He, was a Troublemaker!!
It is the nature of human beings to want to silence those who interrupt our routine activities and understandings. We don't like those who speak up, who go against the status-quo, who refuse to keep quiet, who reject compliance as a way of life. We would much rather shut people down than have them speak up and see.
Jesus gives this man his sight by the way.
There are a new group of Christian thinkers rising up that many conservative, traditional thinkers are very fearful of. They have categorized these thinkers as "Emergent".
I'm not really all that interested in the labels and putting things into categories. It's not the point of this blog. If you want more information on what the "Emergent Church" is, follow this link.
The point of this blog is how people are so quick to be fearful of and shut off new ideas. They label them "false teachers" and say that they are "altering the "word of God". They say that these people expressing their thoughts and dissatisfaction at the status-quo only want to cause "Division"... as if it had never existed before!
God uses all things to bring people to Him. Even "division"... He is THAT powerful and MORE.
PEOPLE call it division when people are having heated discussion or debate. But it ONLY becomes division when people start to divide and kick out and shun and cast off and create an "enemy". THAT is true division. Not discussion or even heated debates.
The New Testament does indeed talk about false teachers and sometimes almost seems to encourage shunning people or casting them off. I've had a hard time with those passages all my life! I've seen, for example, how people like to use 1 Corinthians 5 to remind us that Paul said to "expel the immoral brother from among you!"
Shutting people out is a practice that commonly takes place because people feel the New Testament letters are God's exact words for us to do. When really, I believe, it's a gift from God and a record of imperfect human beings carrying out the Love of Father to all ends of the earth. As I believe the whole Bible is filled with IMPERFECT people, inspired by God, who have done just that. I don't believe they got it all right. Just as I know none of us have!
I do NOT think Jesus EVER would "expel an immoral brother"... He only seemed to expel self righteous Pharisees. If Jesus talked about expelling... it was when people did not have... Love, mercy, compassion... for the "least" of these.
If you read ANOTHER letter to the Corinthians...
(How many letters DON'T we have by the way?)
2 Corinthians 2
Paul is addressing them about this EXACT brother they expelled! Paul does not mention that this man repented or STOPPED having sex with his Father's wife... (maybe this man did, maybe he did not and the couple were still together???)
but Paul said...
Now INSTEAD you should forgive him and COMFORT him, so that he will NOT be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I URGE you brothers to reaffirm your LOVE FOR HIM.
So it almost seems that Paul is sorry that this man is living in such sorrow and that he regrets the ramifications of the initial advice to that church. Maybe the man repented AND Paul repented?
THEN Paul goes ON to say...
The reason I wrote you was to see if you would "stand the test and be OBEDIENT IN EVERYTHING."
hmmmmmm... Doesn't the Bible clearly say that God does not test us? But Paul sure could.
So, was "expelling the immoral brother" God's direct direction for that church and for EVERY SINGLE GATHERING IN JESUS to follow for 2,000 years? OR Paul making a knee-jerk reaction for a new gathering of imperfect people making mistakes and driving him crazy??? Truly, 1 Corinthians had to be written BECAUSE there was so much trouble in that church. "One of you says, "I follow Paul, another says, "I follow Apollos..." and they wanted Paul to play Jesus.
(See the book of First Corinthians)
Paul was NOT Jesus and though he was chosen for a VERY important task and had communication with Jesus for some of the time... he made mistakes just like Peter who denied Christ. Just like you and me.
Isn't not having love and mercy, the issue Jesus seemed MORE concerned about?? So maybe the people who are pushing to condemn other followers of Jesus are the ones who should be expelled?? Not the people themselves, Father LOVES people, but the practice of NOT LOVING OTHERS, shutting them out, condemning them, gossiping about them and then saying "it's what God said we should do"... that is perhaps what should be "expelled"?
I feel it is WRONG for me to say any Christian Thinker... (or any Thinker for that matter) is EVIL... I desperately try to stop myself when I DO say/think things like that. I WILL share my thoughts and feelings about their teachings. That is called discussion. Not division.
You see, I believe that people relate to Jesus in MANY different ways. Heck... I'll go so far as to say that other people in other non-Christian RELIGIONS might be meeting with Jesus and not even know it! (Billy Graham said this too by the way, not that it should matter.) I understand this is a hard one for some people to take. Again, I believe He's THAT powerful... and I'll add THAT LOVING.
Another big phrase that is used in Christendom is "We will know those who are His by their fruit." This is pulled from Mathew 11. Ironically, a chapter which is actually about NOT judging others. I would just urge you to remember what FRUIT really is. Love, Joy, Peace.... etc. Not, "correct doctrine, the things you do or do not do, your language, how you talk about Jesus in the right or wrong way."
The truth is, we're not "fruit pickers" any way. We're only supposed to be fruit bearers... and once you've mastered the fist one, LOVE, then maybe you can go about comparing people's fruit. Hint: You're NOT going to master that one in this lifetime.
I started this blog a few days ago. Not even sure where I was going with it. Interestingly enough, something happened today at the church we attend that really relates to this quite a bit.
Long story short, a person who felt they had some sort of "dirt" over the worship leader, decided to send her some scathing letters. The harasser would watch the sermons on-line and said horrible things to attack. This person ALSO sent letters to other people in the congregation. I guess the letter writer thought our worship leader was too much of a "trouble maker" and could use this as power over her.
Instead of burying things under the carpet, or pretending the incident didn't happen, or asking the worship leader to "step down" for awhile. The Pastor of the church (who has ALSO been marked as rather a "troublemaker") decided to use this opportunity to let the letter writer know that we are a church that doesn't only TALK about Love, Acceptance and Grace... we are one that does our best to LIVE IT.
Here is a link to that day's sermon if you'd like to listen...
This link no longer works.
The worship leader I spoke about went through a divorce and was asked to "step down" by the powers that be.
Irony, since that's the very thing I talked about in this blog.
Apparently "church" doesn't truly like "Troublemakers" unless they are ones that make THEM look good.
I have Hope in "Trouble Makers". The kind that live real and openly and make tons of mistakes and do their best to LOVE and to SEE.
I have Hope in the Chief "Trouble Maker" Himself. Because He got into TONS of trouble for showing Love and Grace to an entire creation!