Ah, Jared's Java. Pleasant taste. Slight Monsterism.

Welcome to the home of my mind, where I brew my intellectual and spiritual joe. Sit back and let me pour you a cup or two. I promise not to cut you off, even after you get the caffeine jitters.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Invisible Disciple

We truly have a shame driven church culture. It's a huge frustration for me. For so many Sundays, I sat in the pew listening to the pastor preach messages that "challenged" me to be "more" for God. The problem is that they were often predicated on what I wasn't doing to fulfill "my responsibility" as a follower of Jesus...at least, as what the pastor thought that was.

That is what drives me crazy when I hear people say, "Well, our pastor just preaches the bible." It is impossible to just preach the bible. It must be lived out to be of any effect. If we are conforming ourselves to the image of Jesus, then that means we have meaningful relationships with other believers that support them. It also means that we take discipleship as serious as Jesus did during His time here, which happens only in the context of meaningful relationships and community. I've never met a pastor at a traditional church that has that commitment.

The model I've seen has always been the same: the pastor preaches this "great" sermon that tells me I need to follow/believe/trust in/love/live like Jesus more. Then he goes home and I don't see him, or anyone else from church leadership, again until the next Sunday when he tells me the same thing again, just in different clothing. The only variation is if I happen to be serving on a committee or in a ministry, but the interaction barely gets past nominal personal discussion and generally focuses around whatever program that time is being given for. This is not the biblical model. This isn't what Jesus would be doing.

This all came freshly to mind yesterday when Bob, a member of our congregation, came to our gathered study/worship time. I could see in his eyes that he was hurting and burdened. Bob is one of the precious people of God. He has cognitive, logical and social disabilities, which means he feels free to speak the truth and call it like he sees it. It's always done with kindness, and he brings joy to all of us there. He is truly a full member of our part of the Body. So, I took him outside and talked to him for a while. His dad passed away on Wednesday and grief was just beginning to set in. All this reminded me of my experience at every church I'd ever attended. I could show up heart-heavy and struggling, and no one would notice. Or, if they did, they just basically told me I needed to just keep trusting Jesus/trust Jesus more and that would take care of it. If anyone is paying attention at this point, let me just tell you, don't ever tell that to ANYONE you're ever attempting to console or care for. I talked with Bob the way I wanted to be talked with when I was going through difficult times at the previous fellowships I attended. In the context of our small part of the Body, this happened organically. The Spirit moved, and I with it as servant to the Servant King.

I think we need to take a look at the life of Jesus through new eyes and what that means as we follow His lead. We live and function like we consider it a forgone conclusion, and that will be our downfall if we continue to be that way.

Let us be called to be the love and kindness of Jesus to this world.


Chelf said...

We are His hands, His feet, His heart to this world.

Some of us don't know how to do what you did for Bob. I know how to watch and notice, and I am decent at talking to people. But I don't always get it right, either.

KingJaymz said...

And I'm not saying that everyone has to be able to care and be empathetic. Not everyone's spiritual gift is being a pastor (Ephesians 4:11). My point is that the Church doesn't look like this guy named "Jesus" very much, though they claim to follow Him. They don't seem to be taking many cues from His actions and teachings in the gospels...and it starts with the leadership.

Chelf said...