Monday, January 23, 2012

Why Feed the Certainty Beast?

People crave certainty.

From politicians (flip-floppers are despised), to weather forecasters, to pastors, a certain section of the public demands certainty and becomes apoplectic when the certainty beast isn't fed.

I'm not in the certainty business.

don't care if a politician is a flip-flopper. If a political leader needs to change their position based on an honest gathering of information, I appreciate that the leader is using their brain and a level of discernment (flip-flopping for pure political expediency is another story).

University of Washington atmospheric science professor Cliff Mass shares that if a forecast needs to change, then change it based on the information in front of you, and forget the earlier forecast. Mass took a lot of heat for changing his forecast, but he had to. The information changed.

The fearful thing with the role of politician and weather forecaster is that while the public demands certainty, fulfilling the leadership calling recognizes that feeding the certainty beast is not necessarily faithful. At least, this is how I see it as a pastor.

Some might argue that most of all, a pastor is in the certainty business. If a pastor is not the bearer of certainty about God and Christ, then what's the point? I can't speak for others who share my profession, but I believe that God gives followers power to share their witness of God's activity in the world (see Acts 1: 6-11) and that the cross of Christ is more about the faithfulness of God than the certainty of God. If I put my effort into being certain in relation to my neighbor, I lose opportunities to remain connected to my neighbor.

Being connected to my neighbor communicates the faithfulness of God more than certainty. The certainty beast does not have to be fed, though it will continue to growl.

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