“When a Caretaker acts like an Undertaker”

kinnon —  February 12, 2008 — 1 Comment

[via John Frye] Please read all of this very good post from Denny Gunderson. Excerpt:

…there are two issues. One is creedal arrogance. In whatever form it comes or from whomever it emanates, it is repugnant even if I agree with the creed. That is because, aside from matters of the meaning and interpretation of the sacred text, projections of certainty become projectiles of heartlessness when hurled at people looking for help. We should feel offended when a caretaker acts like an undertaker, burying people under a scriptural mudslide.

The second issue is always my own heart, however. It is instinctive to want to fight fire with fire. Indeed, that is my nature. If someone else acts offensively, doesn’t that person deserve to be acted upon offensively? The problem, as Father Nouwen points out, is that we are all kin. We are of the anthropological genus Homo sapiens. Spiritually, we are all sinners. Our only saving grace is really not ours, but is a grace-gift given to us because our Creator is a God not strait-jacketed by good doctrine. He leaks outside creedal pronouncements in order to perpetuate relationship with his creation. The blessing of ongoing relationship is a gift too good to turn down. [emphasis added.]



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

One response to “When a Caretaker acts like an Undertaker”

  1. It comes down to a selectivity about what matters, doesn’t it? Yes, Jesus is the son of God, for example. Yes, Margaret, there is a Trinity. Yes, Jesus did die on the cross for our sake. That’s all true, and you can’t understand Jesus properly if you ignore that. But Jesus was also extravagantly gracious and kind to those who had the least reason to expect such openhandedness. Isn’t it just as necessary to get that right? Don’t we fail just as spectacularly to understand Jesus if we ignore or forget his gentleness? Is it only the particulars of his nature that matter, and not also the particulars of his character?

    So the person who upholds the essence of Jesus’ identity and actions but who does so with a cruelty and disregard for others that is blatantly at odds with the One who “will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle” must be just as far off the mark as the person who embraces the character of Jesus but ignores his being and meaning. And God help me, because I all too frequently fail in both directions.


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