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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Mindset

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More and more as I read the bible, contemplate a few verses, do all that holy-roller stuff each day – the more I chuckle. The more I read – I find the same things that challenged the dusty peeps – they challenge me.

Like this:

Jesus said to his disciples, “Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!'” Luke 17:7-10

How?

Dear God! There He goes again! Endorsing slavery! How unenlightened is that? And more than that – how un-loving is that? And this from “God” – this “Supreme Being” (apparently) – this Creator of All – this omnipresence I regard as “Unconditional Love”! How dare He! How dare He!

Now it may be that you don’t have that kind of reaction. It may be that yours is more like:

Of course He is God, the bible says so. It’s not down to us to question the workings of God. We simply obey Him in trust and faith. So is He talking slavery? Well, yes – but in the context of those poor people back then. That is how they did things. And it is through the teachings of Jesus that we now know better!

Or you could react in a different way. Any number of different ways. And that reaction may have changed over the days or weeks or years.

Mine has.

Mine used to be the “Dear God” reaction. Not that I would have admitted it to anyone. Seems too “lost world” – too “atheist” somehow. Then it became the “Of course He is God” reaction. But I still felt uncomfortable admitting that as well. Seems too “unthinkingly obedient” somehow. And today I chuckle.

Seems to me that Jesus invites a lifelong journey. “Every journey begins with one single step” – and all that. But every journey also passes through different landscapes and times (unless on a treadmill in a gym). And every journey changes. Not just the scenery. Every journey changes “me” (if I allow).

And God Soft Hands Jesus “nailed that” so wonderfully.

His examples and parables are not answers. They are a challenge. A challenge to my mindset right now today. How I think, what I believe, where I am in my relationship with Him and you … and all of that will change … all of that is transitory. So I do not need answers that are permanent. I would not survive and thrive with answers cast in concrete.

Imagine a 100 metre sprinter.

There is not one “permanent” running step or “way of stepping” in their (very short) journey. They crouch and spring, they power and hunker, they expand and stretch, they push and lean, they burst and relax. All in just 100 metres.  A “journey” lasting less than 10 seconds (for the current record holder).

Would you tell Usain Bolt how to run? I wouldn’t.

But if I was his coach – I might challenge him – I might challenge him to look at one part of that very short journey. I might challenge his mindset of what was and what was not in “that bit”. That is what coaches do.  Good coaches.  And I am guessing that Usain Bolt and his coach have chuckled many times. Because you don’t get to be that good by taking yourself too seriously all the time.

That is when you stop being challenged. When everything is a serious “disability” and weakness to be overcome – when everything relies on “me beating me” (which has disturbing echoes of “I am but a poor sinner” as I write those words).

This morning I see “mindset”. This morning I hear “challenge”.  This morning I hear my coach chuckling.  This morning I hear myself … my own reaction.  Not His words, nor His ”answers”.   I hear my own mindset being challenged.  And I hear chuckling.

I am curious. What do you hear today?