No Denial, No Fear

Two clergy friends are on my mind today–one creating a celebration and one causing sadness.

First, the celebration–my friend has kicked her lifelong cigarette addiction! Glory Hallelujah! Praise God! She was able to do it because she heard her soul (tobacco is like a god with you) in an argument with her brain (its hard to quit, you’ll gain weight and be ornery)–and her soul won. As she said to me, when they argue, her soul is always right.

My other friend was trying to help a dying church carry on its mission. But that meant they had to change and, as so often happens, they could not do that. He tried to lead them forward, but they did not renew his contract yesterday.

The lay leaders liked him well enough, but too many of the members–determined to keep things they way they have “always” been, even though it means certain and rapid death of their congregation–stopped giving, stopped coming, and never stopped hurling attacks at him.

Both acknowledge that they had been in denial for some time–she thinking she could not quit, he thinking that if the church members did not see the light he was a failure.

I often wonder, when Jesus says (as he does often), “Fear Not,” if he means, “Don’t Get Stuck in Denial. “