God as I do today.  I became a pastor because I felt like it was through the church that God reached out and made Himself known to me.  Because of all that, I think the purpose of the church is the single most important thing going on here on the big blue marble called earth.

Often I think the most important thing I can do to help the church is simply to love her and her people.  

As a young(er) person I would (like many) watch "Cheers".  I think one of the things I (and likely many others) liked about that show was that idea that despite all the stuff that is going on in life there was a place of friends you could go to be together and hang out.  

I have always really like the theme song from Cheers written by Gary Portnoy , the show only ever played the first verse of the song, but here's the whole song.

Makin' your way in the world today
Takes everything you've got
Taking a break from all your worries
Sure would help a lot
Wouldn't you like to get away?

All those nights when you've got no lights
The check is in the mail
And your little angel
Hung the cat up by it's tail
And your third fiance didn't show

Sometimes you wanna go
Where Everybody Knows Your Name
And they're always glad you came
You wanna be where you can see
Our troubles are all the same
You wanna be Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Climbing the walls when no one calls
You've lost at love again
And the more you're down and out
The more you need a friend
When you long to hear a kind hello

Roll out of bed, Mr. Coffee's dead
The morning's looking bright
And your shrink ran off to Europe
And didn't even write
And your husband wants to be a girl

Be glad there's one place in the world
Where Everybody Knows Your Name
And they're always glad you came
You wanna go where people know
People are all the same
You wanna go Where Everybody Knows Your Name 

I think the song is a longing, a desire to go somewhere where people accept you as is.  Where you can just 'be'.  I think that's my prayer for the church.  That we would be like Cheers, no, not in the womanizing beer drinking way, but in the way where people can come and gather and be accepted, and dare I say, even loved, as disfunctional and as messed up as we are.  To me that's the great promise of the gospel; that I'm loved just as I am, and more than that Jesus loves me so much he doesn't leave me where I am but helps me grow and become more.

I hope these ramblings make sense to another mind besides my own...

Here's the song (or a part of it anyways)


Tarasview said...

you KNOW I agree with you :)

Amanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

what a funny video!!

Anonymous said...

I always loved Cheers too; I never thought of the church in this way, but would love to! Mom-in-law

Barbro said...

I thought it was so cute to see your wife as the follower on your photoblog. You have some remarkable photos on there.
My son (30 yr) was into painting before he died (heroin overdose), so I always look at all art with longing eyes. Good luck with all your projects
and I wish your family well.