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The Candidate Meeting – A Fable

13 Feb

Good Sam GlassOnce upon a a Sunday morning…

“I’d like to thank you all for coming,” the friendly Pastor entoned. “Last Sunday, Mr. Josephson asked to join our church, and we’ve discussed this among our church leadership and Membership Committee this week. I’d like to ask Mr. Michaels to present their findings and recommendations now.”

“Thank you, Pastor,” Jerry Michaels began, as he addressed the half dozen or so church leaders gathered around the small conference table drinking coffee during the Sunday School hour before Worship. “As you know, here at First Godly Church in the Community, we try to take a leadership role in presenting the Gospel and godly civic and family values for and to our town.

“We did some ‘due diligence’ research, Mr. Josephson, regarding your membership here. You have shown remarkable Biblical knowledge, and have volunteered to teach Bible Study for the church. You’ve already impressed a number of our members and young people, and we wanted to consider you for a position of leadership in the church, beyond simple membership.

“So, it was a bit of a disappointment, on all of our parts,” as Jerry looked sadly around the table, to nods of some of his committee colleagues, “when we looked into your activities in the community, to find that you have a very questionable reputation. You’ve been seen to drink, and provide drinks for others. You keep very unsavory company. You are unmarried, but have been seen in the company of women of… well, let’s just say, very colorful reputation.

“You must understand, its not just our concern about yourself, your own morality, or whether we trust you and your actions. It’s a matter of your witness, your identification with our church, and what the community will think of this church, and us as members.

“I’m very sorry, Pastor… Mr. Josephson… but at this point it is the recommendation of our committee that you NOT be accepted as a candidate for membership, although you are welcome to continue to worship with us. You go to unacceptable places, consort with unacceptable people, and engage in unacceptable activities, such as drinking, dancing or partying, that give you a reputation for disreputable living and deeply compromise your witness both within this church and in the community.

“At some future date, should you repent of your sins and these activities, we would be happy to reconsider your request for membership. But for the moment, I’m afraid that’s not possible. Is there anything you would like to add, Pastor?” Jerry asked.

“No, not really,” the Pastor said, sadly, “except to invite Mr. Josephson,” he interrupted himself to look kindly at the candidate with his warmest smile, “is it all right if I call you by your first name, Josh?” Seeing the young man nod, he went on, “I really want to invite you to come join us, let us pray for you, and encourage you to repent your sins and your lifestyle whenever you are ready. We truly care for you here at the First Godly Church.”

All eyes turned to the candidate, Joshua Josephson, as he smiled gently and nodded. Everyone waited for him to say a few words in response. Finally, he spoke.

“Well, Pastor… Gentlemen… I’d like to thank you for your courtesy and consideration this morning, and your warm fellowship in this time. I think I’ll be moving on now. Please don’t think I’m upset or angry at your words, I have been through meetings like this more times than I can count. I come to serve, and right now I am seeking a church home that will hear and receive Me just as I Am. Ministry is sort of a family business for Me, and this is how we’ve done it for ages.

“You’ve been very gracious, and I know you guard your reputation very diligently. At the moment, I have come to seek a church a bit less concerned for reputation, as concerned for grace and faith. I’ve nothing to repent, I’m afraid. But I shall move on down the road to seek a church. I’ve come back here, wondering if when I came I would find faith.

“I am still seeking, but I always hope. I’ll look forward to seeing you around town from time to time. For now, I’ll just take My leave and move on.

“By the way, feel free to just call me Josh. Somewhere, I’m sure there’s a church for Me. Have a great Worship Service. Goodbye, for now.”

And, quietly wiping His feet at their door, gently He closed it behind Him as He left.

The group sat sadly for a moment just sipping their coffee. Finally, Jerry said, “Well, that was a doggone shame. But… well… He just wasn’t our sort, was He?”

“No,” the Pastor agreed, shaking His head, “He really just didn’t get it. Not our sort at all.”

The End

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23 responses to “The Candidate Meeting – A Fable

  1. paulfg

    February 13, 2014 at 3:15 AM

    You ever get that moment when you cry tears of true laughter and true sorrow at the same time? And then the laughter stops and the sorrow remains? And then the thinking kicks in, and the love kicks in, and the love takes over. And the sorrow becomes sadness. And a desire to reach out and connect that love builds inside where the good stuff is. And becomes purposeful? More connecting – more wanting?

    Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

     
  2. Little Monk

    February 13, 2014 at 3:19 AM

    🙂 Glad you like it. I can’t take credit, though. That was one of those posts that was just “there” *poof*… full blown… in an instant. Like when He says, “Just sit down and type what I say…”

    Cheers, grace 🙂 — LM

    Like

     
    • paulfg

      February 13, 2014 at 8:56 AM

      I love your hotline.

      Like

       
  3. Shakti Ghosal

    February 13, 2014 at 6:27 AM

    Beautiful!

    As I completed the post the one takeaway for me is the wondrous benefits of genuine connections. Would you agree?

    Shakti

    Liked by 1 person

     
  4. Don Merritt

    February 13, 2014 at 7:36 AM

    What am awesome story! Oh my!

    Will Josh ever find a church home? Probably not around here!

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Little Monk

      February 13, 2014 at 7:55 AM

      It is always and only my hope that when He does, I will be a servant there at the time. 🙂 Like Him, I live in hope!

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      • paulfg

        February 13, 2014 at 9:29 AM

        Hmmmph … small comment chaps. I am feeling more and more at home here every day. Are we back to the “building stuff” – somewhere to keep church stuff, somewhere for committee stuff, and all that stuff? Because you want to know something weird? My hotline is calling me into the “building stuff” with this “virtual stuff” coming with me. One mustard seed – internet charged.

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  5. Don Merritt

    February 13, 2014 at 7:37 AM

    Reblogged this on Life Reference and commented:
    You’ve got to read this post, it is no less that brilliant, and sadly it’s all too true!

    Like

     
  6. bornagainjen

    February 13, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    I feel like God gave you that post to write for me this morning. I am in that exact situation except the issue is that I believe in equality for homosexual people and don’t want to ‘pray for them that they will repent for their lifestyle whenever they’re ready’. I was poised to take on a position of leadership at my church and am entering seminary and was hoping for a career within this denomination.

    Now I am at an impasse and my chances for leadership are next to nothing. I came to serve. I’m ready to dedicate my life and all of my skills and energy to serve God and the church. I just have to find the church that wants me. Thank you for this. I’ve been praying and asking God for guidance. This post is just a little too ‘coincidental’. Thanks for listening to His voice.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Little Monk

      February 13, 2014 at 12:42 PM

      Dear Jen,

      I’ve wanted to pray and weigh my words here carefully.

      First, thank you for this comment. As I said to Paulfg earlier, no credit to me, thanks. It just seemed to “be there” and He seemed to want to post it, so… all credit to Him, I just got to push the little buttons. K…

      Second, the sense of being “called to a ministry, bigger/different/more gracious than my church or denomination will allow”… is one I know more deeply than you can possibly imagine. I see Christ, love, ministry, and grace with very few “boundaries, borders, fences, and controls”… but O my goodness… there are those who are so deeply enamored of their borders and boundaries they will ruthlessly sacrifice almost ANYTHING or anyone of grace, to maintain their own autocracy, control, and personal sense of safety.

      My biggest temptations in those moments are: to focus on the “offender”‘ (church, denomination, whatever) with anger, frustration, and condemnation (judging them)… which we are forbidden to do; OR to become so disgusted with the challenge to “be all things to all people”, that I give up on the whole political mess, and fail to engage in the battle anymore. I have yielded, by degrees in both of those temptations, but I know them to BE temptations of the Enemy because that takes my gaze and attention off of Jesus, and puts it on to myself or others. The Enemy doesn’t care HOW He gets us to de-focus off Jesus, even through religion itself, as long as it gets the job done. Try to avoid both of those temptations, knowing that I for one… certainly have had my times of dalliance with them… as far as possible.

      Third, at the risk of sounding HOPELESSLY simple, childish, and naive… If you can avoid those two big pitfalls… the “solution” the “answer”… is the one expressed recently by Paulfg (either this morning or yesterday). The answer is… “Whatever He says, do it.” The tricky bit, for me, is to dial back my own adrenalin, frustration, and (often) ego… to “HEAR” what He’s saying. I can offer no concrete advice or direction for you or this situation, as to Option A, B, or C.

      I CAN say: (A) The Lord has always been clear with me, when I calmed enough to hear Him. (B) I have always been blessed with godly counsel through mentors who have known me and watched me grow through my walk, who could help me sort out issues and “dial back the adrenalin” when I’ve had tough choices to make. They have never made them for me, nor even recommended one over another. But they’ve always focused on the grace, the love, the Christ in the matter, and encouraged me to find Him in the situation. (C) The Enemy loves to bring division, conflict, and a sense of “showdown” or “confrontation” to differences of view. God… from Solomon and the baby with two mothers, to Paul/Peter/Apostles/James settling the issue of “what is required of new Christians” in the First Century… seems to indicate to me that when godly people of good will seek wisdom and direction through the Holy Spirit, “creative and unexpected solutions” often appear out of what look like insoluble dilemmas. There’s a world of difference between “creative solution” and “compromise”, and it is sometimes important to remind ourselves of that, when the Enemy is seeking to drive action through adrenalin.

      Well… there ya go… lot’s of “advice that is no advice” (and probably very little help, lol). You are now officially on my prayer list, You are welcome, always, to follow up on discussion through email… I am Little_Monk_60@yahoo.com. And I suspect there are elder encouragers in your own life, who will help… nest your heart… in such moments, just as mine have for me.

      Blessings and grace to thee!

      The Little Monk

      Like

       
  7. bornagainjen

    February 13, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    Reblogged this on Born Again Jen and commented:
    I ran across this post this morning and it speaks acutely into a situation I’m facing since declaring that I stand for equality for homosexual people in the church. The fable is representative of many of my own feelings. To be fair, my Pastor has scheduled a meeting with me to discuss possibilities for going forward within disagreement and works very hard to meet me where I am. He is a great Pastor and a really good person – making this situation all the more difficult and sad. I don’t know yet how my own personal situation will resolve and have faith that God will guide us. I’ll write another post soon dedicated to this subject, but enjoy this fable for now.

    Liked by 1 person

     
  8. insideheathershead

    February 13, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    I absolutely LOVE this. Wow. Just wow. I was just reading how the Pharisees practically stalked Jesus, waiting for Him to “break the law” and pounced when His apostles ate wheat (harvesting? really?) and when Jesus healed the man with the deformed hand (working on Sabbath? seriously?). Meanwhile, they were plotting His murder (but THAT’S not breaking the law…) and consorting with Romans to do so. But of course, THEIR reputation was above reproach.
    How sad that they closed the door of their hearts to Him and were so blinded by their self-righteousness they couldn’t see what the Son of Joseph was offering them.
    I thank God for sharing this story through you today.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Little Monk

      February 13, 2014 at 6:08 PM

      Thank you, Heather.

      Never thought about the Pharisees “stalking” Jesus before, but yes, you are right. Also I never noticed that in all that lead up to the Crucifixion, they never ever broke “the Law”. Isn’t that interesting. I’ll have to spend some time with that thought. T

      Thank you so much for your thoughts and sharing! I appreciate it. Glad you’re here!

      Blessings & grace to thee! — LM

      Like

       
  9. realchange4u

    February 13, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    Our job. Get them to church. God will clean then up in his time. Almost seems like Jerry had a board in his eye. Sad that some folks actually work that way. Great reminder. Seems like Jesus hung around some questionable folks to.

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    • Little Monk

      February 13, 2014 at 6:11 PM

      Yessir… “questionable folks” indeed. Still does, I think… myself among them! And I’m so very grateful to Grace that He does. Isn’t that GREAT!!! Too bad Jerry won’t take the time to hang out with Him there, but oh, well. Jerry’s loss, our gain, eh?

      Welcome, and thank you so much for commenting! Have a blessed week! — LM

      Like

       
  10. vwoods1212

    February 13, 2014 at 6:59 PM

    thnxs for sharing. gives one cause to pause and reflect..

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Little Monk

      February 13, 2014 at 10:35 PM

      This is really all addressing a single question… “who judges?” And the dangers of answering this questions…. well… think of the knight in the cavern of the Holy Grail… “He chose… poorly….”

      Grace — LM

      Like

       
      • vwoods1212

        February 14, 2014 at 12:16 AM

        The books of St. John is amazing: as you go throughout the various chapters we see at one point (5) God gives judgment to the Son, later on the Son defer judgment to the Word, “let the word do the judging”.

        In my humble estimation, our conscious cannot be seared with hot irons as it relates to the Word. I am humbled just to have been chosen to accept Jesus where we live in a world where many choose not to. Finally, let I pray that God’s word will do ALL that it needs to do in my life:))

        Like

         
        • Little Monk

          February 14, 2014 at 12:20 AM

          “I pray that God’s word will do ALL that it needs to do in my life:))”

          There’s my prayer for myself as well. Thank you for your prayers for me. I always need them!

          Grace — LM

          Like

           
  11. Pieter Stok

    February 13, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    Ouch!

    Like

     
    • Little Monk

      February 13, 2014 at 10:39 PM

      How many of us have attended the First Godly Church? Or served on such a committee?

      Welcome and thank you for speaking! 🙂

      Grace — LM

      Like

       
  12. Catherine Fowler

    February 14, 2014 at 12:03 AM

    Reblogged this on Shania's song..

    Like

     

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