Monday, March 16, 2015

The Institututional Guys

When Jesus shows up in the room, the church's institutional guys go beserk.  When He shows up, everything nailed down seems to come lose.  He does not play by the rules.  He has no regard for the power systems of the church, or the religious power brokers that maintain the religious status quo.  It was that way when Jesus went into the Temple.  Seeing the abuse and exploitation, He literally drove out those who had made the holy place a place of commerce instead of a place of prayer.  It was at this point that any toleration of Jesus by the Pharisees disappeared.   Prestige seekers and power brokers have no place for Jesus in their world.

What was true then, unfortunately, continues to be an issue for the church of our own day. The church of our day has two faces.  One is the Kingdom face which concerns itself with Christ centered spirituality.  The other is the institutional face which concerns itself with self-preservation.  Leaders of the institutional church are threatened when Jesus shows up with an agenda that threatens theirs.  To compensate without appearing irreligious, these institutional leaders lead the church down the road of getting things organized, creating a structure, and raising funds to give support to what some might be speaking of as the holy breaking into our midst.  The one thing impossible for leaders of the institutional church is to simply wait and trust in God to do things according to His plan and sense of time.  Instead, they hurry in and take control and make sure that everything is running as they perceive it should. 

Those Pharisees trusted not so much in God as the systems they had created which enabled them to be in control of what God was doing in their world.  We trust too much in ourselves, our creative powers, and the structures we have allowed to give our life meaning. One can only wonder where Jesus would lead the church today if He came and turned all our religious systems upside down.  Of course, there would also be the possibility of a second crucifixion.

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