We are blessed to have guest blogger and new Inscribe member Bob Jones writing for the blog today.
A few months ago I posted a Facebook comment at the height of the same-sex marriage issue in the USA. I wrote about Franklin Graham and Tony Campolo, leaders I’ve worked with and hold in high respect. These brothers in the faith lined up on opposite sides of the same-sex marriage legislation. Here were two evangelical leaders holding polar opposite views and defending them from Scripture.
It was a Saturday morning in June 2015 when I naively posted on Facebook how I loved the kingdom of God because it was big enough to include both Campolo and Graham and their perspectives. After posting, my wife and I went for our usual 6km run. Usually, very few people pay attention to my posts. We returned home an hour later to find my Facebook page had blown up. People were approving my comment and others were attacking those who approved it. The engagement between people got heated to the extent that I hid the post from view from my Timeline.
Hide no more, I will.
I‘ve been playing it safe with my writing. Controversy and conflict are not my friends so I don’t go looking to stir up contention. That approach no longer serves me well.
My writing goals for 2016 are:
1. To risk cracking open the window of my soul to become more vulnerable in my writing. My wife says I need to get in touch with my feelings to help my writing touch people.
2. To write about important issues, controversial or not - at the risk of being misunderstood - for the sake of helping people live by Biblical Christian values and attitudes.
I’m writing a book for ministers by the title “The Velveteen Pastor: The Journey of Becoming Real in Ministry.”
The inspiration for the title comes from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, a children's story about a toy rabbit whose fur becomes worn from use, but who longs to become real. Here is a short excerpt:
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
I’ve got a lot in common with the Velveteen Rabbit – little hair, loose in the joints, failing vision and after four decades of ministry, becoming real.
I expect the ramifications of achieving my goals in 2016 will fill some of the pages in my book.
I hope my writing will be great.
It may grate on some readers.
It will be real.
Robert (Bob) W. Jones is a recovering perfectionist, who collects Coca-Cola memorabilia and drinks Iced Tea. His office walls are adorned with his sons’ framed football jerseys, and his library shelves, with soul food. He writes to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose.