I do not like poetry. Is it poetry if it doesnít rhyme? I donít think so. I did watch Great Conversations on PBS the other day and they were interviewing Poet Laureate (what ever that is) Billy Collins ó I immediately started a bromance with Mr. Collins Ö not because of his poetry but because he was so real and so funny. It was implied he was not a follower of the Rabbi but if he was he would make a good one.

Billy Collins teaches college somewhere in New York and he teaches his students to write with clarity Ö let me give you an example of what he means Ö he once wrote a poem entitled Fishing on the Susquehanna ó guess what it is about? Duh Ö fishing on the Susquehanna Ö now thatís clarity. The church should have such clarity.

There was a documentary (on PBS of course) about the oil boom in North Dakota called The Overnighters. It had a weird twist at the end but all of these people were showing up in a small, rural community with no place to stay while looking for these high paying, hard labor jobs. One particular church was allowing them to sleep in their building. The pastor was under heavy conviction that the church was to take people in Ö I guess this guy knows Jesus and he has clarity.

I have a friend that serves as a pastor Ö some lady who does not have clarity was circulating a petition to get him removed. My friend might be hard to love sometimes (we all are) but he loves Jesus more than most. My point is this was undeserved (the lady emailed him later and apologized). †

I heard about another church arguing over money and control of the checkbook, accusing innocent people of spending Godís money.† Meanwhile, who is taking care of the widows and orphans Ö who is making disciples. Last time I checked that was the business of the church Ö we are desperate for clarity.

Got invited to have breakfast with a new friend the other day.† He loves Jesus a lot. He was telling me how he is spending three hours a day with the Rabbi, praying, meditating on the Word.† I asked him, how was that time manifesting itself in real life as far as action, faith and obedience.† All I heard were crickets. What I mean is where is the clarity that our relationship with Christ compels us to turn outward with tangible expressions of Godís love to people who need a tangible expression of Godís love.

We (the church) should be so crystal (clear) that like the poem, Fishing on the Susquehanna that everyone knows what we are about. He told me to tell you that. †

††† †

Ken Ansell serves as a pastor in a small central Texas rural community.† He is a local missionary and he fly fishes when he can.