Thursday, May 27, 2010

Too Good Not To Share

Sometimes you run into things that are just too good not to share.  I ran into this on Idle Eyes and just thought it needed to be passed along.  Sometimes they seem to be so simple, but maybe we just make some things too difficult.

Enjoy and "Thanks" to Sean!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

We All Have A Language and We All Have A Story: Pentecost

I think one of the saddest questions that I ever get asked as a priest is, “Is this the right way to…” or “ Is it ok to…” Now, I can understand why people ask these questions, but that still doesn’t stop me from getting sad. I believe that these questions are asked because people want to be respectful of God and don’t want to do anything that is disrespectful. I can appreciate that. But what makes me sad is that in my opinion, it presents the wrong image of God.

It is not that God should not be respected. Yes! God should be respected! But it presents the image that there is only one way that God is willing to accept that respect. If we do not do that exactly right thing, then God is going to look the other way.

We have seen this attitude throughout history. It even has a name! It is called Gnosticism. Gnosticism says that there is a special way to get God’s attention and if we do not use that special way, then God can’t be bothered listening to us. But as I was writing this sermon, I just had to laugh at how wrong that all seems.

You see, I was sitting out in the “back yard” of the church while writing this. And while writing, there were all kinds of noises and things going on. Birds were singing, trucks were making noises, music was playing, and jets were passing over head. It was all kinds of noisy and, I believe, it was all praising God! And I had to wonder, since there were all kinds of things praising God in all kinds of ways, then something here must be WRONG! The Gnostics would have us believe that there is only one way to properly praise God, so that must mean that every other way has to be wrong.

I hope that last statement feels a bit uncomfortable to you. It should. Why would birds singing be a wrong way to praise God? Why would the music I hear be a bad thing? If God made the whole wondrous world, why would the sounds that come from it be unpleasing to God?

The writer of the Psalms was not caught up in the idea that God could only be worshipped in a certain way. The first stanza of today’s psalm sings praises for the abundance that we find in the world!

O LORD, how manifold are your works! *

in wisdom you have made them all;

the earth is full of your creatures.

The earth is full of your creatures! And all of these creatures are making all kinds of different sounds. Some moo, some croak, some chirp, and some talk! God created many incredible ways in which the creation can sing his praise! When I worked at camp, we taught a great song called, “All God’s Critters.” The first verse will give you a feel for the song:

“All God’s critters got a place in the choir/

Some sing low, some sing higher/

Some sing out loud from the telephone wire/

And some just clap their hands/

Or paws/

Or anything they got now!”

The message of the song is that we all have our way, our language for praising God! And no matter the way, our way has a place among the voices singing out to God.

If this weren’t true, we wouldn’t have the story of Pentecost. In the story of Pentecost, we are told that all the people heard the Good News in their own language. No matter how the people expressed themselves, God was sending the message to them!

Some people will say that the reason the populations were able to hear the message is because God opened their ears to the message; that the disciples were not really speaking in a different language. Well, I do believe that God will open the ears of those we speak to, but that would not explain why the people were hearing all kinds of different languages. No, I think we have a combination of the disciples peaking to the people in their own language and the Lord opening up their ears, and probably more importantly, their heart to the message. In the miracle of tongues that we see during Pentecost, God is once again saying “Yes” to all the various ways that people express themselves in the world.

Over the past weeks, we have been talking about how to spread the message. Christ tells us to go out and speak the word. We are shown where Paul went out and spoke to the women and their hearts were opened and their families were baptized. And today we are shown that Christ will rain the Spirit down upon us so that we may speak that word in a way that the world will understand. I think this is one of the challenges that face us as the People of Christ in the world. We always need to be aware of the message we wish to speak and also the manner in which we speak it. The right message in the wrong manner will be lost.

Some of you know my story about teaching an adult class in French. One of the people, who had just said that people should learn how we speak and do things if they want to be part of the church, got very angry that I was not speaking in a way she understood. I told her, in English, that if she wanted to be part of this group, she would need to learn French. My message was proper and true, it was just presented in a manner she could not understand. If there was nothing about it that she could latch onto, then the message was lost on her.

The same can be said about our world today. We need to look at how we are presenting the message. Is it in a manner people can understand? Is there a way we can alter our presentation so as to make it more approachable? I am not talking about changing the message, not at all! But I am talking about how the message is placed out in the world. If we are speaking French to an English speaking world, no one is going to understand. If we are speaking Ph.D. Quantum Physics to someone who has a Ph.D. in Philosophy, the message will be lost. If we are speaking at an adult level to a six-year-old, the six-year-old is going to be hard pressed to understand. And if we continue to speak to the six-year-old as if he or she were an adult, the child would feel totally left out and abandoned.

The miracle of Pentecost is not that one way of spreading the word is better than the others; the miracle is that God can use all kinds of languages to spread the word! And also, all kinds of languages can praise the Lord! It is not just Aramaic that God hears, it is also Greek and Parthian! It is not just King James that God hears, but also New Revised Standard! It is not just organ that God hears, but also keyboard, tambourine, and drums! God has given us so many languages to speak in, and God wants us to speak to the world in our own unique language!

As Episcopalians, we have a language, we have a way of speaking. And this is a good thing! But we also have a message that needs to be brought to the world! The question becomes, how do we keep the message but make sure we can spread the message. This is not always the easiest thing to do! But it is definitely worth the challenge.

A couple of suggestions that I will make are not that hard to implement.

The first would be to increase our understanding of our faith. If we do not understand the message, it makes it harder to spread that message. If I am not sure of what I am saying in English, I am going to have a really difficult time saying it in French! In the fall, I will be offering adult classes where we can together grow in faith and our knowledge of the faith. We can grow in our understanding and learn to articulate our faith so that others may come to understanding.

Second would be to increase the languages we speak. If all we speak is middle-class Episcopalian, then if we encounter someone who has a different language, we will be stuck. Even if we try to share the Good News, if we don’t have a feel for that other person’s language, it will be as if we are speaking French while that person only understands English.

And thirdly, but by no means the least important is to keep the lines of communication open between you and God! Daily prayer and meditation is a wonderful thing. Ask for guidance and for the words to say. Ask what God would have you do and then trust that you will be given the power to do it!

We shouldn’t have to worry about if something is “right.” As long as we are speaking our language in love, I truly believe that God will hear. God, as the ultimate loving parent, loves us and loves our effort to serve God. Even if our efforts fall short, I believe that God appreciates the effort itself and can take that effort and use it to God’s glory!

We are children of the Pentecost; we are the people of Holy Spirit! Let’s go out and spread God’s message to the world! However we can! With our hands, or paws, or anything we got now!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Fr., I am having a hard time paying my bills..."


Ok, got that off my chest.

I really hate it when I get phone calls asking for money.  Especially when, to the person, it IS a pastoral emergency.  I used to have people who would call right after the food pantry would close and want food for the weekend.  And then there are the people who are "stuck" in a motel and have no money to pay for the room they were staying in for the past three days.  There are also the ones who can't seem to understand that I DON'T have money to give them, even after telling them that I do not have a discretionary fund.

I also hate when you suggest something like calling 211, and the person asks what it is and then says they called it.  If they didn't know what it was, how could they have called it?

I would love to be able to give something to all the people who call, but when does helping become enabling?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Spread The Message! Easter 7 Year C

I find an interesting phenomenon going on in the world today: It seems that there are people everywhere claiming to be Christian, but the world dose not seem to be any more Christian. In fact, it seems like the world is getting less and less Christian all the time. Is it just me? Do you see it? Maybe I am just paying attention to the wrong groups or something. But it just seems that the concept of Christian is dwindling away.

On the grand scale, I don’t know if there are fewer and fewer Christians in the world. At least in America and in Europe, I do know that the mainline denominations are experiencing declining attendance. But fewer people in the churches does not necessarily mean that there are fewer Christians. But as I said, it just seems like the world is less and less Christian, and by saying that, I also mean that the world seems to be becoming less and less nice. And yet, when we look at Jesus, he seemed like a nice guy! Not a push-over by any stretch of the imagination, but nice! And still, many of the Christians that I meet in the world seem to be anything BUT nice.

Do you realize that one of the most important calls that we have as people of Christ is to bring others to belief? I have known people who though this was just a horrific kind of thing. But if you don’t believe me, go back and look at the beginning of the gospel reading for today. Jesus is praying for his disciples, which means he is also praying for you and for me. And what is he saying? Well, he is asking that God be with us. And God is to be with us not just so that we can feel the love of God deep in our hearts, but with us so that we might bring this wondrous love to the world. Jesus says, “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.”

What Jesus is saying here is that although God could just swoop in and make the whole world believe, that is not God’s way. Jesus is saying that it is not just up to God to come and open peoples’ hearts to the good news. No! It is up to us to be out and spreading that news to those we encounter on a daily basis! If we remember the reading from Acts last week, Lydia didn’t have a great awakening on her own. It was while Paul was speaking to Lydia that the Lord opened her heart to the word. It wasn’t that she suddenly had a great desire to search out the word, the word was brought to her and then her heart was opened.

Would her heart have been opened if she had heard the word from someone else? We don’t know that. But that is not what we are supposed to gather from the story. What we are to gather is that we are sent out into the world to spread Christ’s love. Period. That simple.

It seems as if we in the mainline denominations have trouble with doing this. We seem to have difficulty telling the world about the love that we have found in Christ. You’d think with our Lord and Savior praying that we might bring others to believe would be enough for us. It would seem that this would be all the prodding we would need to be able to go out and spread Christ’s love to the world. You would think this would be true, but unfortunately, this is not the case. We have not gotten the name “The Frozen Chosen” without some help on our part.

Our Pentecostal brothers and sisters are very good at spreading the message. They seem to have no difficulty in telling the world of Christ’s love. Personally, sometimes I think they are a bit too excited about spreading the faith! But I would rather have a few Pentecostals spreading the faith than have no one saying anything. But, I guess if no one said anything, then the rocks and stones would proclaim the message! But even with our Pentecostal brothers and sisters there is some problems. Remember what I said about being “nice?” I have found some of these folks to not be overly nice in the face of challenges.

So we have us Episcopalians who are very nice but quite quiet, and we have the Pentecostals who are not so quiet, but who can be somewhat, well, socially challenging. If only we take some of each and put them together. If we could do that, I think we could become a force for change that the world has never seen before. Or maybe saw about 2000 years ago!

Some of you probably know that I had been backed into a corner and told that I better accept Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior, or ELSE! And actually, it did more to keep me away from the church than to bring me into the church. But just because we are afraid our message may be odd by societal standards, or may be uncomfortable to some does not mean that we should not spread the message. What we need to remember is that we are Nice Episcopalians too! We have a way of spreading the message that is unique to us! We can say the message in ways that will make perfect sense to some people. It may not make sense to everyone, but that is ok. There are people out there who need to hear the message that we have to spread. Our message is not different, but our manner of spreading the message is! That is what is important! And we need to trust that if we speak the message, that God will open the ears and the hearts of those who are listening.

This is our call as Christians. Jesus himself calls us to experience his love, peace, and forgiveness, but he also calls us to share this love with the world. You see, we are called to be more than just welcoming; we are called to be inviting. Welcoming is waiting for someone to show up at your door and then being hospitable to that person. And we do that really well! But we are called to go out! To speak the word to the world. We are called to reach out and invite the world to experience the love that we have found in Christ!

We have something the world needs we have the love of Christ and, to be honest, we are really nice people! We can do a lot to change the attitude of society that believes Christians are judgmental. We can be part of the mission that Christ sets before us. Christ prays that we go out and spread the message. And Christ sends us out.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Easter 6 Year C "A River Runs Through It!"

A while ago there was a movie out that was called, A River Runs Through It. I never saw it. But I was thinking that this could almost be the subtitle for my life. Just about everywhere I have lived has been with a few miles of a river. I have lived near the Mississippi River and thought that all rivers were over a mile across. I have lived near the Upper Iowa River that you can walk across. And now, I live near the Middle Rouge River. And no matter what size the river was, it had an effect on my life and what was happening around me.

I think that if we all think about this, it is probably true for most of us. Unless we lived in a desert, we have probably been close to some river or stream. Water is one of the most important things in our lives. And this makes sense. We are somewhere between 55% and 78% water. I had heard it said once that bodies seem to be a way for water to get from one place to another. So since our bodies are more water than anything else, it would be important for us to be near water. So it would make sense that our cities, towns, and agriculture would spring up (catch that? “SPRING UP”!) around water, and even more so, rivers that are moving and not stagnant.

Now in our age of indoor plumbing, we may not appreciate having a clean source of water nearby. We just turn on the tap. But in Biblical times, the concept of clean water could mean life or death, quite literally. So it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that throughout the Bible, rivers are often the symbol of God’s love, God’s mercy, and God’s grace.

Actually, we could rename the Bible, A River Runs Through It. In Genesis we have the River of Life that begins east of Eden and in the closing chapters of Revelation we again have the river of life flowing through the New Jerusalem. We have the cooling streams in the Psalms and the water from the rock in desert. We have the river Jordan and Christ’s baptism and we have the river in Philippi where Lydia and her household were baptized. It seems that no matter where we look in the Bible, living flowing water, life giving rivers, are present.

It makes sense that the initiation rite of Christianity is baptism. It makes sense that we start with water. We start our lives as Christians with the water of life. But hopefully this is not where the stream of living water ends, hopefully this is just the trickle that suddenly becomes a rushing river!

What I find sad is that some people, especially adults, do not want to be publicly baptized. They want to go back to the process of having private baptism with just a small group of people. But to do this is to go counter to the meaning of the rite. As I have said, Baptism is a rite of initiation; it is how we say to the world, “I am a Christian!” Some think we baptize to tell God we are Christian, but God already knows that! We are baptized to say to ourselves and the world, “As for me, I will serve the Lord!”

We also recognize baptism as a way of invoking the Holy Spirit, the Advocate that Jesus speaks of in the gospel reading for today. Now when we start talking about the Holy Spirit, things can start to get a little weird, but I will say that I truly believe that one of the ways that the Spirit functions within the world is through our interactions with others. When we interact with others in faith and love, it is then that the Advocate is present. So in our baptism, we are also telling the world that we intend to be a part of something bigger, something that is world encompassing. In keeping a baptism private, we are depriving the world of that part of the Advocate that God has bestowed upon us!

What is so wonderful is when the River of Life is just coursing through your life! Don’t you just love it? Isn’t it great when the sun is shining and the birds are singing! The rent is paid and the car payments are off to the bank? Isn’t it wonderful when the kids are all doing what they are supposed to be doing and the ice makes tinkling noises in the glass? Isn’t that wonderful! At times like this, it is easy to see God at work in our lives. At times like this, it is so wonderful to share the blessings that we have been given.

It gets more difficult, though, when the river seems to be drying up. It gets more difficult when we can’t see the river. It is harder when we don’t even know if there is a stream. These are the times when faith needs to step in and we need to open our eyes. Even when the steam has dried, there is usually a sign that the river was there; the grass is greener, the vegetation is thicker. Even when the stream seems to have gone totally underground, once we have experienced the path of the river, when we look, we can usually find it.

The water metaphors can go on and on!

If we are feeling dry, we need to search out those who are swimming in the Spirit! And if we are swimming, we need to look at how we can share the River so as to irrigate them and help them to grow!

I think what is unfortunate is that so often we walk around being thirsty when we are surrounded by water. We seem to feel that the water that nurtured us has dried up and we are now left scampering to find something to drink. We look around us and see nothing but a desert. Often we can remember times when the River of Life flooded our lives, but those times can seem like such a long time ago. And the problem is that when we feel the most dry, those are the times we need to be around others. When we feel that the River has dried up, we just need to look to those around us. When it feels like the River of Life has passed us by, it is then that we most need to be a part of a community of faith.

If we think of God’s love as a river, and remember what rivers meant to people of Biblical times, we can more fully understand our readings. We can see how that love is to be spread and shared. In sharing water, the whole community would live. In sharing Christ, we spread the Spirit out into the world. In living our lives rejoicing in the River of Life we received in our baptism, we can’t help but splash that water onto those who are round us.

So how has this River of Life tracked its way through your life? Is it a rushing torrent or is it a shallow trickle? Is it a wide river or just a dry bed? Is there a dam across it holding it back or is it splashing, cascading, and singing throughout your life? Are you spreading the water to all those who are thirsty or are you keeping it to yourself? Christ calls us out, are we willing to answer?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Power of Music

I find it interesting how certain songs can bring up such strong emotions in me. 

There are songs from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra that I cannot listen to with a dry eye.  One song that especially gets me is "Old City Bar."  The song is not a tour de force, but the theme of being home for Christmas runs through it.  One line that gets me is, in refrence to being home on Christmas Eve, "If one could be home, they'd be already there."  I guess I still deal with the feeling of never really being home.  Even when I am at my childhood home, I never feel like I am there.  And expecially at Christmas, it always felt like I was a stranger in the midst of strangers.  I was supposed to be surrounded by friends and family and what I found was that I was surrounded by people I barely knew.  This may also be my attraction to all things Christmas, trying to regain the dreams of home and family that I seem to have missed.

Another song that is getting to me is "Defying Gravity" from Wicked.   I have never seen Wicked but I love the song.  Whenever I hear the song, I want to cheer, pump my fist and simultaneously flip-off the world.  It too can bring tears to my eyes.

I don't know if this is a normal feeling for people/guys/gay guys.  I guess we all have things that happen in our lives.  I just find it interesting how music can bring up these feelings.  I am guessing the emotion would not be as strong without the addition of the music.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Stage 3 Churches in Stage 4 Scoiety?

I have been thinking.  I have been wondering what has been happening to church attendance over the years.  It seems that in the mainline denominations, the attendance has been dropping.  We keep coming up with ideas as to how to bring more people into the churches.  We come up with ideas about how to grow the faith of those who are there.  We keep coming up with plans.  But I wonder if we are doing exactly the right thing and that we really shouldn't be getting so worried.

What if we look at society through the lense of "Stages of Faith?"  What if what we are seeing is exactly what is to be happeing?  What if we are going from the Stage 3 faith on to Stage 4 and then into Stage 5?  If we ARE growing as a people/society, shouldn't the attendance in our congregations drop? 

I think the major point is that we in mainline denominations to stand strong and to not be afraid just becasue we see our numbers dropping.  We also need to NOT drop back to earlier stages of faith trying to regain past glories.  If the collective faith development is growing and maturing, then to try to move backwards will be insulting as least and damaging at worst.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Easter 5 Year C

Some of you may know that I was raised Roman Catholic. And not just any kind of Roman Catholic, mind you, I was raised a Pre-Vatican II Catholic! “How can this be?” you may ask. I was not even alive when John XXVI was alive so how could I not be pre-Vatican II? Well, my father was pre-Vatican II, and the Roman Catholicism that he learned is the Roman Catholicism he taught. So the faith that I learned at home had some major overtones of works righteousness and all that this entailed.

For those of you who may have not know what that the term, “works righteousness” means, it is the belief that we are only as good as the things we do and that the only way to get to heaven is to be totally exceptional and die right after having gone to confession. If you do not do this, then you have to hang around in Purgatory for a while, ok, you have to hang around in Purgatory for a LONG while, until you have earned enough, as my father would call them, “graces” to be allowed into Heaven. Now, it takes much longer to earn Heaven once you were in Purgatory, so, as I said, the best bet for Heaven was to go to confession, get absolution, have a massive coronary and die.

This really didn’t make for a comfortable childhood. There was always the thought that I could never be good enough. And you know, after a while, I got to feel that it really didn’t matter: If I could not EVER be good enough, then why bother. I would try to be “oh so good” but then something would happen and I would just give up.

Sometimes I still feel this in my life. When things are going badly, I feel that I must be doing something wrong or else God wouldn’t be letting this happen to me. And probably even scarier is looking at others and having the feeling that THEY must have done something wrong or else God wouldn’t be letting this happen to them. What really scares me is when people, in the name of Christianity, reject, vilify, and turn away others because the so-called Christians feel that those other people are not good enough or are worthy of God’s love.

As you can probably guess, this is not a new problem. In fact, it is a problem of BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS! It has been a problem that has been around from time immemorial! We, as people, are constantly grouping people. We are constantly deciding who belongs and who does not. It is something that we all do, and it is something that hopefully our scripture readings for today can help us to unlearn.

In our world today, whether we like it or not, we have a caste system. There are people who fit into our view of the world and there are those who don’t. We tend to like people who are like us and tend to avoid those who are different. In Biblical times, the same forces were at work, but it was much more codified. We know about Jewish dietary laws, that the Jews were only supposed to eat certain things, but the truly devout Jew was only to associate with other Jews. They were not supposed to have anything to do with the Gentiles. More so, they were not supposed to dine with the Gentiles or to consider the Gentiles as equals in any manner. In our world, we may make some disparaging comments in private about another group, but in Biblical times, there was nothing private about the comments.

We see this in today’s reading from Acts. When the people heard that Peter had gone to the Gentiles and that the Gentiles had accepted the word of God, they were not happy about it! Far from it! They were angry that Peter would have gone to them because they all knew that the Gentiles were undeserving of the Christ.

Why would they think that they were better than the Gentiles? Well, part of the reason, I am sure, is that they were taught their entire life that Gentiles were bad. And if you avoided the Gentiles, then you did not have anything to counter this belief. All you had to work from is the stories that you were told. The Gentiles also had no way of getting “right” with God, they did not follow the purity laws that the Jews followed so they could be nothing but profane. This would be similar to not going to confession in my Roman Catholic youth.

Also, if you are following all these laws to achieve God’s good graces, then you NEED to know that following the law is going to get you SOMETHING. If the Gentiles can get in God’s good graces without following the law, then the thought would be, “Why follow the law?”

This was the mindset of Biblical times, and quite often it is the mindset of our world yet today. And this is the mindset that is countered by our reading from Acts and our Gospel reading. In the reading from Acts, God is at work changing Peter’s view of the world. We have this weird story of the sheet and Peter not wanting to eat the food because it was not clean, or we might say that the food was not “lawful,” to eat. Now this whole thing of God telling Peter to eat happens three times! From last week, that this event happens three times should make you stop and think! Remember, in the Bible, the number three represent wholeness. The point that God is making is that the previous laws are no longer valid. God has made those things that were once considered profane, pure. And as if to say, “Now, show me what you have learned,” the messengers of Cornelius show up and want Peter to go to the Gentiles, whom, we need to remember, were considered profane.

If we need further confirmation that we are not to judge the pure from the profane in the people we meet, we just need to look to the words of Christ in today’s gospel reading. Christ gives us a pretty straight forward command; Christ tells us that we are supposed to love one another. And not just in the “Golden Rule” way of loving others as we would want to be loved, but we are to love in a radically new manner. We are to love one another as Christ has loved us! (Cue screeching brake noise!) We are to love one another is a manner that is probably beyond most of our comprehension! Most of us would probably have a bit of a problem laying down our lives for someone else, let alone lay down our life for someone who would betray us or abandon us, but that is what Christ did for us! Christ laid down his life for the disciples knowing that they would abandon him and knowing that Peter would even deny him. Christ laid down his life for us knowing that we were going to make mistakes, or even purposely go against what he had taught. Christ laid down his life knowing that we, as people were never going to reach the goal of sinlessness that my father presented as the ultimate goal of being Roman Catholic.

And this love we get from Christ is not to be kept in our little group. We are to love all people in this self-sacrificing manner. Jesus showed us through his life that he did not regard peoples’ station in life; he was as likely to dine with the people of the street as he was the people in the castles. He was probably MORE likely to be among the people whom we may consider “undesirable” than those who would be classified as “good Christians.” Christ was more likely to dine with us AS WE TRULY ARE than as we envision ourselves to be.

Ok, this is where things gets difficult, because it can sound like I am saying that we do not need to ever strive for anything other than our basest instincts. If Christ loves us, even when we are not being at all Christian, then we might as well do anything! Right? Well, this is NOT the point we are supposed to get. The point is that CHRIST LOVES US, ALL OF US! Period. Christ loves us, as we are, and wants us to love each other, as they are. Christ doesn’t want us to stay were we are and will send people like Peter into our lives to help us to change and grow; but we need to remember that none of us is ever too far gone. We are never outside of the reach of Christ. The one who died for our transgressions, even before we were born, continues to reach out to us and asks us to reach out to others. Christ calls us to reach out to the fellow sinners we find in the world.

God doesn’t consider us to be unclean. Christ loves us even though we fall short of what would be considered perfection. Christ loves us, all of us, as we are, but also loves us enough to not leave us where we are. And Christ then sends us out to bring the message to others, even those the world might consider profane.