The squeaky shoe

Published 5:05 am Saturday, March 2, 2019

By Nathan Decker

“Action expresses priorities.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

It’s my left boot. And it doesn’t do it all the time. Sometimes it gets on my nerves like when I’m walking down a long hallway. Other times I can adjust my foot uncomfortably just so, and that’s enough to make the annoyance go away. But most of the time I forget that the noise is there. Sure other people hear it, but if I pretend real hard that it’s not there, surely they won’t say anything out of good old-fashioned polite southern living.

Hi, my name is Nathan Decker, and I have a squeaky shoe.

I know what you are thinking. Why doesn’t he just go buy a new pair of boots? Why does he put up with the repetitive obnoxious affront to all things naturally musical? The squeak goes somewhere from an E minor into a hellish devil dragging his fingernails down a chalk board of dissonance. And you’re right. I should probably buy new shoes. I shouldn’t put up with it. Still, I’m busy, I’m distracted and it will cost money I don’t want to spend. I’m a lot like the church.

God gave the world the church so salvation, mercy, love, grace and a kingdom vision would be carried out. Our priorities are bringing hope to those in despair, direction and meaning to the lost, and changing the world one heart at a time. But when I see the church in the news, I see us ignoring our squeaky shoes and acting like busybodies among politicians and those in power. I see us distracted by issues and forgetting these issues affect real people. Yes, people see our brokenness, and the fact that we are ignoring the squeak doesn’t make our hymns of salvation any better.

Jesus calls us to repent — or in this case, to put on new shoes. That means we don’t ignore the squeaks, but address them head on. The church has no place for sexual abuse or misconduct. The church teaches discipleship and how to have peace-centered conversations instead of coming down from on high with legalistic proclamations about who is in and who is out. The church resists the temptation of the powers of this world to endorse political candidates and platforms. For too long, the church has ignored our flaws, adjusted uncomfortably, or simply pretended the brokenness didn’t exist.

Jesus calls us to be transformed. When we give up our pursuit of power and take on the burden of washing one another’s feet — we are following Jesus. When we put down our posts and tweets trying to prove our self-righteous views and instead turn the other cheek — we are following Jesus. When we have faith that the kingdom of God is near, indeed, we can see it breaking forth in each sunrise — we are following Jesus. When we let go of our squeaky shoes, agendas and ambitions; and when we take up the cross — then we are following Jesus.

This Lent, as we turn our eyes toward the journey to the cross and Easter, be transformed by love.

After all, it’s what Jesus would do.

Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is — what is good and pleasing and mature.”

– Romans 12:2

NATHAN DECKER is the pastor of High Street United Methodist Church. Contact him at 562-3367.