I had a funny exchange with my morning Bible study today. I asked a gentleman about the prospects for the search of our new pastor. He responded with anger saying, “you can’t rush this. It’s a sensitive process.” I didn’t expect this response, and because he was clearly angered saying, essentially, “hey new guy, this is none of your business”, I continued to press, “but couldn’t we get a temp? I mean, if he doesn’t work out, we can simply say, it’s not working out, and peruse to the next guy on the list.” He got even more angry at my persistence saying, “when I was a minister, I once took a vacation and had a temp for the two weeks. When I returned, it took me years to un-do the damage he had done. He had actually talked badly about the public school teachers and the union…”
At this point, I gave up. I decided that this gentleman was indeed working up an impossible task. You can’t find a person to lead the church that will please everyone. Even Jesus was controversial in his day.
Jesus didn’t walk into the temple and say, “hey guys, this is not nice doing that here. Probably not a good idea…”
It’s not all about pacifism and letting the liberals have their way. Sometimes you just have to take a stand.
What do you think would happen if Jesus were to appear in your church next Sunday and say to people what he says in the Bible?
“A brood of vipers fit for hell”
Given how most churches expect you to be “nice” I think there would be a rush to the pulpit to wrestle the microphone from his hand.
“Tsk, tsk, tsk” we’d mutter scornfully. We’d wag our fingers, reminding him of the supreme importance place on manners and appearances in this holy place.
Mothers would reach for that bar of soap to wash out his mouth, while reciting the unofficial church motto: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.”
“He really should be ashamed of himself.”
Shame is a big thing in the church. It helps keep the newer guys in line. Keeps their heads down, Keeps them humble… supposedly.
Many believe in a soft, supple, always forgiving savior that is always passive and nice. Sermons preached in the many churches today are designed to make Jesus appear always approachable, always calm, and endlessly patient. That’s fiction right up there with The Da Vinci Code. The mild Jesus has more to do with Eastern mysticism than with the Gospel record. He did not remain above it all. He brought both conflict and division needed to shake things up for our own good.
I’m not sure what to do. Leave for a different church altogether, or stick it out and try to facilitate change. I need a true “Bible church” that teaches the actual scripture and doesn’t deviate. But to try to please everyone and be true to the scripture is impossible.