Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pastor Tension #2 - Overcoming Evil

Someone drew a phallic symbol on our sidewalk. I felt violated. They used my daughters' chalk. I assume it was a cohort of elementary-aged boys. One found the chalk. Another dared his peers to vandalize the concrete. Another took the dare and the chalk. The rest snickered. I don't miss those days.

I noticed the drawing when I took my dog for a walk. I paused to inspect it. The picture was artistically lacking and anatomically inaccurate. But it was no doubt phallic. Discarded in the grass lay the responsible stick of chalk. I knelt down, like Jesus in the sand, and added a few lines.

From a crude phallic sketch, I produced a common delivery truck. In a few swift strokes, I took back both my daughters' chalk and the sanctity of my sidewalk. Call this conversion. Call this redemption. Call this a victory over juvenile temper and the forces of evil.

As a pastor, I regularly commend fighting against immoral behavior. The categorical word for bad behavior is sin. It includes both a practice (drawing penises up and down Main Street) and bad posture (defying God and victimizing neighbor). This call to fight sin (and live morally blameless) in a sin-saturated world creates a pastoral tension. The demand is impossible, but necessary.
  • I will not overcome evil... but I should fight it.
  • I will not achieve perfection... but I should strive.
  • I will not redeem the world... but I should clean up my sidewalk.
The good news is that Jesus began the work of redemption, perfection, and overthrowing evil. He did it on the Cross. He proved it in the Resurrection. He shared it in the Ascension. He will consummate it in His return.

Until His return, God's people are called to be symbol of conversion, redemption, and evil overthrown. A good starting place for our calling is the sidewalk lining our streets.

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