Shut up! Stop talking about me!!!

shut-up-fool

Sometimes a story really gets under my skin. In the last couple days I’ve come across three separate news stories about powerful men seeking to silence critics.

The first story that caught my eye was about Dave Ramsey.

The second story was about Mars Hill and Pastor Mark Driscoll.

The third story was about Peoria mayor Jim Ardis.

Powerful people have a way of silencing critics. It is tragic when people use power, influence, and wealth to mute those who raise valid concerns and criticisms. This is nothing new, but that doesn’t make it any less tragic…

Or wrong.

I can’t speak to Jim Ardis, I know very little about him, but I do know a bit about Mark Driscoll and Dave Ramsey. Both are Christian men, leaders of their community. Yet the way they are handling things goes against a biblical view of leadership.

But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)

The idea that a leader would try forcibly to silence critics and maintain an iron grip on all under him doesn’t seem to fit the general direction Jesus is trying to take his disciples.

I understand that there are always two sides to every story. I understand that a news article may not give the whole picture. I hope and pray that these situations are not as bad as they appear to be. My concern is that they are just as bad, if not worse.

Everyone who does anything is going to receive criticism. Shoot, I get criticized for things I haven’t even done! (ask me about the latest rumor sometime and we’ll laugh together – or cry?)… And, while we cannot control what others say, we can control how we respond.

These men have responded poorly.

As Christians we can do better. We NEED to do better.

Do You Have a One-Sided Jesus?

One-Sided Jesus
One-Sided Jesus

Yesterday I was having a conversation with a guy who blogs about Christianity and spirituality. To be honest, he has some very angry and bitter feelings towards Christianity, so most of his writing is why churches, pastors, and Christians in general are doing it wrong. Instead of being like Jesus we’re too focused on preaching at people. Jesus listened and served. He said, “Jesus was called the good shepherd, and shepherds are not preachers.”

While I agree that there are many “preachy” Christians out there who care more about the sound of their voice than the people to whom they speak, this man has really missed the totality of Jesus. Yes, Jesus cared about people. He listened to people. He served people.

Jesus was a really nice guy.

That’s where a lot of people stop.

But Jesus was so much more than that. He cared. In fact, he cared enough to tell people that it was time to change. He was a good man who served others, but he was a preacher as well. Yes, Jesus was called a shepherd. People also called him Rabbi (teacher) because he was known for his speaking.

Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:14-15)

In the famous story where Jesus prevents an angry crowd from stoning a sinful woman, Jesus doesn’t just come to her rescue – he sends her away saying:

“Neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”

It seems Jesus was a pretty balanced guy. He believed in serving people. He believed in meeting people where they were and loving them as they were. But that’s only one side, and a one-sided Jesus is an incomplete Jesus.

He also called people to repentance. He called people to change. He called people to faith. A complete picture of Jesus must include BOTH his actions as a servant-leader and his words as a preacher and teacher.

It is this complete Jesus that ministers to us in our brokenness – we are loved as we are and for who we are. But it is this complete Jesus that loves us too much to let us stay the same – he calls us to move on and leave behind our old ways.

Anything less and you’ve only got half the picture. And those who live with half a Jesus focus too much on love and service on one side or repentance and change on the other. Both extremes are inadequate to the rich character of Christ.

Embrace the fullness of Jesus.

Related Posts:
No Touchy! Though We Shudder, Jesus Touches the Untouchable
If You’re Lost and Feeling Far Away