This is the first in a four-part series of “Letters To…” that will address concerns and insights touching on vital issues of our day.
Here in Part One, I address pastors in general and Pope Francis in particular. Please enjoy and add your insights to the conversation.
Dear Pastors (of every Christian tradition),
Thank you for your sacrificial love and service as you nurture communities of faith of all kinds.
As I pray for you as a fellow pastor, I have three requests as you carry out your holy calling:
One: Remember that it is the Triune God who calls God’s people together and is the object of worship. As Eugene Peterson says, our primary pastoral task is keeping people attentive to God.
Two: Please commission and empower all vocations as important to God’s kingdom. God’s work in the world takes place through people that work, whether paid or volunteer, labor or leadership, home or office.
Three: Please take time to nourish your soul and care for your “first flock” – your family (if married). If single, take time for healthy relationships that build you as a person. Eat well, exercise and rest…your health will help you inspire health in others.
Pastors, I am grateful for all you do – seen and unseen – that Christ uses to transform others. My prayers are offered not as a perfect practitioner, but as a fellow-learner trying to gain wisdom from mistakes and victories. Thank you!
Dear Pope Francis,
Thank you for caring for the poor and beginning to redeem the financial and sexual scandals in the church.
Thank you for reminding us that the deepest problems are spiritual and that our selfish/sinful hearts need change.
Thank you for reaching out to the “outsiders” in dialogue and well as showing compassion for the faithful afflicted by divorce.
I do, however, have deep concerns. Without judging your motives or sincerity, I beg you to…
…Avoid being manipulated by the agendas of global elites using climate change to unjustly redistribute wealth.
…Stand for the persecuted church and all dissidents that oppose totalitarian regimes, especially in Cuba.
…Use your office as a prophetic peacemaker, calling on Muslim leaders to affirm the dignity and equality of all persons.
…Support Israel’s right to exist while actively working for a peaceful solution, not just the protection of holy sites.
…Affirm that economic freedom, when rooted in value creation and virtue, is the best pathway out of poverty.
I pray you will use this moment to help millions envision a life rooted in Christ and serving the common good.