It is hard to imagine, that I have been writing this blog for three years now. This Sunday I happen to be preaching on the beatitudes, and being that they were the inspiration for the name of this blog and the image off to the left, it seemed fitting to revive the original post (with a few updates) to remind the readers what this is all about. Enjoy!
It all started about 6 years ago. [cue flashback sequence]. Since the Presbytery youth retreat happened to fall on Dr. Seuss’ birthday, it seemed only logical at the time to run with Dr. Seuss books as our theme. We looked at the Beatitudes through the different lenses of Seuss’ writings and discovered some wonderful meaning. What was especially helpful was The Message version of the Beatitudes and its wonderful ending, “…my prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.” Seemed to be the perfect fit, especially given Seussian characters like the Cat in the Hat. In so many ways there is a wonderful connection to the long-standing prophetic tradition in the biblical witness and the idea of being a troublemaker. Who better fits this image than Christ himself, the one who refused to play by the rules of the religious elites, the power brokers and the pol class of his day. A mashed potato of Jesus and the Cat in the Hat seemed to be a good way of summing up this idea. Thus was born the image of the Holy Troublemaker:
This was made into a t-shirt for the retreat to remind the kids to be holy troublemakers in their own day-to-day lives, it became the image on the Covenant Presbyterian bumper stickers, and it has since become the logo for my blog.
Unfortunately, one problem for an institution like the church is that we often are more caught up in maintaining the status quo (since it has long benefited our institution), rather than maintaining a prophetic voice. Needless to say, in this day and age when the status quo is no longer our best buddy, perhaps it is time to re-embrace the prophetic troublemaking voice.
That calling is what I take seriously in my blog, what I take seriously in my role as pastor, and what you often hear from the pulpit. It should also be mentioned that in no way is the thinking that somehow Covenant or myself are above that kind of critique, but indeed are much in need of such a critical voice to remind us to humbly follow the lead Troublemaker–Jesus. Coming out of the Reformed tradition there is a natural kind of self critique built in to our theology as we remind ourselves of the need for God’s grace. It is always a struggle, but my hope is that my blogging and my preaching continually drive us to a mindset of being reformed, but always in need of more reforming.
Lastly, this world needs our help–all of us. Continuing with the way things are at the moment, just isn’t an option. Again and again, scripture calls us to be involved in this world, and to seek to be a part of God’s transformative and reconciling kingdom in the midst of this world. Thus the plural in the title of my blog and the Holy Troublemaker image. Though I am doing the writing and preaching, it is my sincere hope it will be more than me causing trouble out there!