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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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The Rev. Frank G. Honeycutt, senior pastor of Ebenezer Lutheran Church in downtown Columbia, took a three-month sabbatical to write his latest book “The Truth Shall Make You Odd: Speaking with Pastoral Integrity in Awkward Situations.”
The title is drawn from a line by writer Flannery O’Connor, a Southerner who pondered faith and spirituality in her novels and short stories. Honeycutt employs his favorite authors and theologians and his own pastoral story to explore ways pastors and lay people can speak honestly and effectively about living out the Christian faith.
This week, Honeycutt answered questions from The State about his new book...:
Question:You suggest that too many pastors practice avoidance, failing to speak the biblical truth to parishioners about the nature of belief in Jesus Christ and what that means about living a Christian life. How does a pastor learn to speak with pastoral integrity?
Honeycutt: There is a huge siren call among clergy — myself included — to try and make everyone happy. Stanley Hauerwas (Duke Divinity School) has famously referred to the pastor as a “quivering mass of availability.”
Many of us arrived at seminary as “pleasers” and do not like to rock the boat. The challenge is sometimes trying to please people who really do not want what Jesus wants. That’s a rather toxic mix. “Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?” asks Saint Paul of the church in Galatia. There can be a lot of relational fallout to pastoral truth-telling that may require an immense amount of time to sort through. It’s easier to lie low on so many issues and count the years to retirement. Jesus is our pastoral guide here. He spoke the truth in love in his ministry. Both words are important. Truth and love. It is easy to speak the truth in any number of damaging ways that have little to do with love.
Read it all.
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