Beginning Friday is the 28th General Synod of the United Church of Christ. I won't be attending, but thought I'd revisit this post from March 2008.
I want to preach at General Synod.
I preach almost every week, so you know I’ve had a lot of practice.
No, seriously. You should see it. I’ve got a couple shelves of commentaries that I pull out every week, and I study. I turn the text inside out, pull it apart, piece it back together and make new shapes out of it. I ponder the richness of its meaning for a new day and age where people are interested in the new day and age. I relate it. I’m very good at relating. You could say that I’m relatable. I’m a relatable preacher. I take a text and relate it because people like relatability. You should see the amount of relating that I do. This isn’t some dusty, overly poetic stuff…I’m gritty. A gritty kind of relatable. Unless you don’t like gritty. Do you like gritty? Or do you like poetic more? I can do poetic. But rest assured, it’s a relatable poetic.
So let me preach at General Synod. I preach almost every week, so you know I’ve had a lot of practice.
Maybe you’re looking for something more prophetic, something to really bring the masses to their feet in passionate angry appreciation. Maybe you want something that’ll inspire protests and demonstrations and strongly-worded letters and righteous indignation, but most of all something that’ll look good on a DVD.
I’m righteous. I’m indignant. I’d look good on a DVD. Just you watch. I’ll righteously, indignantly cut down the evil empires of our day and age (not someone else’s day and age, mind you, but OUR day and age, the NEW day and age). I’ll cut them down with God’s righteous anger, which happens to be my righteous anger, too. And it’ll be a relatable, poetic and/or gritty righteous anger for our new day and age and not some old has-been day and age.
Go ahead and let me preach at General Synod. I preach almost every week, so you know I’ve had lots and lots of practice.
I know what it is…you want someone who’s well-known. You want someone with a book deal, who speaks at conventions, who has honorary degrees and serves on National or International Councils of Justice and Truth. Well, it just so happens that once had a magazine article published. Yeah, really, I did. With ink. And on shiny paper. I spoke at an 8th-grade assembly once, and one other time I gave a talk to a senior citizens’ group. I serve on a local board that oversees a food pantry. I walk in the Relay for Life. I don’t have an honorary degree, but I have three that I studied for. Plus I’m sure any day now somebody will give me one. It’s just a matter of time. They’ll read my magazine article or watch me walking around that track and be all like, “Hey! That’s our guy!” I’m sure that’s all it’ll take.
Let me preach at General Synod. You know you want to. I preach almost every week and to our day and age, not to some crusty old day and age with horse-drawn wagons and outdoor toilets. You know I’ve had lots of practice.
I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy. Maybe that’ll help. I can have my guy with the phone number for the next guy CALL the next guy, who will in turn look up his number for the next next guy, who subsequently of course will call the aforementioned guy and say, “This guy I know, who knows this other guy, knows this other guy who knows a guy who wants to preach at Synod. He’ll preach to our day and age and get people to write strongly-worded letters and has a magazine article and any day now will have an honorary degree. Okay then, I’ll let him know he’s in!” And that’s all it’ll take because when they hear that I’ll preach to our day and age and not some musty day and age with wooden ships and the Plague, I know they’ll give me a shot.
So get me on the freaking schedule for General Synod, because I preach almost every week and sometimes twice if it’s Christmas Eve, so I’ve had tons and tons of practice.
Okay, fine. They won’t give me a stupid honorary degree. Not many people have really seen my magazine article, but the few that did gave me some very nice compliments. I know a guy…hell, I know a lot of guys. Some of them come to my Bible studies, one plows the parking lot, and another one watches wrestling with me. They know some guys who in turn know some guys, but really all we do is keep up with each others’ lives and sometimes pray and sometimes just talk and laugh.
I don't proclaim justice from the rooftops that often, but I’ve had some honest one-on-one conversations. I’ve never really gotten that righteously indignant, but I’ve hounded people to give more time and energy to Habitat and food delivery and cancer treatment and mental health awareness. I don't run an orphanage or anything like that, but I help people in need when I meet them.
I’ve never even received a standing ovation, not even at that 8th-grade assembly. But some people think that I have a gift. Some have said that through tears of sadness or laughter because something I said actually connected. It doesn’t happen every week or every month. But every once in a while I say the right thing.
You don’t have to let me preach at General Synod. But you have to understand that I’ve had lots of practice with relationships and people’s struggles with health, faith, life, and death, people who’ve been treated to the joy and the disappointment of this day and age. I talk to them a lot, and I often preach to them…almost every Sunday, in fact.
Almost every Sunday, but really almost every day of the week.
So you know I’ve had lots of practice.