October 6, 2011

Just Starting

Like many 20 something semi-nerdy guys I have a sense of justice that has developed out of my love of cartoons, and superheroes. The idea of good guys stopping bad guys has been salient in my mind for as long as I can remember. As a matter of fact that desire helped me understand my call to ministry.

Since I was in Jr. High I had wrestled with the idea of going in to vocational ministry. But as I aged that idea had somewhat fallen out of my mind. At 20 I was unsure what I wanted to do with my life, and I was working at a call center. Then the local Catholic Church began a priest recruitment campaign. Every day on my drive to work I saw a billboard that was all black, except for the white square of a priest's collar. Below the collar were the words, 'Yes you get to fight evil. No you cannot wear a cape'.

The message rang loud and clear to me. If you want to be a force for all that is good, just and true don't don tights, but join the ministry. And so I did.

From that moment on two questions have been bouncing around in my mind;

1. I have wondered how the Catholic Church would feel knowing their ad campaign resulted in the creation of a Baptist minister. (Likewise I have wondered what my fellow Baptists would think if they knew that a number of significant spiritual development moments in my life were facilitated by the Catholic Church.)

2. Is my being in ministry, or more broadly speaking is the church truly aiding the cause of justice?

The second question is more important.

Can The Church Hope To Be Half As Recognized As A Source For Justice
As These Fictional Characters Who I Suspect Are Not Affiliated Any Actual Justice
Right now I am not convinced that the church is as justice orientated as it ought to be. Now don't get me wrong, I am nowhere near agreeing with the New Atheists when they claim that Christianity has done more harm in the world than good. I think by on large our record is pretty good, if not somewhat sporadic and peppered with great acts of injustice. 

Still I can't help but feel like we're not there yet. At least I know I am not. I know my heart for the poor, the widowed and the downtrodden is not the same as Christ's. But I want it to be. 

Likewise I know that as I Christian I am called, "To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Yet when I reflect on my life I am saddened to note that I do not live up to that charge. 

Right now I feel like I am not yet at the starting line, though I want to be there. I want to act justly. In that light I am happy to say for the next three months I am devoting myself, and my activities at the church to learning how to do this. This means we have some special events, some projects, and a justice preaching series in the works. 

But I am a justice novice and I would love your help. I would love to hear your stories of how God has used you to move forward the cause of justice in any form. Be that a short term mission's project, a paper you wrote in Jr. High or the ten years you spent developing an internationally recognized charity. I want to learn from you, so that I can pass on those lessons to others.

I am excited to see what God has in store for me, and for his church. And I am excited to be getting back to that original promise; Yes I get to fight evil, even if that means I can't wear a cape.