4 comments on “Can It Be This Simple?

  1. I’m not great with text memorization, but this is one I’ve committed to memory (and also at about 50 something). When I start to get too complicated with my thinking, I focus on this one, Matt 22:37-39 and 1 Cor 13. I figure if I ever can live those out (another 50 years?) I’ll dive “deeper”. As always, thank you for your blog posts, I’m always challenged and benefit from them.

  2. I hear ya. And I like what you say here.

    But I did not pastor a small church, not in the Midwest, I did not get a 401k at all, and I too am nearing the five O.

    My contrast is that I graduated Bible college at the top of my class. They even hung a medal on me that last day there. But I moved from big shot to failure like a shotgun blast. My career plans tanked, my wife announced she was agnostic and left me. I soon found only excons, prostitutes, AND THEIR KIDS wanted my ministry as I got ran off from one church and completely kicked out (criminally trespassed) at another.

    Yeah, I admit a bit of a stubborn streak, but I am not some closed-minded crank. I am open to anyone who wants to answer me with Bible. I even offered to shut up, if only I could get a hearing, but no… I got ran off instead.

    NOW… as for your post… I will not dwell on cynicism and bitterness – personal/spiritual battles which surely it is obvious that I face. Instead, I would ask if those early ideals you mentioned as a 19 year-old (it should be clear to you that I completely “get it”) are not marketed to us by the merchants in service to the great whore of Babylon to begin with. Yes, I am questioning my Bible college at that level, along with the church that sent me there, and definitely the free-market society in which all this makes its home soooooo comfortably. For they found a hifalutin way of SELLING me a college education that must SEEMED so spiritual and altruistic, but come to think of it, the Business Department was just as big and shiny as the Bible Department was, and those kids with their MBA’s do seem to be the converts who could increase my church – if I had one.

    Anyway, if there is something accurate about this suspicion, then there is a deceit going on here that goes deeper and needs to be addressed. None of which cancels your point about the simplicity at all, but it is impinged upon in that it is possible to ignore the deceit by embracing the simplicity rather than confronting the deceit with it.

    You wont find my book on a best seller list. And if you did, my money and reputation would undercut the message. I was looking at concert on TV last night performed by the rock band, Rage Against The Machine, and I thought: Hmmmm… These guys are basically benefiting of a message that questions the very hierarchies they rely on and benefit from. Their critique then is only skin deep, and not true in the end at all.

    Yes. God has in mind that you and I be humble. And while I will not make an a prior assumption that every big name preacher, author, theologian has actually “sold out”, I will point out that such is a slippery slope, AND there cant be that many of us successfully navigating it. In fact, IF any do, they almost by definition have to be the exception – NOT the rule.

    Thanx for making humility okay. I certainly suffer humiliation as a means of ministry. Every inclination that expresses itself in this general direction is welcomed. Helps me feel not as alone as it often seems.

    Agent X
    Fat Beggars School of Prophets
    Lubbock, Texas (USA)

  3. Hey Agent X!

    Thanks for the longest comment I’ve ever received! I understand your problem with the institution and the organization side of ministry and Bible college. I tell people that one of the greatest benefits of Bible college is they taught me how to learn. There were tools out there I didn’t know existed, and they not only showed me the tool box but demonstrated how some of the tools worked. From there it was up to me and my relationship with God to get creative and do the rest.

    There were numerous times I wanted to hand in my credentials and walk away. But again, I knew my relationship was with the Kingdom of God and not the Assemblies of God (there is a difference, but not everyone in the A/G could see it…..sigh). That was how I could move to a monastery in Arkansas and keep my credentials at the same time. My obedience to God’s instructions trumped the limited vision of the denomination. Has it been humbling? You bet. It still is. Every Sunday after my sermon a room full of people turn in their pew and mostly ignore me as they walk out of the church. It’s been months since I’ve had a sincere compliment on a sermon. But as long as I’m sure I’m doing what I’m supposed to do I can only believe that, in spite of what I see, God is doing a work in the lives of the people who, for reasons that baffle me, still show up every Sunday to stare down the worship team with a “Just try and see if you can get me to participate” look and assume a bored look when I teach. For these people I am not their pastor. I’m just the guy who shows up consistently on Sunday morning and relieves them of having to get too involved in the church and actually be forced into making a decision.

    I personally believe that the Church lost its effectiveness when it started meeting in mortgaged structures and hired a pastor. And yes, I fit both those descriptions. The Church is a bit like Noah’s ark: a lot of it stinks from all the waste but it is the best thing afloat.

    Blessings,

    Jim

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