The Pastor's Corner - January 2021

The Vision Newsletter: Notes from the Pastor's Desk

Some stoic souls will reply to “how are you today?” with a pretty low bar reply: “I’m above ground.”

There is a nearly universal relief that 2020 is waning. As we look forward,

 it would be difficult to imagine another year with as much disappointment, turmoil, and grief.

 I hope I am not too far off base blaming the largest portion of our distress on the way our news is presented to us. This has been a year of bad news, fake news, and bloviation. I remember how it started for me, on January 5th, I was in Florida after my father’s memorial service on the 4th. It was the first Sunday I had not been in the pulpit, and I woke up that morning the plan for division has been determined for the United Methodist Church. There were a bunch of text messages in my inbox and I spent some time that morning writing a rebuttal that I hoped would clarify the facts. No plan in place, just a “working group” of 16 people and a press release. Dr. John Burgette read my understanding of the situation from the pulpit that morning. The news was wrong. The news was more viewpoint than truth.

It went on from there. Chinese mystery disease. Anger at closing our borders. Anger about not closing our borders soon enough. Catastrophic pandemic. Inadequate supplies of just about everything from face masks to toilet paper. Shutting down gatherings. Crushing the economy. Impeachment of the President. Political conventions with polar opposite views of “what is.” Panic, and people feeding the panic, made billions, maybe even trillions, of dollars.

Based on what we have been fed in the news, and what we have experienced in the less than linear story lines, I remember what one of my campus ministry kids told me about working for Associates Press (AP) after he graduated: “you can’t spell ‘cheap’ without AP.” I thought about that for a minute and determined by extension, United Press International (UPI), “you can’t spell stupid without UPI.” News: consider the source.

All of the above seems to me not very pastoral. These monthly messages should be pastoral… OK.

So here is what I hope answers all the concerns stated above…

I hope you don’t lose faith based on what you hear. One of my professors in Seminary said Christians must think globally and act locally. I have learned a lot this year that affirms that. I pray it will result in wisdom I can share, as others have also learned a lot this year.

All God’s people yearn to know the truth. Jesus promised in John 8:32, “the truth shall set you free.”

Veritas Vos Liberabit might be a good motto for us in 2021. It is a pretty high bar.