A colleague told me yesterday that she’s seeking a new call in professional ministry which will almost certainly not be in the town where she currently lives. She put her condo on the market – trusting that a sale, a closing, and a call (not necessarily in that order) would follow. The whole situation instilled zero anxiety in her deepest parts.
Read this again: She put her home for sale without knowing where she’s going next. This is trust.
She trusts that God will indeed call her to her next position. She trusts that cosmic timing with work out. She doesn’t believe that God performs magic tricks (If I leap off this mountain, God will catch me) but she does believe that God works in the world in mysterious ways.
As the 221st General Assembly of my denomination discusses difficult issues this week in Detroit, as I counsel pastors whose elders are anxious, as I listen to Search Committees who wonder about the efficacy of our Church Leadership Connection system, as I hear complaints about the worthiness of our Presbytery Office, it’s clear that we don’t trust each other, much less God.
Trust doesn’t come easily. It involves connecting relationally and expecting the best from each other. (The second season of OITNB has messed with my mind in terms of absorbing a don’t-trust-anyone attitude, at least until I recover from the season finale.) But I am a trusting person most of the time.
People of faith are – by definition – people who trust.
- For some of us it’s easy because people in our lives have been trustworthy for the most part.
- But for others of us who’ve experienced unrelenting disappointment, bitter betrayal, and long term deception, it’s a miracle we can trust the sun to come up.
But in pondering the events of this week in Detroit and throughout our spiritual communities, trust seems to look something like this:
- Fearlessness in spite of the risks. We trust that everything will ultimately be okay because of forces bigger than ourselves.
- Confidence in The Other. We trust when we feel safe, even after we’ve made mistakes/bad choices.
- Understanding that the world is not about me. We trust that there’s a bigger picture and a higher purpose.
- Collaboration occurs even between people who disagree. We trust that colleagues will listen to us – which is not the same as waiting for their turn to talk.
- Positive results trump “winning.” We trust that participants in group processes will refrain from being belligerent and combative.
Do you trust your pastor? Do you trust your church friends? Do you trust your Presbytery or Association or Diocese or Conference? Do you trust your denomination?
Why or why not?