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Threads of Faith among Annoying People

March 23, 2018

Another Way for week of March 23, 2018

Threads of Faith among Annoying People

What’s this? A pastor who says you can expect to find annoying people in her church?

She got my attention right there. Ok, she didn’t say it exactly in those words. But because we’re all human, yes, we can all be annoying.

Dr. Tracy Kennan is senior pastor for Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) in Columbus, Ohio, assisted by associate pastor Katie Kinnison. We were happy to visit there recently and didn’t mind learning that yes, people at this church were pretty human.The reason the pastor was talking about annoying people was that she was inviting us to go deeper in all of our relationships–beyond the hello, good morning, how are you doing, terrible weather we’re having–repartee of a typical gathering whether at church, PTA, Rotary Club, Quota Club, or wherever. She was encouraging folks to become more involved, both in activities and with each other.

I have found that this is truly the way to get to know people better, especially at church where it is too easy to just show up Sunday morning and then quietly leave. Instead, volunteer to be on a committee, sing in the choir, clean up after an event, or help with a church work day. It is in those activities and relationships that the rub and the irritation happens, but that’s what makes families or a group of people grow in understanding and connection, right?

I recently finished reading a book by Rachel Held Evans, Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving and Finding the Church (Nelson Books, 2015). Evans, a popular blogger, grew up going to church every time the doors opened as did I, although in a different conservative circle. Her family went to a very traditional Southern Baptist church where women were not allowed to serve as pastors. However, that did not dissuade her at that point in her faith journey. In high school and college she was very active in campus faith groups and would have been known as the “girl on fire for God.”

Rachel Held Evans speaking at Eastern Mennonite University. Photo by Melodie Davis

But as so often happens, as she grew and matured, she begin to question things she had always believed. She and her young husband went through a phase where they just slept in and “had pancakes in our pajamas like everyone else.” The book is insightful and gratifying to read how and why they eventually made their way back to church. Earlier, Evans came to some national renown when she wrote a book exploring what would happen if Christians lived literally by some of the rules of the Old Testament, called A Year of Biblical Womanhood. In that book, she spent time sitting on the roof of her house, which was mostly a stunt she contrived to help her learn to tame a somewhat lippy mouth. And it helped sell books, which as an author I can appreciate.

I’ve met and spoken with Evans twice, and she is down to earth, honest, smart, funny and helps many of us better understand not only young adults but how and why they might approach faith genuinely but perhaps differently.

Back to Pastor Tracey Kennan as she reminded us that faith can be a stretch for the modern mind. Her sermon was called “This is Ridiculous!” and she noted the cross of the Christian faith can sound ridiculous, like lunacy. “God came to us, and we killed him. But he didn’t stay dead and he rose again.” Ridiculous! Even the Bible admits as much in 1 Corinthians 4:10: “We are fools for Christ.” You can find Kennan’s excellent sermon at the church’s website, https://www.covenantpcusa.org/sermons.

I started this column saying you can find annoying, very human people in church. In fact, Jesus himself was also human—and also divine. Not to say that Jesus was annoying, but he struggled mightily with his mission on earth and in the Garden of Gethsamane, begged God for a way out of the suffering of the crucifixion.

Kennan’s sermon helped me look at myself again: Am I annoying? In what way? Is there grace for me? Absolutely. As I prepare my heart for the great reminders of Christ’s eternal sacrifice of Good Friday, I want to be open to all messages from God.

***

Have you discovered deeper relationships as you’ve worked with or opened yourself up to others in social circles beyond your family and work colleagues? How did that go? I would love to hear your comments.

***

Or, the easier question perhaps: how do others find me annoying? 

I’m again offering a booklet I put together last year of Lenten Conversations, available as a free download at www.FindingHarmonyBlog.com/LentenConversationsPDF. Or receive a printed copy by mail. Send your name, address, and two U.S. postage stamps and I’ll send you a copy. Mail to Another Way Media, Box 363, Singers Glen, Va. 22850.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.  

 

 

 

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From → Faith, Family Life

3 Comments
  1. I have read both of Held’s books you mentioned here and have passed the Searching for Sunday volume on to my son.

    The blogging world has opened up a whole new frontier of writers, mostly women, whom I do not find annoying because I can “choose” those I want to engage with online. I am certain my husband finds me annoying at times but because he is more easy-going than I and full of grace, he overlooks my faults.

  2. You make a good point about being able to choose who to engage with online. You have a lot of wonderul followers! And your Cliff knows how to keep the wheels of marriage run smoothly. 🙂 You seem to be doing a lot of things right. Have a great weekend.

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