Stand and Speak Pastor Terry Trivette

Blog Post: Contrarian Clinician

            I’d prefer positivity. I would. But, I can’t take blind positivity over sighted reality.
Walker Percy wrote about one of William Faulkner’s characters in The Sound and the Fury. Percy said:

“Naming death-in-life as Faulkner did with his character Quentin is a thousand times more life-affirming than all the life-affirming self-help books about me being okay and you being okay and everybody being okay when in fact everybody is not okay, but more than likely in deep trouble. Beware of people who think that everything is okay.”[1]

People today prefer to be affirmed in their lives and lifestyle choices. So, I recognize that standing behind a Bible and repeatedly pointing folks to where that Bible seems to contradict their comfortable lives makes me a cultural contrarian. I don’t necessarily enjoy that posture, but if a light above us illuminates how stained our lives are with sin, isn’t it better to talk about that, rather than trying to paint over the stains with bright colors that make us feel better, but don’t really clean up anything?
Pointing out the “death-in-life” doesn’t make you the most pleasant voice in the room, but it may just mean you are the most sane and sensible one speaking. Speaking to what is wrong isn’t always a pretty sound to hear, but if we can diagnose what is wrong – however painful that process may be – then we can start talking about how to treat it.
Here is what I believe (and hope) will happen. If most people simply continue to talk as if there’s nothing to be treated, eventually the stench of the dying all around us will overwhelm all the potpourri preaching, and somebody will say, “What’s that smell?” Maybe then the contrarian will become a welcome clinician who not only points to the festering sores of society, but also says, “There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole.”

[1]Percy, Walker, Signposts in a Strange Land, (Picador, New York, 2000), p. 164