Thursday, November 7, 2013


I am thinking that we should all be required (by common consent) to wear our disclaimers – the things others should just know about us in navigating our common lives together.

I remember an older gentleman I came to know years ago at church.

For many months, all I knew was his face, which wore a perpetual scowl, so that when I was called to serve on a committee with him, I was a bit scared, really, of this always-angry man.

As we sat and served together, he smiled – often – and the scowl disappeared and I suddenly realized one day that what I had taken for a scowl was simply gravity: as we get older, the skin on our faces (and other places) draws ever downward, so that in repose, we can look like the angriest people you’ll ever meet.

So in my friend’s case, a little sign would have handily resolved things:

I’m not scowling
my face is just falling

In my own case, there are a few that would probably be quite helpful, especially to the folks who are seeking out the pastor in me:

I hear you 
it may not seem
like I’m listening
but I am


I’m confident
that doesn’t mean
I’m always right
and I don’t think I am
(always right)
I just know what I think
and I express that with confidence
doesn’t mean I won’t listen to you
doesn’t mean my mind can’t be changed


Just because I’m confident
doesn’t mean I’m not
scared of spiders

I could go on, but I am confident that there are a whole host of disclaiming signs that would be helpful to folk when we meet, sort of footnotes of explanation to what they’re seeing and experiencing of me, for the confidence without the commentary is, I suspect, just irritating.

So please remember when we meet, the fact that I’m confident doesn’t mean I think I know it all.  It just means I know me.

There’s my disclaimer.

What’s yours?

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