The Truth Shall Make You Odd
Frank G. Honeycutt, Brazos Press
Here is a book to get you thinking. From the title you can guess that it is Frank G. Honeycutt’s aim to challenge us. If the title surprises you or gets you ready to pounce at his potential irreverence or disrespect, this book is probably for you. It seeks to re-present Christ’s challenge to the religious people of this day.
In his own words, “This book is mainly written for clergy and seminarians just learning about the ancient craft of leading a congregation … (but) lay folks and study groups will also benefit from this book as they seek to understand the unique tasks of pastoral ministry in a climate where clergy are mean to be ‘nice and affirming’. A church committee just staring the call process might read this book to gain more clarity about why Jesus sends pastors to congregations in the first place. Or a pastoral support committee could use it to better understand the behind-the-scenes issues that sometimes contribute to a pastor’s early exit. But this book is centrally for pastors … as we ponder the odd nature of our call from a surprisingly odd Lord.”
Frank Honeycutt writes from a Lutheran perspective, but this perspective is one that aligns well to our Uniting Church ethos. His concern is that, “In parish ministry, pastors are confronted with problems for which there seem to be no solution ¾ half-hearted commitments, childish behaviour, various infidelities, and the cultural embrace of a competing narrative that has little to do with the Gospel. But Christ offers a clear solution: to tell the truth so artfully and consistently that we all experience a lifelong series of little deaths and resurrections, nothing short of true conversion to this odd man we know as Saviour of the World.”
There is much food for thought in this book. Honeycutt writes about the long-term discipleship process and the distractions and temptations we face in the Church that divert us from our central call to follow Jesus. At times he meanders a little with anecdotes and his writing is a little loose in the way he presents his thoughts. However, he puts forward many good and challenging points as he raise some key issues that the Church needs to contemplate. It is well worth a read and probably very useful for church councils, elder’s councils and congregational ministers to study together.
The Rev. Jon Humphries