A few weeks back I shared a blog called “What in the Church is Going On” or something like that anyway. Found myself getting a little frazzled and frustrated with what I saw and heard going on in the church and the leaders of the church. Pulled myself together...took a deep breath and moved on, realizing I have my own stuff to deal with. Then...someone sent me a link to a video...a video of a pastor...Bishop Eddie Long and now a few more titles...and a ceremony that was unlike anything I have ever seen or experienced in my life as a follower of Jesus. Or even as a non-follower! I am not going to put the link out...if you are interested, go to You Tube and look for Eddie Long coronation...you will find a lot of stuff but if you look through the rubble you will find the service where Bishop Eddie is called a king and some other stuff...carried around the platform by four very strong guys as he sits in his big chair.
I only bring this up because it is so confusing to me...so contrary to how I see leadership in the church...I feel like an outsider looking in at a secret ceremony. Like maybe it is a Masonic ceremony where only insiders understand...or me looking at a Islamic ceremony...maybe even a Mormon ceremony. And I wonder, “what are they doing?” As I watched the video I think my mouth was open the whole time in wonder at what was going on...and I also wondered how come the people there were not running out of the building as fast as they could. (listen there is so much more to this story...I would not even attempt to coverall the baggage involved here.)
One thing I have found as you lead is that you are always tempted to believe whatever you are doing is the best thing...the really right thing...the truly God thing. You want to be the guy getting it really right...don’t you? You surely don’t want to be the guy who is so wrong that in the end everyone looks at you and wonders, “How could he get it so wrong?” And I do not want to ever hear these words, “Depart from me....I never knew you...says Jesus.” Hey wait a minute...this is Bill...you remember me...I got it right! So I live in the tension of leading in what I know to be true...not more than that...not less...what I see in scripture to be known and practiced.
It gets hard at times...like being at a family reunion and seeing one part of the family that is acting crazy...maybe too much to drink...or too mean and always fighting...too loud...and people are beginning to stare because of the turmoil and noise...and there you are...seen...you are one of them! You might yell out that you are not really one of them...just kind of related...but a distant relationship for sure...really distant. But you are related...you are seen as one...of them...and them could be...a right wing republican...a wild, chandelier swinging charismatic...a fundamentalist...a gay hater...a conservative...well, you name it...that may be the label handed to you. You love Jesus...that is all you ever wanted was to love and follow and act like Jesus...you did not know what the whole family would look like...or act like. We thought it would be about looking and acting like Jesus...what happened? How did we get here? Don’t you want to yell at our Father and tell Him to do something about our family...correct them..make them act better...make them like me...I mean, like Jesus!
So I am back to...I don’t know what in the world those guys were thinking on that day...why it seemed good to them when it seems so weird to me...not sure why God did not pull the plug on that one. Just pull the plug on the camera or turn the electricity off for and hour or two...PLEASE! No one from that side of the family is asking for my opinion...I would love to give it...and I could do it in a loving manner because I do love this thing called the Church. But no calls...no e mails...so I will go on with the expression of the church God has called me to...and I know to some out there, we are one of the strange relatives...we act a little odd to some of the family...they are not comfortable around us. But it is what I know...how I read the Bible...see the church...I think we are pointing to Jesus more than ourselves...I think we are trying to live more like Him...love more like Him. So maybe that is why, even as I watch this stuff and think it is goofy...kind of give me a sick feeling...and also it makes me cry...and pray...because we are so divided...so disconnected...so not like Jesus...what else could you do?
I also have a challenge to throw out there...this goes out to all you out there that have great titles...Prophet...Apostle...Evangelist...Bishop...whatever your self inflicted title might be...(self inflicted might be a bit harsh...but it is my blog) STAND UP AND SPEAK OUT...IF THIS TITLE YOU HAVE MEANS ANYTHING...SAY SOMETHING!!!! (yes I was yelling...sorry) Use your so called authority or turn your badge in...there now I feel much better...to be honest most of what I have seen around me, as you see guys and gals with spiritual sounding titles, is a competitive world that causes good men and women to strive for titles and forget what the title was for. Bless me clubs who basically say, “I will make you a bishop if you make me a prophet...or an apostle...”I dislike titles...big time...titles equal entitlement on many levels. I don’t even really like being called “Pastor” for the most part, because it can create a division between members of the body...can create levels of esteem, I guess, where one is more esteemed than another. It is what I do...not who I am...it is my role in the church body...but God knows me as Bill...or even His best friend Bill...
Wow! Think I ended a little strong...it is my blog...I have to keep reminding you...but my love for Jesus...His Church causes me at times to say what I am thinking...and I am never saying here, I am right and they are wrong...I am just working out my frustration with parts of this family that make me cringe...