Friday, January 12, 2007

The Bigger The Smile....

Jared of Thinklings:

At the Passion 07 Conference, John Piper, one of my favorite writer-pastors, said in one of his messages, "Sometimes God kicks our ass."

Now he's apologizing for it.

The apology is very good, and it is a testament to the sort of man/Christian/pastor Piper is. But I also think the controversial statement was good too. I'm a fan of the control of one's tongue. I'm a fan of self-control. The lack of both is one of the (several) things that got my church's ex-pastor the boot. But I am so, so, sooooo weary of mealy-mouthed, pussy-footin', beat-around-the-bush ministers. I'm not talking about cussing or being abrasive or being rude or controversial. I'm really not. (Trust me, I'm not.) I'm just talking about speaking plainly and, most of all, truthfully in a world that is used to buzzwords, catchphrases, spin, and plain ol' malarkey.

Amen to that. The Church often encourages the development of pastors who walk about 24/7 with dopey grins on their faces, babble emptily about football, and tell the same tired old sermon jokes that never fail to remind me of the 48th Rule of Acquisition:

The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife.

A proverb that I have found in life to be rather true. I want a pastor who's friendly, but I also want a pastor who is, above all, authentic. Jay Voorhees talked about this at the Congress on Evangelism. [some] Parishioners really appreciate a pastor who is not forever wearing a mask over his face. They want a pastor who has a passion for something other than appearing harmless.

Well, some do, anyway.


Anonymous said...

That'll preach!!

Anonymous said...

I remember reading a Christian magazine years ago and a pastor commented, "Wherever the Apostle Paul went, riots broke out. Wherever I go, they serve tea."

I think we need more dangerous pastors. The Rev. Milquetoasts may soothe little old ladies, but they don't change the world.

Brian Russell said...

The Church desperately needs articulate, passionate, revolutionaries to lead God's people into mission.

It is way past time for professional clergy to acquire the courage to lead.

the reverend mommy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
the reverend mommy said...

Hey, I love the rules of aquisition!

I think Lakewood's rule is "Expand your franchise or die." That's the 45th rule, if I remember correctly.

Anonymous said...

Pussyfooted preaching is just that. If a preacher cannot make room for the Holy Spirit...they've got no business preaching. My two cents worth.

Hat's off to the bold who preach with the authority that comes from above...and within. And "grrr" to those who don't.

Eight Iron said...

Ah yes, yet another example of the vulagrization of our culture, even in the pulpit. People can get that kind of language any day at school, at work, or on any of 100 cable channels. Can't we have one place where a man or woman of God models for us the high road? Shame on Piper for dipping to that level in the first place, but kudos that he was man enough to apologize for it.

P.S. to Mark Winter - The "little old ladies" comment is nothing but thinly-veiled ageism.

Anonymous said...

Authenticity is an issue for all of us - not just pastors. Why do so many of us feel that we are our 'real selves' somewhere other than church?

Maybe we don't have the courage to be so honest and vulnerable yet - and that includes pastors. Or maybe it's lack of confidence in God's promises that makes us so meek.

Anonymous said...

This post reminds me of reading Bishop Willimon. He tells many stories about the need for ministers who "get down behind" the Bible and preach what it says.

I don't recall him ever citing the Rules of Acquisition - maybe he's more of a Klingon poetry kind of guy.

I've been a a few churches, though, where the minister got chased out of the charge for what he thought was good, bold preaching. Maybe that is as it should be. A church that can't hear the word boldly preached shouldn't have a preacher who can preach it.

Of course, sometimes what a preacher thinks is good, firm Biblical preaching is just wrong-headedness wrapped up in zeal.

John said...

John Wesley got kicked out a few pulpits in his time. Three in one day, as memory serves.

Anonymous said...

P.S. to Mark Winter - The "little old ladies" comment is nothing but thinly-veiled ageism.

Sorry I wasn't being inclusive...let me include little old men, too.