Still hammering away on an old Gateway laptop at a coffee place in Judea. I wanted a MacBook Air, but then I remembered Shaun Groves said we shouldn't spend money like that. (Mental note: Gotta confront Mike Bishop, who just got an iPhone. Sell-out.)
Anyway, there was this crowd today, and all these big-time religious leader fellers. These guys LOVE being recognized, being significant, being "The Man" and all that. And people give them the accolades, too: "Ooh, it's my teacher! My leader!" -- that kind of stuff. So I says (and I'm quoting myself from the New Living Translation, owned by Tyndale):
Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father. And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be a servant.
Were they cool with that? (Snort.) No, they weren't cool with that. I told them that the people who thought they were "all that" now, with titles and what-not, would get humbled, and the humble would wind up being "all that". That didn't fly, either.
Truth is, these guys get accolades, but you know what? They just make life harder for people. I told them that.
Posted: Today at 6:32 p.m.
Well, this doesn't surprise me. You've been anti-clerical for a long time, ignoring thousands of years of tradition. This kind of caps it for me. Not fair.
I guess I see where you're coming from, but really: They're ALL bad? You've apparently had some bad experiences in the past, and I'm sorry for that, but you don't need to make big blanket statements.
A lot of good comes from these guys, and you can't argue with how big their followings have gotten. Maybe a jealousy issue...? I don't know.
I was there and all I heard was, "Blessed are the cheesemakers"...?
[From J: Don't take me literally. I meant ALL makers of dairy products. BTW, we've got to rent "Holy Grail" next time.]
You sure like rocking the boat. I think you're throwing some good people overboard.
Some of these guys are our top experts on scripture, and I can't see how calling one my teacher is such a bad thing. Yes, there are a few bad apples, but what are we supposed to do, stop learning?
You say you, Jesus, are they only real teacher?
Uh...are you going to personally be in every religious building?
I bet you won't.
Yeah, I gotta piggyback on vision4life up there. I usually get where you're going, but we need people in the offices of the teacher or the leader or, in some traditions, "father".
You've got to delegate, and have somebody have some kind of stand-in status.
Fact is, you're one dude, and you can't be there every time two or three people get together.
My Pastor has seven books. I don't see any of yours in our church BookTime CoffeeCenter.
This post made me cry. How dare you.
My husband is our church Teacher. He is a man of The Word, and there's nothing wrong with recognizing that he is anointed to be the Leader. It's not like this is a glamorous position -- he's had to put up with jerks in every church he's led. Now, he's being called to be the Leader of a different place, we think, and so we're going there, and if they want to act like he's their official Teacher, I don't see the problem with that, and they offer a better health package.
Point is, you're really judgmental. The real leaders are the servants? Who's going to be on the church stage? Why don't you put the volunteer custodian up there, then? See how many people come to THAT church!
Why did you say, "You're all equal as brothers and sisters"? We knew that. No one believes otherwise. What's your point?
I think you guys aren't being fair. Chill.
I think Jesus is only saying here that we shouldn't be Catholic or Jewish.
So teaching the scriptures makes life "harder" for people? Good.
Studying IS hard. Keeping the Word IS hard. Keeping track of the right stuff to do IS hard.
No one said it would be easy. No one said the burden would be light.
Gee, nice post. Real well thought-out.
I can see why your Technorati rank is like, twenty-millionth.
You need to spend some time reading the epistles, apparently. What Bible College did you go to...? Are they really accredited?
hi jesus i like it when you sai d if i love you then you will take care of me :)
You know that feeling you get, right after you're talking about synchronized swimming, and someone on a synchronized swimming team takes offense, and then they challenge you to a synchronized swimming showdown?
Yeah, that? -- that's pretty much how I feel right now.
I think -- I can't remember everything crystal-clear -- I said something about how it wasn't a real sport, and something-or-other. I guess my microphone was on, because I remember this lady who was kinda mad about it and she called saying something about how I didn't know what I was talking about, and should be quiet because I couldn't handle how difficult it was, and stuff like that.*
Long story short: My friend Pablo and I are competing against a team on Saturday.
I've been learning about it on the internet. I'm still pretty confident, but it was something of a blow today when I heard the water is actually over our heads. I've been studying up on it, though, and I notice the wikipedia page doesn't say anything about not using floaties.
I need some music ideas and a team name for Pablo and me. I was thinking we could do a medley, and like start off with "Jaws", and swim out with fins on our backs, and then bust into "Thriller" and do some of those dance moves, and then maybe go underwater and come back up with pistols and stuff and do "Wanted: Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi or something but these are all just brainstorming ideas and maybe a salute to Batman or something.
* -- This is the second time I've brought up synchronized swimming, and the second time I got in trouble. The first time was a news story about two synchronized swimmers who both passed out at the exact same time in the pool. When my newsperson read the story, I couldn't stop laughing. It was embarrassing.
Some lady called, crying, saying it wasnt funny, and she used to be on a synch-swimming team, and they could be seriously hurt, and I tried to stop laughing and said I'm sorry, but no, they weren't seriously hurt, and then my newsperson said yes, actually, they're in serious condition, and I was really embarrassed, but I still couldn't stop laughing, and I'm actually stifling laughter even now, and it's really immature.
Most preachers don't listen to sermons. They give them.
Ask one sometime. He might listen to a podcast or read a book to learn, which is certainly a wonderful thing, and now that you think about it, well, you could just do that, too, right?
No, not really. Then, someone might say, you'd be acting as a spiritual "free agent", be spurning "solid biblical preaching", and resisting true authority. So why does it apply to you, but not them...? That's a thorny one.
On second thought, maybe you shouldn't ask. Bottom line, for a lot of us, as we've grown up: Attend The Thing, sit down, listen to the presentation, go through the flow-chart, and now you're truly under authority.
Frank Viola doesn't buy it. In his new book, Reimagining Church, he makes it clear: He doesn't believe in "spiritual covering". He doesn't think there's a special class of person, the clergy-person. He doesn't think the way we conceive of "authority" -- in any kind of hierarchical, up-and-down terms -- is prescribed at all in scripture. He says we not only read our modern understandings back into the scripture, many translations, themselves, do the same. The KJV, for example, "Anglicanizes" the original text, to retro-fit the status quo.
Of course, there are perfectly legitimate scriptural objections. How can Viola say elders aren't "in charge" of the church? How can he say "spiritual covering" isn't a requirement? How can he say there is no office of "pastor"? Viola defends his case biblically, and takes on the anticipated what-about-this-verse-arguments. For those who care -- even disagree -- it's fascinating.
Is he convincing? Well, yes. Or, very likely, no -- if you're heavily invested in the status quo. This should be obvious: You're simply more likely to be convinced "there is no office of pastor"...if you're not currently holding the office of pastor. We're human. We all operate that way.
Oh, there will be others who will hate this, too, including the managers of mega-church bookstores who, in an exceptional case, didn't find space recently for a bestselling book from a mainstream Christian publisher. That was Viola's last one.
The discomfort with, and dismissal of, Viola and his book will extend well beyond the "traditional" church, too. He rightly points out that many in the "emergent" movement will talk about doing away with sacred cows, and "re-imagining" the church, but will not -- no matter what -- do away the paid pastor-speaker-guy and Sunday attractional-worship-event-thing once a week. No matter what, regardless of scriptural warrant.
Funny how we often "emerge" into the same thing, just in a hipper locale.
Did I mention a lot of people who aren't going to like this book?
Conscientious people care about authority. People with good hearts desire it. (Ironically, since we quit "going to church", we're now encountering FAR more authority in very real and uncomfy and maturing ways, but that's another post.) We all know the world's idea of authority, the corporate idea, the military one, the western one -- but what does authority look like, in the Kingdom of God?
And -- get this -- if the Kingdom authority looks drastically different from the way we conceive of it, would the people currently in "office" in churches welcome this change?
What if people weren't given offices, but just became influencers simply because of the way they showed spiritual maturity through serving people?
While Frank Viola is more soft-spoken and circumspect in this book than his last, will that win friends?
By stressing that a living Jesus is not just theoretically, but actually, truly, in practice, for reals, not in just in motto, to be each church's Leader, will Viola actually be threatening to people who think he's taking the Jesus thing to far?
Will people who criticized Viola, in his previous book, for not offering a "positive solution", another way of "doing church", be thrilled to see him here unpack it?
Is our commitment to our own ideas of authority so strong that people will reject Viola's scriptural arguments without actually engaging them?
Will people still equate critique of the-way-we've-always-done-it with heresy?
Will Viola get hate mail?
And what's with all my rhetorical questions, all of a sudden?
Here's a for-real obit, found this week in the Vallejo (CA) Times-Herald.
My guess: This sort of thing is rarely written, and often thought.
1929 - Aug. 7, 2008
Dolores Aguilar, born in 1929 in New Mexico, left us on August 7, 2008. She will be met in the afterlife by her husband, Raymond, her son, Paul Jr., and daughter, Ruby.
She is survived by her daughters Marietta, Mitzi, Stella, Beatrice, Virginia and Ramona, and son Billy; grandchildren, Donnelle, Joe, Mitzie, Maria, Mario, Marty, Tynette, Tania, Leta, Alexandria, Tommy, Billy, Mathew, Raymond, Kenny, Javier, Lisa, Ashlie and Michael; great-grandchildren, Brendan, Joseph, Karissa, Jacob, Delaney, Shawn, Cienna, Bailey, Christian, Andre Jr., Andrea, Keith, Saeed, Nujaymah, Salma, Merissa, Emily, Jayci, Isabella, Samantha and Emily. I apologize if I missed anyone.
Dolores had no hobbies, made no contribution to society and rarely shared a kind word or deed in her life. I speak for the majority of her family when I say her presence will not be missed by many, very few tears will be shed and there will be no lamenting over her passing.
Her family will remember Dolores and amongst ourselves we will remember her in our own way, which were mostly sad and troubling times throughout the years. We may have some fond memories of her and perhaps we will think of those times too. But I truly believe at the end of the day ALL of us will really only miss what we never had, a good and kind mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. I hope she is finally at peace with herself. As for the rest of us left behind, I hope this is the beginning of a time of healing and learning to be a family again.
There will be no service, no prayers and no closure for the family she spent a lifetime tearing apart. We cannot come together in the end to see to it that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren can say their goodbyes. So I say here for all of us, GOOD BYE, MOM.
Man, I wish I could be cool. I try hard. I've done all the "cool" and "hip" stuff, that you're "supposed" to do to be "in", like playing the slide-whistle, collecting stamp mint sets, going for the "slam" a lot during ping-pong -- all that stuff.
But I'm not cool. Like, ever.
Further evidence: As much as I want to be one of these hip evangelicals I keep reading about, I won't be voting for Barack Obama.
Believe me, I'd like to. A) He's a black guy -- did you know that?, and B) He's from Illinois, like I am, and C) I don't like anyone else running, and then there's D) If the evangelical culture tells me to zig, well, I'd rather zag, thanks.
The cool thing to do here is say, "Well, that's simplistic. There are so many other issues!" -- as though the acknowledgment of a hierarchy of issues is simplism.
He denies human rights to millions of vulnerable children -- wups, let's use the Latin for child here to maintain the veneer -- fetuses, and so I won't press the Obama button.
(Wish I were Warren: "Yes, we can know when life begins, Mr. Obama. That argument's ended quite awhile ago. And yes, even if you're still unsure -- Is that a human in the bushes, or an animal? I'll shoot first! -- we still might summon the will to protect those born alive. Too bad you didn't, and you remain one of the very, very few, even among pro-choicers, who won't.")
No offense, Obama-supporters. I know the compelling arguments (But...Iraq, But...Bush sucks, But...presidents don't really matter on this issue, But...Sojourners says what about global warming, But...it's just so complicated, etc.) and I might agree with you on many things. But this is a non-starter.
I lose cool points...again. I know, I know: Me and Pat Robertson, in lock-step, and so on, and it's time we matured past this issue, and so forth, and me and James Dobson, and religious right doesn't speak for eveyrone, and what about social justice and etc. I know. I hear you. Again. Loud and clear.
And you're right -- it's not the only issue, not even close.
Friends were telling me about a "book" of "faces" on the "web". It's not a literal book. It's more of a "website".
I signed up on it and now my face is there. I'd like you to register as a "friend" on this internet page.
This is because if you do, it will boost my overall number of "friends". This is good, because when people see how many "friends" I have on my internet page, they will think I have a lot of friends, and am popular, and hence worthy of respect. This, in turn, will temporarily boost my self-esteem, releasing endorphins and emboldening me to attempt feats that will ultimately fail, resulting in character-growth and spiritual maturity.
That's what's in it for me. And for you?
Material possessions that will bring amusement.
I'm going to randomly draw from my "friends" list, and award a person two (2) Nintendo Wii consoles. I'll do this at the end of September. I'm offering TWO because a) I'm not paying for them, and b) it should encourage you to recruit still more poser "friends" for my page, in hopes that they will give you one of the Wiis if you win.
This is NOT unseemly. I'm not requesting you do something undignified or of ill repute. I'm merely asking you to feign human attachment, forging a temporary and shallow emotional connection, in exchange for the promise of goods.
Because there's nothing more fun than forcing people to look at your own photo albums, here's an online version.
I can't force you to look at it. I can't even force myself to think you'd want to. But here it is.
Oh, the places you'll go!