It’s just no one can see it anymore

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Over at justmebeingcurious today …

“Love conquers death.  Love conquers a hard-heart.  Love’s the first and last thing we each know – whether by love’s presence OR by love’s absence.”

As we say at Church Set Free: Love is always the answer.

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“When were you last at confession?  When were you last at church?  When did you last read the bible?  When did you last pray to God the Father?  When did you last give?  When did you last … “

As we say in church.

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This Sunday, why not spend a few minutes with

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Dearly beloved …

As we gather here today …

 

 

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Thank you,

Paul

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Getting the job done

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Facebook post by “Clergy Coaching Network”
“The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state,
but rather the conscience of the state.  It must be the guide and the critic
of the state, and never its tool.  If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal
it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

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And a selection of comments …
I have problems interpreting what was intended for a theocracy to be for a non-theocratic state like America.
Jesus was very political.
But that prophetic zeal must always be tempered with discernment to assure that the Holy Spirit is behind the message.
What does he mean by prophetic zeal?
Read Amos or Micah or Hosea.

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And “theocracy” … ?
“Theocracy, government by divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided. In many theocracies, government leaders are members of the clergy, and the state’s legal system is based on religious law. Theocratic rule was typical of early civilizations.”
And “prophetic” … ?
“The adjective prophetic traces all the way back to the Greek word prophētikos, meaning “predicting.”  You know who’s really good at predicting stuff?  Prophets.  Usually, prophetic is used to describe a thing — like a warning, a feeling, or a complaint — rather than a person.”
And “zeal” … ?
“Zealous is the adjective for the noun zeal “eager partisanship”; the latter has a long e, but zealous has a short one: ZEL-uhs.  It can have a slightly negative connotation, and people are sometimes described as “overzealous,” meaning they try too hard.”

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More and more I see the clergy “qualified (in God)” having this consequence.

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All the theological-and-seminary-production-line-consequence of a bible “authorised” by scholars (themselves previously qualified in God).  Just seems too familiar – a constant throwback to the good old (biblical) days when Jesus kept saying:

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“You have seen it written but I say … “

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All the theological-and-seminary-production-line-consequence of … “Let’s get back to the original Greek”“Scholars are agreed that this definition – ““If only you would actually study your bible (like I do) – “ …  Just like the good old (biblical) days when Jesus kept saying:

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“All of that don’t get you close to God … “

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I have a job.

When something goes wrong we go forensic:  “What happened, why did it happen, how can we stop it happening again?”  And I find myself suggesting that instead of yet another “process change” – we just care a little more and a little better.  That we remember why we are doing “this” and who we are doing “this”for. 

In my job it is a bunch of wonderful human beings we call a “temp team”.  A bunch of “temps” who are our company out there in all these different Client’s premises.  A bunch of human beings just like us – with lives to live, bills to pay, people they love, frustrations and hope and dreams and comfort zones.

And we can “process map” the hell out of “caring for them” …  But just “caring for them” – loving them for who they are, what they are and where they are … always!

That gets the job done.   

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The qualified in God clergy have a job.

And it isn’t “working for the church”.   It isn’t about running a slick operation called the church.   It isn’t about being qualified in God.   It isn’t even about NOT being a “false teacher” (more deja vu … “You have seen it written but I say … “)

And I find myself suggesting that instead of yet another debate about “going back to the original” for yet more “spiritual discernment” …

We just care a little more, a little better.  That we remember why we are doing “this” and who we are doing “this”for … for a bunch of wonderful human beings who are neither “our flock” nor “the lost” … but a bunch of humans just like us with lives to live, bills to pay, people they love, frustrations and hope and dreams and comfort zones.

And we can “correctly interpret” the hell out of the bible “caring for them correctly” …  But just “caring for them” – loving them for who they are, what they are and where they are … always!

That gets the job done.   

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What would you ask Jesus?

There are times I look at what comes out of small children’s bible classes and wonder if we have lost the plot. Sticky bits of paper, little crowns to wear, stick figures drawn, simplistic and black and white.  God is this.  We are that.  God is good.  Long live God!

And then we get into the complicated stuff. The wars, the genocide, the cleansing  … the “old Testament” and the God who is “not good”.  And the questions begin.  The ones no one wants to ask (or answer).  And those who ask (all too often) are given “proof verses” or “inspiration verses” or told that when they become “mature Christians” all will become clear – or simply that “this is the mystery of our faith – we may never know (in this lifetime).”

And so often we never even realise that we – like Peter Pan – are stuck in this perpetual church kindergarten (for ever and ever, amen). 

“Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.’ He answered, ‘The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!” Matthew 13:36-43

Good seeds. Bad seeds.  Good people.  Bad people.  Devil.  Angels.  End of age. God.  Weeds.  Bad people.  Burned. God.  Beautiful plants.  Beautiful people.  Saved.  Happy people good.  Bad people gone.  We are good!  God is good!  Long live God!  Long live us!

The Law was all they knew from birth.  All the commandments and the law and the temple and the sacrifices and atonement for sins.  Always sins.  Always atoning.  Never clean.   Always waiting.  For the Big One.  Always waiting.  For The Kingdom here on earth!  And how does Jesus break through all that history, that culture, that “religion”?  With “sticky paper” and simplicity.

We are no different to them – why do we think we are?  They no different to us – why do we think they are.

Well, maybe because of this …

I see the disciples journeying. Physically and spiritually.  Storms.  Thousands to feed.  Demons to hoik out.  Being watched.  Being reported on.  Forgetting the daily bread.  Being told off.  Again and again!  Whereas I see us preferring our nice safe kindergarten where we can be fed picture stories.  The simplistic and black and white.  No thought required – no journey required.  A nice little club we join and stay with (for ever and ever, amen).

I often wonder what it is we get from “church”.  I wonder “why church” (as we seem to want it) …

Polished.  Clean.  Dusted and sanitised.  A building we go to – where we “sacrifice” an hour of our week to atone for our sins – to never be clean – never – always having to come back and atone again – to sacrifice again and again.   To sit together and draw stick-men (and women – obviously).  To play with sticky paper.  To watch the multi-media show.  To enjoy the performance.  To offer a short critique on the way out:  “Loved the hymns today. Not sure the sermon was up to scratch today.  The sound levels were too high for me today.  Thought you all looked wonderful!  Sorry, can’t stop.  See you next week.  Busy busy busy!  Back to the real world!”

My point is this: what “would” we ask Jesus today is the wrong question. What “would” we want is the wrong question.  That makes it classroom.  That makes it kindergarten.  That makes it safe.  That makes it static.  That makes it intellectual. That leaves us unchanged.  That leaves us in exactly the same spot as before.  And that is not “journeying”.

The right question?

What “do/did/will/will not/have/have not” I ask … what “do/did/will/will not/have/have not” I want … of my Living Jesus.  Right now.  Right here.  365/24/7 (and all that).