They call us haters…

and homophobes and intolerant and a whole list of other names, we pastors and priests who have somehow managed to remember the Gospel in these crazy times. Its hurts to hear it but the reality is that nothing could be further from the truth.

You see, priests and pastors often work in the aftermath. We’re not perfect but as imperfect people we try our best to help our so-strugglers find the way. When the way isn’t found then we work in the aftermath, trying as best we can to help people through, walking with them through some very dark places, and seeking to heal wound both old and new.

We’re the ones who hear the cries of the young girl pregnant by a man who has abandoned her. We’re the ones who visit people in prison. We sit at too many hospital bedsides helping people make sense of their loved one with the tubes and monitors. If all else fails we try to bury you with the greatest dignity possible and give some sense of hope to those who carry on. Our calling is to live in light but the truth is we often live with unimaginable darkness and struggle. We’ve seen more of life’s dark underly than you know, and because of it we don’t want you to experience it for yourselves.

That’s why we talk about chastity, health, faith, safety, goodness, sin, not getting caught up in the transient things of life, not trading the moment for eternity. We’ve seen what happens. We know there is suffering and death there. We love you enough to tell you about it so that can make choices with more than the television as your guide. If you’re dying of HIV we’ll be there for you but if we can help you find a better path and avoid it we’d much rather do that. We’ll baptize your baby and do our best to help you, but if you don’t get pregnant before you’re married you’ll avoid so much potential and actual trauma. We want you to know that not because we about repressing you but because we’re about trading the less for the better, the moment for the eternal, the long and better path for the easy downhill slide.

So the truth is you can call us what you want. We’re gonna love you anyways. It’s not the love the world gives which is basically a capitulation to the feelings of a moment but rather the love that God gives, an eternal desire for the betterment and salvation of its object. And when things don’t work out like they promised, when the consequences come, when you discover the hook inside the bait, we’ll be there too, not to condemn but to heal, not to say “I told you so” even if we did, but to welcome you home. For that moment we endure. For that time of grace we pray. For that hope we live.

And when you’re ready our door will always be open.

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