Just some random musings today…
Persecution always flows down a hierarchy. Never up. The victims of persecution are always below their persecutors in the perceived hierarchy of dominance. When powerful people “play the victim” and claim to be persecuted by those whom they oppress, it is just another attempt to manipulate and deceive. In their desperation to retain control, they may commence flattery, feign altruism and deep love, play on your sympathies and just generally attempt to throw their subordinates into confusion. But remember this: bullies do not suffer persecution. What they do develop is a martyr complex. When the truth is spoken, and their deeds and motives are brought into the light, we must understand what is actually going on… what oppressors falsely call “persecution” is actually a courageous struggle for liberation by those who dared to stand up and speak the truth. This act of courage strikes fear into the hearts of those who would control you, and sends them into a dizzying damage control frenzy, because it gravely threatens their chokehold on the people.
We are a people who are obsessed with education, information, and gurus who can teach us. In Christianity, we think we just need more information, more knowledge. And we need an expert or an authority on the matter to give it to us.
It occurs to me that this is why the sermon, preaching, and preacher, are so important in our church culture. Even our efforts to make the sermon more interactive and less … “preachy”… (using powerpoints, question time, breaking up into small groups for brief discussion, etc) fail to strike at the heart of the matter.
“How can our preaching reach more people, be more impactful, more memorable, more relevant” preachers ask themselves. But never the question of whether preaching to the church is beneficial in the first place.
Were elders ever to deliver monologues to the church, expounding on their well-studied and exegeted texts? Were they ever to select a portion of Scripture for the rest of the congregation to meditate on and apply? Does Jesus direct his body only through the appointed leadership, showing them what food the congregation is to be fed? Or are we each to yield to the Spirit’s leading, as Christ dwells in us and in our midst, speaking to each of us, giving space for one another, and doing so in an orderly yet reciprocal way?
Do I believe that God can and does use preachers and preaching? Absolutely! But how on earth did this became a centrepiece and staple of our gathering together, taking preeminence, over the “every member functioning” that the Scriptures talk about?
Some food for thought today. God’s blessings to you!