This week it was announced that Papa John’s founder John Schnatter resigned as chairman of the board of his Pizza company after admitting and apologizing for using the N-word during a May conference call.
The fall from grace for the popular and telegenic personality illustrates the power of words and how they impact people.
This week I was asked about the qualifications to become a hospital chaplain. After my explanation the person smiled and said, “I can’t become a hospital chaplain because I have been told that Muslims cannot become chaplains.”
Once she was assured that all faiths are welcomed as hospital chaplains; I wondered what other misinformation have been spread to her and others. Misinformation that was spread because of a failure to think and explore beyond our comfort zones. Misinformation because we lack the political curiosity to consume media that only conforms to our liberal or conservative beliefs. Misinformation that is deeply ingrained because we have chosen to live, interact and worship with people who think like us, act like us, and look like us.
And in my wondering I thought how much of that misinformation have I spread in my sermons, blogs and conversations?
2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to do everything we can to present ourselves to God as a fully genuine person. A worker unashamed and capable of the mission of leading others along the correct path defined by the word of truth.
God wants us to know that thinking matters, that being open to people, ideas and new ways of doing things matter and yes that words matter. While this revelation is hardly new it does remind me that as a pastor and leader in the faith, I must be open to understanding the contexts of our times while holding on to the principals of faith.
As the pitchman for the pizza chain that bears his name John Schnatter better known as Papa John, would end his highly successful commercials with the slogan; better ingredients, better pizza, Papa John’s. This week as a pastor and a leader of faith I have adopted a new slogan. A slogan that I invite you to consider as we look for ways to be more expansive in our thoughts, more inclusive in our actions, and more tender with our words. Better thinking, Better speaking, a better me.