Tuesday, 16 February 2016

This is my Son ...

Listen to Him!

These words from the transfiguration, and those when Jesus is baptised ("This is my Son in whom I am well pleased!") are two of the greatest statements I know when it comes to affirming Jesus.

The problem is that the people I meet, those who claim to be Christian that is, neatly seem to split into three main groups:
  • Those who do listen to Him (Jesus) and, acknowledging Him as the Christ (His job title)the prayer, read their bibles and try to live as He would have us live (which means taking up our cross, denying ourselves and following Hiim - a topical thought being Lent).
  • The next bunch might listen to Him but they also listen to every TV evangelist and every mega-preacher that's out there. When they consider the words of God to fall short (because of their own attitudes, lifestyles and  the like) they turn to whatever teacher they are following at the time and look to them, repeating the mantras and claiming their promises (rather than the those of God) in the hope that they will magically get them off their behindside and make the dross that is their life turn to gold. Their lives are beset by peaks and troughs and the muttering of, "I do, I do, I do believe in fairies!" OR whatever it is their current spiritual worthy has told them is true.
  • The final group listen to God and to everyone around them with little use of Scripture or reason to temper things. They are tossed by every breeze of opinion and the only consistent thing about their faith is their inconsistency in this area. They wobble along and ask why God gives them such a tough life. Those who know them sigh (or snigger) behind their backs and mutter about them and their life, shaking their heads as another positive start, which is usually accompanied by some new mantra ('God wants you to claim ......; Everything you wants it yours all you need do is ..... ; Don't accept anything less than what you want - you deserve it!' ) appears.  These are the one's you avoid when out shopping.
Is it any wonder the Church gets such bad press?

The flakey people (not just the lunatics as Richard A Rowlands had it) are running the asylum and those watching from the safety of a fallen world see no consistency, little reason and even less opportunity for positive engagement - and so, the keep us (Christians and the collective Church) at arms length.

Many of us, those with dogcollars and pulpits, seem to have given up the fight to bring some consistency in their people, being taken up with the issues of parish share and numbers and the resolution of decline through the putting on of 'Worship Bands' and other crowd-pullers. I end up taking with more venue managers than pastors these days - more concern about footfall and being appealing than preaching the Gospel (sorry, but it is true of the small number who are still trying to 'draw people in').

Whatever happened to preaching and living the Gospel I wonder?

When did that stop working?


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