From the Pastor’s pen
Hello. My name is Dale Hulme and it is my privilege to be the Pastor of St. Olaf Lutheran Church. I write a newsletter article every month and I understand that blogging will be similar, but with a potentially much larger and wider audience. With that in mind, I intend to use this blog as an opportunity to market what is called the “mainline Protestant church,” the category to which St. Olaf belongs. It is unfortunate that the views and values of the mainline Protestant church have been pushed out of sight during the past 40 years, because what passes for Christianity now in the public mind is, in my opinion, a skewed version of the faith. The major characteristic of the skewed-ness has to do with a rejection of science, in my view. These are churches which do not allow for a historical-critical study of the basic scriptures of the religion, and all kinds of aberrations develop as a result. However, I do not want this blog to be some sort of cerebral, academic thing. It will be stories from my experience which have shaped my life and faith. My entry-point story is of a woman I knew when we were young.
She was beautiful and successful. She was the envy of women and the desire of men. For some reason, she became interested in me. As flattering as this was, I had recently come through my own conversion to Christianity and I did not want to blow the next relationship I would enter into. It had to be the right one and that meant she had to share the faith. So, I asked her, “Are you a Christian?” “No,” she answered. “I am not.” “Well,” I thought. “Perhaps she could become one.” She was quite beautiful, after all. So, I asked her, “Would you come to church with me?”
“I’m not good enough,” she replied.
I was taken back by this response. At first I thought it was mock humility. “How can you say you are not good enough?” I asked. “You haven’t done any terrible thing, have you?” “I am not good enough. Maybe some day,” she replied.
Now, I knew that she was good enough in God’s eyes. I knew that God loves a repentant sinner, so whatever she was thinking wasn’t good enough about her would be no problem with God. God understands our rebelliousness and is eager to forgive. It was then that I realized what her hangup was. She was her own judge –and jury and executioner! And she was a much more severe judge than God ever would be. But, because she didn’t believe, she couldn’t see herself as God saw her – a child of God’s own making who was entirely worthy of forgiveness just as a loving parent forgives a child.
We parted ways after that day and this encounter was one that shaped my desire to become a Pastor one day. I would have liked to help her, but didn’t know how. Later, I had an encounter with another man which revealed to me why she was unable to believe, but that is a story for another blog. Until next time… Peace…. Pastor Dale