At the Base of the Mountain

I am thankful for a group of resilient and faithful friends that stay ever connected in the digital world and speak honest and caring words to a couple of pastors and missionaries in training. Four of us, from coast to coast and the frozen middle. We challenge, refine and attempt occasionally to encourage one another. We often talk about our heroes and our failings and how it is sad that so much of life and posturing plays out in social media. One of us is poetic in nature and anonymous in desire. He prefers no platform and just quiet places far from famous to share Jesus with those you would least expect. We shall call him Matt Pilgrim. After a stirring week of conversation, he penned this piece that is honest and challenging to our modus operandi in the church.

 

“At the base of the mountain: confusion.

Sacred truths seem to slide toward delusion.

Unwilling to trust the Good Creator,

Weak faith cries out to see something greater.

Hoping in vain I might better my odds,

Here at the mountain I make pastors gods.

 

And knowing the grip sin has on us all

I demand perfect, ignoring the Fall.

I ask of you what I’d never agree

Is fair, right, or just for “little old me.”

I raise up that bar so high for a few

Because way up there I can worship you.

Entrusting to you what no man could bare

I cast upon you each worry and care

 

“Oh please save me, Pastor” becomes my cry,

Give me comfort even if you must lie:

Tell me my politics will set me free

Tell me how comfort can still by gutsy

Tell me “for family all else neglect!”

Tell me nice half-truths that Christ would reject

Tell me fetuses, guns, and flags are all

Tell me which Senator that I should call.

Tell me about race and immigration

But make sure you don’t offend anyone.

Tell me the virtues of war or of peace,

Tell me my blessings ought never to cease.

Tell me my wealth is my share of the pie,

Tell me this camel will fit through that eye

Tell me you’re sinful but not too much, please

Tell me the things that will put me at ease

 

Pastor, idol, my religious plaything

I’ve wound you up, I expect you to sing.

So speak up and shut up, you know the drill

Make sure every word aligns with my will.

Don’t forget, Pastor, you’re here to serve me,

To feed my soul while I sit here carefree.

 

Counsel, comfort, challenge, and all on cue.

Father, brother, mother, and savior too.

Cash your check, Reverend, and just play along

Bang the same old drums and you can’t go wrong.

Disrupt my system? No worse could you do.

Cross this old saint and I’ll crucify you.

Your pulpit, back to your pedestal flee,

Yes, faith this small needs a god it can see.

 

At the base of the mountain the mobs rule,

Impatience reveals that I am a fool.

Lacking great faith I’m quite simply old chaff,

I mold you into my own golden calf.

Keep lifting up Jesus it’s all so nice,

I’ll keep filing it under “good advice”


What a great weight I ask you to carry

Leaning on shovel, ready to bury

Your memory and your reputation

The moment I’ve finished having my fun.

Maybe that’s where Christ has something to teach

To Pastors, especially, because each

Can know the deep wounds of loving a flock

That one day adores and the next day mock.”

 

Love DC: “DC Famous”

Hollywood and New York may have their “A-list” celebrities but DC has its own class of famous with a quasi-celebrity status that rarely translates outside of the Beltway.

Growing up with a passion for politics I watched C-Span and CNN like they were going out of style. I felt like I knew the names of the politicians and the pundits and this was a class of people I wanted to join. Once I landed in DC I was a geek about recognizing the faces of members of Congress or the latest political mind. These are the “DC Famous.”

Of course those carrying the status of “DC Famous” are not really that famous. They might think they are but with changes in political winds or the passing of time we all come to recognize that “DC Famous” is a fleeting concept only maintained by the highest level of “star.”

I once thought I might glimpse a moment of “DC Famous.” I was voted (by a rigged election I assure you) Hottest PR guy in the District and I had friendships that got me invited to some great parties. I remember one evening though that my dreams of being “DC Famous” were crushed by the bludgeon of reality. My wife and I were clearly the youngest couple in attendance at an engagement party for a media icon and a beautiful socialite. The event was hosted by a mover-and-shaker that had just sold her company to a British firm making her flush with cash. Of course the $5 million home wasn’t half bad to begin with. But leaving the party, we were talking about how cool it was to be at the party and all the important people who were there. Then Stacy, being the voice of reality, used some choice words to describe me and reminded me that I might go to a party but I am still a normal guy.

So I wasn’t and never will be “DC Famous” but the idea is still something I enjoy about DC.