Following my meeting this afternoon I needed to stop in at the local ChristianÂ ParaphernaliaÂ Book Store to check on a study book which as it turned out, they didn't have. Not a "Popular Title" it seemed.Â
Anyway, as I was browsing I overheard three loud pastors sitting in the big chairs in the corner carrying on and holding court with anybody who would overhear them. They were showing one another what great knowledge they had about the various bible translations and how they could use their greek skills that they had, didn't you know, to draw broad sweeping conclusions about which was the best translation for their highly esteemed work. They went on about how their knowledge was a great thing for their churches who should listen to them more because they had great education that would help their congregations, unlike churches of other denominations. It wasÂ embarrassinglyÂ arrogant.
What a load of bollocks. (Please pardon my englishÂ Anglo-Saxons)
There seemed to be a hugeÂ disconnectÂ with their churches who needed to listen to them more, let alone the world whom they didn't seem to be relevant to at all. It was like they had all the right answers to questions not being asked of them at all.
I gotta tell you that if I was in one of their churches, I'd really find it hard to stay there. Life is too short to listen to people who don't get it, or worse yet, think they have the answers to questions I don't care about. It becomes a joke, an inside joke and they are all outsiders.
They seemed to base theirÂ qualificationsÂ on their education but they had no experience or understanding of the Spirit and his working in lives, at least as far as I could tell by the spirit of their conversation. There wasn't a great deal of theÂ evidenceÂ of the activity of the Holy Spirit there among them.
Ahem, no wonder the church is in a tough place these days.
Why do some pastors think it's more helpful to curse rather than to bless? Not curse curse, but to speak down to someone because they feel insecure about their own stuff? Why can't we be a blessing, in deed and in word, wherever we go and whatever we do? Rather than to be calling people down.
I don't often if ever speak with such language about those called to care for and lead the body of Christ, but what we seem to be creating is a group of educated, Spirit-less, insecure individuals who have a religion devoid of power.
Yes, there are some AMAZING pastors out there. Our own meeting today was a place where we could share our hearts about how we are caring for the church and how we attempt to care for the world too. We talked about character issues. Good people trying to be faithful to the calling they know, who know it's not about them.
But some pastors out there have never fasted and prayed for a week, or have never prayed with a sick person until they are better or have died or have heard God say my grace is enough for your illness. They have not had to pray in enough money to pay their bills or had to stick it out in a difficult church simply because God told them to remain. Â Some of them haveÂ never evenÂ heard what God's voice sounds like.
We need these kinds of times with God for our character to develop. We need these opportunities to learn the ways God works with us and leads us. Surely they are humbling times, but God gives grace to the humble. We need all the grace we can get, so bring on the humility.
I guess this post comes from a place of concern for the church. We, at least in the west, have figured out some of the more formal ways to educate and train individuals for the ministry. We need to find ways to allow for and encourage the character building types ofÂ activitiesÂ as well.
I think I should stop now for fear I will begin rambling.
I need to hit either delete or post now, and while I am inclined to hit delete I know that's just the easiest option. Â So if you have an opinion feel free to have a go.