After taking the week after Easter off from writing Liberating Word, I apparently returned determined to make everyone mad about something. I began the week by praising the company of doubters and naming Jesus among their number. The next day I talked about how a predominantly African-American event left Tybee Island trashed. Then, yesterday, I was apparently not supportive enough of the military. All in all, it has been a good week. LOL.
With hundreds of electronic devotions out there, including the one produced by my own denomination, my intent with Liberating Word is quite different. While it often drives people away, my goal is to inspire AND provoke.
Alfred Lord Tennyson said, “There lives more faith in honest doubts, believe me, than in half the creeds.” It is my experience and conviction that Tennyson was being generous. We all need to read things, attend things, and listen to things that challenge us if we are to grow. We all need people in our lives with whom we disagree agreeably. Without them we stagnate. That which, and those who provoke us are great gifts from God and are used by the Spirit to heal, help, and transform us.
Let’s be honest, though; this is much easier to say than to do. It requires a level of security and maturity to earnestly consider differing points of view. The easy thing to do is hit “unsubscribe,” find a less challenging church, spend our time with people who agree with us. It is easier and safer for our prejudices and ignorance, but it makes us infinitely less useful to God.
So, if I have provoked you this week, I invite you to share these meditations with others. Fortunately, I am missing the gene that makes me need people to agree with me. After spending almost 40 years as an activist in the South for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, I doubt any of your family or friends can say anything about me that hasn’t been said already. So, go ahead; use me to provoke growth around you. It is the only hope we have that things will change. Not that they will agree with me, but that we all will be challenged to consider and reconsider what we think and believe.
Rev. Michael Piazza