The Pastor's Buzz

Pastor Buzz Trexler's blog for God's people in The Meadow.

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Name: Buzz Trexler
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Journalist for 29 years; married to Donna for 28 years; parent of David, 27, and Elizabeth, 24; pastor of Green Meadow United Methodist Church in Alcoa since 2002.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

The Politics of Postings ...

Preachers sometimes are part of "Lectionary Groups," where we bat around Scripture and sermon ideas.

I take part in two such groups: One is a "real-time" group that meets pretty much weekly, or at least tries to, and the other is an online (i.e., Internet) group. My real-time group also serves as something of an accountability group. The Internet-based group is much too anonymous to serve such a purpose.

The Internet-based group also veers off into politics -- a penchant for which I loathe.

For instance, this week's Scripture is Luke 18:9-14. You know the one (from "The Message"):

"He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: "Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: 'Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people--robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.'

"Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, "God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.'"

Jesus commented, "This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you're going to end up flat on your face, but if you're content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself."

One of the preachers in my online lectionary group couldn't resist what she saw as political overtones:

"oh, but what better way to get a dig in at the Re-Publicans? 'Round here they ARE the Pharisees; they're married up with the Christian right.

Call me a dickens ... hehehehe"

I had had enough, and thought I would share my response on this blog:

"You know, I come back to this board, read a few posts and think, 'Gee, I really miss some of the theological insights.' Then it doesn't take long until I see why it is I do not come here more often: It's the self-righteous political plugs:

"To which I can only say, 'Physician, heal thyself.'

"I read your posts and hear some of you say, "'God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector (or Re-Publican).'

"It wouldn't take long to also hear, 'Mercy for me, justice for George Bush and anyone else aligned with the GOP.'

"You see, a pharisiacal spirit knows no political determinism. You merely have to pretend to be highly moral or virtuous -- even considering yourself better than others.

"Funny how someone else's sin is more repugnant than our own, huh? Sort of like when you eat lunch at a Mexican restaurant and your spouse says, 'Where'd you eat today?!'

"Guess I'll take another hiatus."

And I probably will, except that even in reading that post it makes me look at myself.

Funny how the gospel does that, huh?

Grace and peace.