Say What You Mean

Lillian Daniel has gotten really saucy.

She created quite a kerfuffle two weeks ago with her overt frustration with those that claim to be “spiritual but not religious.” I especially liked that though this was a longer article in the Christian Century, it appeared in devotional format. It exposed the honest fact that praying people can be frustrated even while they are praying.

Well, she’s done it again. In today’s Stillspeaking Devotional, Daniel continues her exasperation. This time she’s not directing it at those people that don’t come to church or choose not to go to church. Instead, she’s directing her frustrated prayer to the church itself. Quibbling and quoting demands our churches to articulate their vision. And she’s right. Too often, especially in progressive faith circles, we define ourselves by what we are not. We’re not them — but we never actually say what we are.

In some gathering I attended (though I can’t actually remember where this brilliance came from), I was forced to do this for myself. I was forced to compose an elevator speech about myself where I said everything that I could say about myself before the elevator hit the ground. It’s always a short building when this scenario happens. It’s not New York City, sadly. This was such a good practice for me that I’ve started asking it of the church. Interestingly, it’s the only time I hear us make positive statements about who we are rather than doing a compare and contrast against those other Christians. It’s the one time that we’re not quibbling or quoting. (I like the phrase.) Instead, we start to articulate who we truly are. Sometimes, we’re even a little bit saucy. But I think that people need to know that Christians can be saucy. Let’s say that more.

And for the love of God, mean what you say.

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