My name is Rev. Melinda (Mel) Roberts and I am the pastor of the Salida United Methodist Church. I am also a procrastinator.
I am writing this at close to midnight on Tuesday night. Do ya’ll (I’m also a Texan) know this article is due Wednesday morning?
Part of me was hoping that there would be something to take away from election results tonight that I could write about but at this point, everything is still up in the air.
Maybe I have been hoping for something else more newsworthy to grab my attention because the thing I feel like I need to write about is not a fun subject – confession and repentance.
Some might think that preachers love to talk about confession and repentance.
Maybe in the faith tradition that you grew up with, the preacher was constantly seeking to call you out and plead/shame/guilt you into confession and repentance.
That is the tradition that I grew up in and it has shaped me into a preacher who tries to go about this a different way.
So, I am not going to use this space to plead/shame/guilt you into confession and repentance.
Rather, I am going to confess and repent.
I have had a really difficult spring and summer.
In the blink of an eye I became my 7-year-old son’s home schoolteacher.
In a matter of days, I shifted from being a preacher that thrives off of in-person contact with my congregation to a televangelist with an empty sanctuary.
While my son has been living his best life under restrictions to keep him safe or safer at home, my personality has struggled.
Everyone, I would guess, has struggled in one way or another in this pandemic.
Mix into that the most contentious and divisive election year I have ever experienced.
On top of that, the racial issues that have come to the surface in our country hit close to my home as the white mom of an African American son.
Oh, and I have had some health problems flare up as well as some interpersonal relationship struggles.
None of these things make me unique or special in these days. Life has been tough on all of us. This is not newsworthy.
What might be newsworthy is for me, as a religious leader to say publicly that I have not consistently acted or spoken in ways that were Christlike in this season of my life.
I have at moments, acted harshly as my patience was tested. I have spoken negatively about people who do not share my point of view.
I have not been kind in some personal relationships. I have not listened as deeply to people as I need to in these times.
I have failed family, friends, congregants, community members and the Lord that I follow.
This is what has happened, here is what I will now be doing: My best to be better, kinder, more patient, more loving, more encouraging, more Christlike.
This is my simple confession and repentance. What about you?
Reverend Melinda Roberts is the senior pastor at Salida United Methodist Church.