Speaking up…

Pastor Matthew Best
4 min readNov 17, 2023

I’ve heard either directly from people who read this blog, or through mutual friends that what I write is a bit “shocking” for a pastor. Not in a bad sense. More shocking in a breath of fresh air sense. That’s a nice compliment actually. I’m grateful that what I write causes people to think or to see that they are not alone.

It’s shocking in the sense that what they are seeing in print is what they believe. I’m just putting words to many people’s thoughts. I certainly hear plenty from folks. Too often people think they are alone in their thinking. The reality though says differently. There are a lot of folks who think like you do, dear reader. Trust me on this. You aren’t alone.

People can’t believe that a pastor would be so open and honest about the state of the church or society or politics or the news. My blog has always been a place where I write very openly, play with ideas, and do not sugar coat things. There is no sense in that. I’ve never been one to avoid topics just because they are uncomfortable to talk about.

What’s it say about the state of the church if we can’t be vulnerable and open? What’s it say about the church if we can’t condemn racism, nationalism, greed, violence, toxicity, and so many other horrible things openly and publicly? What’s it say about the church if we don’t speak up for the poor, the stranger, the outcast, care for creation, the way of peace, seeing the image of God in others, and more? If we can’t do any of that, then what’s the point of the church existing at all?

What is it that we are so afraid of? Losing people? News flash — the church has been in decline for decades. We’ve been losing people for a long time. And in the process we have pushed other people away who have an inclination towards the message of the church, but they want no part of it because we are afraid to be authentic about who we are and what we believe — to put our money where our mouths and statements are.

Apparently, the church some time ago made a decision to be more concerned with a false peace (avoiding conflict with those who complain the loudest), so as to keep people and their money in the institution. It’s a scarcity mentality that is not sustainable, it is a direct rejection of people who embrace the Gospel message, and it’s a focus on decline. All for a fake peace — not real peace. Do we think that if we are just nice, that people will come around to a different way of thinking? No, they won’t. Why would they? The complainers are getting what they…

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Pastor Matthew Best

My name is Matthew Best. I’m an ELCA (Lutheran) pastor who attempts to translate church and churchy stuff into everyday language.