Earlier this week I was contacted by a local radio station concerning my thoughts about a controversial media campaign launched a year ago in the St. John’s Region about littering. In the context of a morning radio show, I answered a few questions and offered my feelings and interpretation of reasons, solutions, and the like. At the end of the interview, the host remarked on the depth of my responses. In these responses, my belief, convictions, and concern certainly stood out. The interview ended with a final set of statements:
“That was quite deep, Rev.’d Burrows.”
“Well, you are asking a priest.”
As the interview ended, I believe both the host and I wished there was more time to explore the various nuances of the reasoning why individuals choose to disregard the beauty of creation.
In my flippant final response, I realized the truth of my words—all the world must take me as I am.
I respond to the challenges and questions of the world as a baptized child of God, an ordained servant of Christ, in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
I can no more take away my baptism and ordination from my psyche than cut off a limb.
The lens of my reality, and thus my reflections upon the state of society, the world, culture, and creation, all are intertwined with my self as human, male, christian, husband, father, priest, and friend.
When I remark on the various other issues and challenges of this week, be they the situation in Baltimore, the devastation in Nepal, or the Provincial Budget announcements tomorrow, all will be in light of the person that I am.
The person I am is changing, however, and so I need to continually reflect and rethink my remarks and observations based on my history, my experience, my deepening journey with God.
I love the Iona Community Chant, Take, O Take me as I am, for it reminds me that God summons the divine in me, through who I am, and what I have experienced.
I believe we are called to live and respond as spiritual people in this world, and for me that means living my life according to the baptismal promises. This at times requires me to respond as a mirror, and reflect the faith of the church community back to the world. Other times this requires me to respond as a window, so that others can see through me, the presence of Jesus.
I hope and pray there are less chances for me to encounter society through the medium of live radio, for in it, my words sometimes get me chatting and thinking!