Friday, February 7, 2014
Regularly, I'm compelled to warn ecclesiastical rookies - young pastors, new members, first-time deacons and elders and staff members and Sunday School teachers and youth workers, and all of the below - to never underestimate the control needs of people with an insatiable need to control 'em.
Those control needs expose navel-gazing spiritualities rarely even if coincidentally connected to Jesus by the book.
People love to control other people and have them conform to their, uh, control needs.
Really, rarely does it have to do with anything other than their control needs.
It's not about love or justice or ethics or theology or even philosophy or Spike Lee's urging to do the right thing.
They just feel better about themselves when they can control others.
While control needs fuel despots in families, governments, education, school boards, youth sports, commerce, and..., it's especially nauseating in churches where ya'd think pewsitters and pulpiteers would get it/Him in a contradictory to Revelation 3:14ff. kinda way.
Buuuuuuut, I guess it's true; hanging around churches turns people into Christians about as much as hanging out at Arby's turns people into roast beef sandwiches.
Jesus by the book be...
Control freaks cause sooooooo much pain.
If I have to provide illustrations for you, you may be one of those sickos with...
Let me put it another way.
If you're insisting on anything for anyone other than what He has revealed/commanded in Jesus by the book, you better read Matthew 15:7-9.
I remember the Dana Carvey enfleshment who confronted me, "You don't care about our traditions here in the South when it comes to coloreds."
Reply: "You're right about you being wrong."
I am very, very, very, traditional.
It's a tradition that goes back to Jesus by the book.
I've made lots of mistakes and I'm making lots of mistakes and I will make lots of mistakes - that's why I need Lord Jesus as Savior to deliver me from the eternal consequences of my mistakes/sins - buuuuuuut I rarely confuse my navel with Jesus by the book.
Instead of rationalizing my mistakes/sins and toning/watering down what God has revealed in Jesus by the book, I pray and labor to attend to rather than contend with it/Him.
That, at least, is my prayer and goal.
I fall short; but I'm trying.
Sooooooo when somebody tries to control me apart from Jesus by the book, I do the Paul/Silas/Jesus thing and...think about riding Return2 or playing nine with Billy or...shrug...shake off...ignore 'em; though I've become very good over the years at feigning attention.
I remember when we started this site.
Somebody wrote from Kansas City to complain about me using @#$% to separate thoughts, inspirations, indigestions, uh, whatever.
She said @#$% symbolizes profanity.
She said I should use crosses to separate...
People with control needs are always shoulding on other people who resist their needs to control 'em.
I said using crosses would be presumptuous of me when I'm just trying to get people to think about stuff and could be wrong about what I'm writing about.
I said @#$% is just my way of separating...
She was unconvinced, unmoved, and insistent that I conform to her base control needs masquerading as high-and-mighty-self-righteous-nobody-knows-God-like-I-know-God spiritualism.
I did the Paul/Silas/Jesus thing and...
Besides, parables and poetry and literary genre are all the same to the reader/hearer: ya get it or ya don't.
It's predestined, I guess.
I don't know.
All I know is my writing has been more influenced by Picasso, Dali, and Vonnegut than MLA, Strunk/White, Turabian, or Gregg.
I hope my undershepherding has been more influenced by Jesus by the book than egocentric ecclesiastical franchises, books about the book, and the control needs of...that are rarely even if coincidentally related to Jesus by the book.
It's easier for me now.
I'm a geezer with lots of pension credits and an eternal perspective that obviates/overcomes OCDish addictions to temporal securities/popularities.
I've got experience and calluses and maybe even a little...
While I pray for 'em and will even work with 'em if asked, I'm rarely moved by 'em anymore.
As a young pastor, I hid it well.
Trained, I guess.
Buff came to me about 30 years ago and bantered about something while admitting, "My husband said I'm wasting my time by coming to you about this because you're so egotistical and arrogant and..."
She was right.
Some suggest she still has a point.
That's what happens when you wear the stripes that don't heal on your Genevans.
As a geezer pastor, John comes to mind.
He meant well while calling my wife about 12 years ago: "You better tell Bob that he's never gonna get anywhere in our presbytery if he doesn't stop saying mainline denominations are irretrievably apostate under current management."
My wife replied, "Bob doesn't care what anyone thinks unless they prove him wrong by the Bible."
It started with a trip to Worms in 1973.
I try not to be rude when confronted by somebody else's control needs.
I admit my biggest control need is to resist people who have a need to control me.
Truth is I've just come to the place in my life - you be the judge if you're comfortable judging others - when the only control need that gets my attention is His in an Exodus 20:5-6 kinda way.
Blessings and Love!