This morning I’m with my friend of the written word, the late Paul Scherer (Professor of Homiletics, Union Theological Seminary, editor of The Interpreter’s Bible, and for 25 years the pastor of Holy Trinity Church in NYC). He is not always the best of company because he writes some rather disturbing things. Here are just a few examples:
“What if God doesn’t seem to be around because underneath everything else in us there is something that doesn’t want him to be, couldn’t stand it if he were!”
“It may well be that the God we know, and the God we have, because he’s the God we want, is not the God who is.”
“One evening, in the middle of his sermon, an old evangelist, it is said, threw up his hands and shouted, ‘My friends, God hates religion!’ The whole Bible, Old Testament and New, is the story of how much he hates what we make of it.”
In spite of getting under my skin and disturbing my mind and stirring up my spirit, I still consider Paul Scherer a dear friend and have enjoyed his company for many years.
We tend to take the easy road, the road that has the fewer obstacles, the road that is most attractive, the road that is most comfortable. We tend to read the books that do not disturb, to watch the cable network that most suits our fancy, that fits our particular ideas, that comforts us in our status quo. We do this with everything—with our religious beliefs, our political stance, our companions, even with life itself! In doing so, we have sheltered ourselves in a safety zone, where our minds become stagnant, where our ideas are never questioned, where our partisan positions are never challenged, where we don’t have to work at anything anymore because we have everything down pat!
Thank you, Paul Scherer, for shaking my foundations and for forcing me, even at this stage of my life, to THINK, to QUESTION, to WONDER, and to CHALLENGE! You irk my soul, but I am grateful.