Monday, June 22, 2015

Naive and arrogant

As I think back over my time as a pastor/church leader, I am ashamed and humbled to realize just how naive and arrogant I really was. What's worse is, I didn't think I was at the time. In fact, I thought just the opposite. Now I can see so clearly how unknowing, immature, proud, and self-important I thought I was.

This past Saturday I found myself seated beside two gentlemen that have been involved in pastoral ministry/church leadership for 65 years EACH. They have very different personalities, but both simply wreak humility, patience, kindness, generosity, etc, etc. It is people like this who make me look forward to growing old. I only hope I can do it as well as they have.

I have not always felt that way about "seasoned saints." I remember clear back to when I had just become a follower of Jesus - probably around the time I got a "talking to" for wearing shorts to take up the offering. That's when I first began having ideas about the need for a church for "regular people" like me. Of  course, what that also implied was... I thought I knew better. I was naive then in that I didn't realize there were already churches like that and even in those churches there were people who didn't agree with the way everyone did everything. I was also arrogant in that I thought I was thinking/feeling something new.

Even after gaining experience in different leadership roles and attending seminary, there were not just a few people who warned me/us of how we would be treated, what things would be like, etc. They told us to watch out for the first people who befriended us in a church, or the people who 'seemed' to be our most trusted confidants. I was still so naive and arrogant as to think that "My church is not going to be like that. We're going to do things different; and I'm not going to be on guard against the people I am in community with."

Ugh. Little did I know how little I knew. I pastored the same church for 14 years, and I STILL thought we were different. I still didn't want to believe the rules of humanity applied to us/me. And it hurt. It still hurts two years later. Now I wonder if it's just as much the embarrassment as it was the betrayal. I don't know...

So, now I'm a wash-up old guy. It's kind of odd how the leaders at the church we're attending now seem to regard me much the same way I did older people when I was younger. Not that I have anything to offer them, and not that they are naive or arrogant themselves... It's just odd being on the "other side," so to speak. I certainly don't think I was a terrible person - or even a terrible pastor - but I do have my share of regrets. Thinking I knew a 'better way' or that we were somehow different are just a couple. And so it goes...