Please try to remember that the things I say in these musings are things that I share from my own personal experiences....many of them from my failures..... time and time again......two steps forward, then one step backwards....all of my life in God. There is no instant anything in the Kingdom of God. It takes time to grows up. The things I share, are out of a broken heart about my failures, and I share them in hopes that someone will grab some little handle on truth that will propel them further into God and all that He has for you.
I refuse to speak about things that I have not personally experienced....not any more. I use to.....but no more....no more doctrine spouting, theory proclamations, no more laying guilt trips on people, manipulating people..... no more!
When I come against some thing like the clergy/laity thing or the titles thing..... or any other thing I say, it is out of having been there/done that!
I quoted Mt 23: 6f in my posting yesterday. I particularly enjoy Eugene Peterson's rendering that not only brings vs. 6 and 7 into our culture in his paraphrase but it is such a beautiful description of me personally when I was part of the Clergy:
"They (Philip) love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called 'Doctor' and 'Reverend.'" Ouch.
We love the titles, the adulation, being somebody! Let me drop the we and simply say I loved it......and I am thankful that the Holy Spirit convicted me of this sin and I repented.....receiving yet once again His marvelous forgiveness.
I brought this subject up at a clergy meeting several years back, where we were studying this particular section of Mt 23 together, asking the others how come we continue to use titles when it is so clearly forbidden by scripture. I gave my own testimony of loving it all....the place of honor, the chief seats, my place in the hierarchy, the adulation, the respectful greetings, hearing my title spoken, seeing it on the envelope in my mailbox, yes...... actually thinking I was just maybe a little bit better than those poor uneducated ones - the laity........loving being called Pastor, Elder, Leader, Reverend..... Do you know what I was told. "
Oh we don't need those things. It is only for the people.....(translate idios?) They need to learn to respect the position. Position? What position? Who made it a position? God gave leaders as gifts, not as positions......as gifts to serve His people, not lord it over our people. When did they become ours? When did He every say anything about hiring Clergy to have a relationship with God instead of having our own. He did say something about caring for His people for sordid gain.......and never said they belonged to us!
Servant leadership was lost many, many years ago. I pray it will return.
Perhaps it will start again today......in you!