on sharing beliefs... A PRIVATE GARDEN One of the firt things I seem to run into when some

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on sharing beliefs... A PRIVATE GARDEN One of the firt things I seem to run into when someone learns of my work as a minister is an assumption that the word "minister" is synonymous with "Christian Preacher." And in the conversation that follows that initial reaction, I am often met with a challenge because I set forth a distinction between the two. The challenge is usually proffered by someone who is less open-minded about religion than I am, and who has some rather concrete and definite beliefs (labeled as "knowledge") about just how things are. I am then told just how it is, and amid references to my eternal destination, am warned about being a blasphemer etc. etc. And I probably haven't even had the inclination to say much about my religious beliefs to the challenger because beyond telling them that I believe in "that which is right," I really feel that my beliefs are just that: Mine. And they are, in fact like a private garden. A private garden! For my religious beliefs are like flowers. Nurtured and cultivated for their beauty and for the inspiration they can be. And they are something that I cherish and share with whom I choose. I am under no obligation to show this garden to someone simply because I am a gardener. My flowers and plants grow and bloom and sometimes die and are replaced by others and always require care and attention. And religious beliefs are like this in a way. Being a gardener doesn't make one a florist! My religious beliefs are not on display simply because I am a minister and someone insists that I tell them what I believe and defend those beliefs against theirs. My beliefs are on display by the kind of life I lead and to those who truly seek to know ME and ask about them with sincere interest, I mas choose to invite them to my "private garden" and share with them my beliefs. I am a minister but am NOT a preacher! So whether those beliefs are consistent with the beliefs of others or not, or whether they are rigid and forever, or growing and changing, or some combination of all, the religious beliefs of a minister are not necessarily for preaching. They may just serve as the guide to the minister in his ministry. Isn't everyone a minister, anyway? Even one WITHOUT credentials? (c) 1988, 1990 Rev. C.A.Jennings D.D.-- Pastor, ULC CompuChurch (tm) All Rights Reserved Published and distributed by CompuChurch (tm) International Headquarters (504) 927-4509 Permission to electronically display and transfer this textfile without charge to reader is granted subject to inclusion of complete copyright/source statement.

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