Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I have enjoyed reading Mike Yaconelli's book called 'Messy Spirituality'. For a while now I've been sharing some of my reflections after reading a chapter or a portion of a chapter...and this one I think hits the 'nail on the head'.
Last time I talked about the blind man who was healed because of his faith. What I would like to focus on was what happened afterward. But before I get started I want to start by talking about what Mike refers to as the 'Kingdom Monitors'. This term refers to those who know the Scripture like the back of their hand, but don't know it in their hearts. He says they are the ones who should start celebrations, but instead are the first to condemn any action outside of what they think is right.
Now, depending on your translation the portion I'm about to talk about is called 'The Pharisees Investigate the Healing'. If you haven't read all of John chapter 9 yet, I suggest you take a careful look. You see, instead of rejoicing in this mans new found ability to see, they grilled him with questions like: 'how did you receive your sight?' After he gave them his answer, they argued amongst themselves-and were divided. Then they turned to the man asking him what he thought about Jesus and he thought Him to be a prophet, but they still did not believe. They even went so far as to ask for his parents and out of fear they told the Jewish leaders to ask their again because 'he is of age.'
I will stop there because the meat on the bone for this isn't just the grilling of the poor man, but the part about how Jesus was doing 'God' all wrong-you don't heal on the Sabbath. What's worse is that in today's church there are many who think that there are those who come to church who have this whole 'God' thing wrong too-not wearing their Sunday best, not cleanly shaven, not quiet during the sermon-you shouldn't bring children to church (you take them to the nursery) and if you have a caugh you should stay home.
Like in Jesus' day...He had it wrong and was considered a blasphemer. And when someone has it wrong in church today-whether it be the pastor, a young adult, or someone dealing with a lot on their plate...there's no celebration for trying in spite of their situation-they're told to 'follow the rules'. Remember those unwritten rules I wrote about a couple blogs back???
I think it's sad that the religious leaders were too caught up in an image or a regulatory type of faith or even a right or wrong way of living your faith. Too often we condemn those living an 'unBiblical' life style forgetting that we shouldn't condone it, but we should redeem it through grace.
You see, Jesus has always righted the wrongs. When they asked him why he hung out with those who were frowned upon by most...He said 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners'.
So the next time we condemn, lets remember that we are all sinners and that through Christ we are all forgiven. Put those you know on notice because I think this whole business has essentially ruined the way those on the outside of Christianity or those who have been marginalized by Christians look at us. It's true we have an image problem...but it's not just on the outside of the church, it's inside as well.


Matt said...

Yeah, I really enjoy how Mike Yaconelli has a way of putting things in fairly simple terms that we've made so complicated. Following Jesus is not about perfection, and it's not about following all the rules. Paul talks about how he was the very best at following the Law exactly, but he was missing something. He didn't have love.

Now this is probably an oversimplification, but when you boil it all down, the Gospel is this; God loves us, He wants us to love Him, and he wants us to love each other. How amazing would this world be if we actually lived like that instead of trying so hard to enforce our rules?

Jeff said...

Exactly! How awesome would it be if we embraced each others differences rather than focusing on the negative perspective of everything? Find what we have in common and build upon that foundation rather than tearing down and not giving another look or a chance for that matter.
Glad you like Mike too. ;) He has amazing insights to the world we've complicated.