Thursday, December 04, 2008

I guess it's a sign that I'm a bit overdone that I'm not managing to open and read posts from assorted groups that I subscribed to with enthusiasm...It's been a few days since I've had my daily dose of Nouwen, and though I remember noting that Mucky Paws had sent a mailing, I didn't actually open it.
So I've no idea whether I would have found this (which I actually encountered on Bishop Alan's blog) some time ago if I'd only been on the ball. The chain of sources is on the cross referential side, so I'm not clear whether it originates with Mucky Paws, or with Wes Roberts - but whoever wrote it, it's a triumph. Clever, challenging, and not to be taken lightly - even for a moment.

Words, even spoken with conviction, can be so facile - a way to assuage guilt that you (I) am not living my faith as I apppear to. When I step into the pulpit I offer a version of myself as I long to be...even my apparent vulnerability is measured, calculated?

Read this. You'll see what I mean.

If I preached what I practiced
the faith would have followers
clambering at its door, eager to sign up
to wishy-washy justice and part-time belief
if I preached what I practiced.

They would be keen for sermons about
a penny for the poor, and a pound for the pension
keen to listen to homilies that spoke
of living in the reflected glory
of someone else working for peace
They would happily believe
in a faith that changes a light bulb for the sake of creation
rather than sacrifice to shape a whole new way of living
If I preached what I practiced

If I preached what I practiced
church would be popular again
with a doctrine of excuses
and a creed of compromise
a half-way house on almost anything
and a God who is washed out
watered down
and used to support anything you want

we would never need to sign up
to a faith where we find ourselves feeding the poor
by feeding ourselves less
we would just have to proclaim it without doing anything about it
if I preached what I practiced.

we would never have to make a sacrifice for justice
for we would always find an excuse
that would allow us to buy things for the taste
paying lip-service to buying things for justice

or we would never have to go green
we could get away with lime
for we could live according to our personal means and desires
speaking passionately for the planet
living passionately for ourselves
without a thought for the legacy and footprint it leaves
if I preached what I practiced

So hear my confession
that my living is not as full of God
as the words that I utter
May it be that the words
take form
and leave footprints
of someone who finally
practices what they preach


cheesehead said...


Gannet Girl said...

This is wonderful.

Crimson Rambler said...

wow, indeed!

Anonymous said...

wow - powerful words indeed

Anonymous said...

ps - prophetic imagination is one of my favorite books - was required for OT - could not put it down

Danny said...

It was in Mucky Paws... I love Roddy's stuff, was thinking of posting this too :-)