I’m not Going to Live by Their Rules Anymore
Written by Dan Armistead
It’s official: I have now adopted Bill Murray’s famous line from Groundhog Day as my own.
I have very few real regrets from my thirty five years of ministry. I am a blessed and thankful man. I am especially thankful for my last twelve years of ministry as an international pastor in Asia. My church’s diversity was seen culturally, denominationally, and theologically.
In other words, we were a mixed bag of colors, Christian traditions, and beliefs.
Like many pastors and leaders, I chose to make some personal sacrifices. Those sacrifices most often involve what we say and what we don’t say publicly. It is not an easy choice. A pastor has to ask him or herself, “Is this the time and place to speak on this?”
A pastor has to ask him or herself, “Is this the time and place to speak on this?”
Of course, not all pastors are guided by this philosophy of church leadership. Some run head first to the thorniest of issues and take them on boldly. They declare to their congregations, and anyone who happens to hear, what they believe, how they believe, and why they believe.
These pastors are also quick to tell you what to believe, how to believe, and why to believe.
I’m not going to lie — I really don’t like those pastors. At the same time, I really do believe God is using many of them in great ways. God has definitely used me in spite of myself.
This brings me to Groundhog Day. Bill Murray is Phil Connors, an arrogant, self obsessed TV weatherman who is stuck in a time loop. He keeps living the same day, Groundhog Day, over and over again.
Some people (who I’m guessing didn’t have anything better to do) calculated approximately how long Bill Murray/Phil Connors was stuck in the loop. Their answer: Thirty four years. (Which by the way, is one year less than my thirty five year ministry. Could they have missed by one year?)
I’m not lying. It’s on YouTube. Gotta be right.
Anyway, the time loop brings Phil Connors to the breaking point and the famous one liner that has endeared him to anyone and everyone who has ever felt trapped or silenced —
“I’m not going to live by their rules anymore.”
For me, this is not a call to anarchy or open rebellion against the institutionalized church. (Okay, maybe a touch of rebellion.) There are just some things I want to say, need to say, at this time and place in my life and ministry.
Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash In the opening pages of my book, Prophets or Patriots: How Evangelicals Are Giving to Caesar What Belongs to God, I make this statement - “I’m writing this book with the clear understanding that it will cost me in some very...
Photo by Farrinni on Unsplash The call to follow Jesus is not a call to pitch a tent and join a camp but rather an invitation to join him on a journey. From both the church pulpit and seminary lectern, I have described entrance into the kingdom of God as the beginning...
Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash“Life is difficult.” The opening sentence to M. Scott Peck’s best selling book, The Road Less Traveled, says it all. If you’ve ever read the book you know that Peck recommends embracing life’s difficulties rather than avoiding them....