Most recently, I have embraced a term, which speaks directly to my being a parish pastor and life in general for most people. “Brutiful” is a term made up of two words: brutal and beautiful. I’m often asked how ministry is going for me, or how the church is doing. Brutiful is really the only word that makes sense.

I’m finding I can receive disturbing news one minute and then hear news to sing praises the next. As a faith community, we can be dealing with financial downfalls or continued healing from past communal situations, which arise out of small town and rural living experiences. At the same time, we can rejoice with news of ministering to families hit by unemployment and then find out another sole family income provider has received a “pink slip.”

We need to accept and be aware that life’s hard knowcks and precious moments coexist together. Everything needs balance or opposite forces to exist. In our faith world, there must be doubt. If there was no doubt, how could we test our faith? I am reminded of when Thomas saw Jesus after the resurrection, Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

The very nature of faith is to believe in the face of “no possibilities” or “adversity.” If doubt doesn’t exist, then faith doesn’t exist. Without balance, our universe might tip over so to speak. I believe once we embrace this concept we are less anxious to compare things or to label things as “good” or “bad.” Besides, what do labels add to the overall understanding and experience? Nothing. We place labels on things so that we can accept or reject something. Rather than rejecting, why not accept and embrace. Embrace things just as they are and everything has its place in the balance of the universe.

So the next time someone asks you, “How are things going?” You might say, “Bruitful” and live in the understanding and knowledge of the need for both beautiful and brutal elements to exist in your world.

The Rev. Kevin Raidy serves as lead pastor of Bloomfield UMC, an author, and co-founder of a faith-based consulting company.


“Brutiful” is a term made up of two words: brutal and beautiful.