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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Telling the truth - Buechner

Poor, bare, forked animal in his cassock, his preaching robe, or his business suit, with his heart in his mouth, if not yet his foot.

What can he say? What word can he speak with power enough to empower them!

But let him take heart. He is called not to be an actor or a magician in the pulpit. He is called to be himself!

He is called to tell the truth as he has experienced it. He is called to be human. (And that is calling enough for any of us.)

If he does not make real to them the human experience of what it's like to cry into the storm and receive no answer, to be sick at heart and find no healing, then he becomes the only one there who seems not to have had that experience, because most surely, under their bonnets and shawls and jackets, under their afros and pony tails, all the others there have had it, whether they talk about it or not.

As much as anything else it is their experience of the absence of God (meaning) that has brought them there, that has brought them there in search of God's (meaning's) presence.

And if the preacher does not speak of that, and to that, then he becomes like the captain of a ship, who's the only one aboard the ship who either does not know that the waves are twenty feet high and the decks awash, or will not face up to it so that anything else he tries to say by way of hope and comfort and empowering becomes suspect on the basis of that one crucial ignorance or disingenuous-ness or cowardice or reluctance to speak in love any truths but the ones that people love to hear.

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