True Confessions of an Interim

Jun 20, 2024

By The Rev. Dr. Carl Grosse

Recently, I met my first timber rattlesnake while hiking on the Middle Prong trail. This specimen was way more casual than the western diamondbacks I remember. It was not at all in a hurry, didn’t coil up in a strike position, and barely rattled. I walked behind it after sharing pleasantries, and it slowly moved off the trail into the woods while my family and I continued along the trail.

That being said, this is a dangerous snake with a powerful venom. Every year, tourists are injured or killed by dangerous animals. People want to pet the bear or take selfies with a bison, and it goes bad. Perhaps in our increasingly virtual universes, we’re losing touch with the real world. Watching animals on Tik Tok doesn’t help us understand them as they really are, and so when we encounter them we engage them according to our limited, unrepresentative, even fake information. Failing to treat wild critters as wild is a recipe for disaster.

We can make a similar mistake with people: viewing them according to caricatures created by influencers rather than getting to know them as they really are. I’m so glad we emphasize personal connections in Fountain City Presbyterian Church. Who you really are is so much more fascinating than internet profiles. 

We should also remember that God is who God is. Isn’t that the Name disclosed to Moses: “I AM THAT I AM”? Isaiah and Paul both reminded people that God is the potter and we are the clay. When we start making Jesus into something He is not, something created by social media or streaming services to maximize views rather than the Lord of the universe, that is the definition of idolatry and our relationship with God becomes distorted. 

Please unplug a little from your devices (after you read this!), get to know nature, your fellow travelers on this planet, and the One who made and rules it all. Failing to understand and treat others as they are, whether wild animals, other people, or your Lord and Savior, could come back to bite you!