No, I’m not asking for your astrological sign… I’m curious about what sort of placard you carry every day that lets folks know who you are. Perhaps you wear a hat that proclaims your affinity for a sports team, or maybe it is the car you drive. It could be that perpetual smile on your face, or the way you ignore folks that make you uncomfortable. What are you saying to the world with what you wear, how you speak and act? Does that outward manifestation resonate with who you really are?
Part of what has prompted this rambling is that one of our churches, the Robinson Elmwood United Presbyterian is changing their sign. This new outward manifestation of identity is no small thing, but I also know that this congregation has done some good work in discerning who they are as a congregation. I laying odds that the outward sign will match what is going on inside the doors.
We know that when our outsides match our insides we are perceived as being authentic. This rings true for congregations as well as for people, and for the sake of the Gospel, we need to be who we say we are.
Our denomination is encouraging congregations and presbyteries to adopt the Matthew 25 initiative. This initiative asks that we focus on at least one of three areas: congregational vitality, confronting structural racism and addressing systemic poverty. It’s hard to argue with the urgency of these issues, and yet I’ll confess to some hesitance in signing on with the initiative. My concern is that, for the sake of the Gospel, we need to be who we say we are.
Talk, especially as Presbyterians, is cheap. Let’s be fair, talk is cheap, period. How often do we say one thing, and do another (h/t to Paul)?
If we take on the bold vision of Jesus and actively work to end systemic poverty and break down structural racism we need to be prepared to act sacrificially. Are we willing to set aside our time, talent and treasure for this work? What about our privilege?
If we say we will do this.. .and we don’t, what is the sign we are showing the world?