In America we’re thinking about Thanksgiving this time of year. My basis opinion says this should definitely be a universal celebration, and I know many other cultures and nations do have a sort of “thanks giving” celebration. Good enough.
Many family who gather together this time of year will have multiple tables to welcome all the guest. Many times there’s even a specific “kid table” and from this comes many jokes about growing up and making to the “adult table”. In my family, this isn’t the tradition, but some years it does work like this. Overall the jokes are there to go along with it, because there’s a simple understanding that somewhere along the line conversation with the adults becomes interesting enough to hang around for, instead of getting bored and going to play outside. I am ever in between. Sometimes I do sit with adults and listen to conversation, sometime I work the knees of my jeans threadbare playing with the kids (afterall they’re only kids for a short time). Sometimes the kids don’t want me to play too. I’m flexible.
I believe in the beauty of growing up. I think maturity (in the proper time) is a wonderful experience that brings a true sense of happiness, joy, and pride (the good kind). I’m a believer.
However I’m also aware that too often in modern society people grow up at the wrong age(s). Some 20something still act childish and like high school hasn’t ended. Other young teens are having babies at ages that are so shocking it’s sometimes referred to as “babies having babies”. Some people in their 40s look out for #1 all the time, and haven’t learned to consider others (a basic kindergarten skill).
I understand the reality that these things happen and can’t just be stopped, but I’d like to propose the idea that our culture suffers from this most deeply because the church endorses it so vividly within their Christiandom borders. Not that Christiandom supports teenagers becoming parents or adults to shrugging social obligations (at least I hope not), but because Christiandom has raised generations of infants and told them the best way to grow up spiritual is to reproduce spiritual. Thus we only end pygmy “spiritual giants”, at best.
Unfortunately I came across this earlier today:
“Just how do spiritual young men and women grow up to become spiritual fathers and mothers? There is only one way – to have children!”
Spiritual babies, having babies. I wish I was making this up! I’m too embarrassed for this author to mention where I found it, because I think the statement in itself speaks volumes about the author.
For the record, I think “spiritual father” and “relational ministries” are shams. In theory, it all sounds good until you keep reading. When reading or researching the opinions out there about “spiritual fatherhood” I quickly see this is a hierarchy scheme. I’ve said it before, but this time I’ll let Jesus say it: “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.”
(Mark 10:42-45 feel free to read the whole chapter, it’s good one!)
Authority, Leadership, Spiritual Fatherhood… these are rumors and reflections of something greater. Why not just choose the greater thing? Servanthood, Christ-likeness, “a ransom for many”.
What’s in a name? What’s in a title? What’s better, a spiritual father or brotherhood? Is there a better? Than why do we need to rule & reign over one another? Why can’t we come along side of each other? Are we so rehearsed with the ways of our society’s culture that we can’t see with Godly eyes or hunger with Heavenly desire? Must we compete over childish things such as self-important titles?
Seems ironic to me that some of the most important things in today’s Christian leadership are things that Jesus corrected his apostles on 2000 years ago. I’m glad we’re progressing. Oh wait…
And if I ask the same questions…
Well you say I ask the same questions…
Well maybe I repeat myself from time to time…
But if I ask the same questions,
And I know I ask the same questions
It’s cause everyone who answers me is a liar
-song: Tie Me Up, Untie Me!
I know I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it a hundred times more, but people, we are not competing here! This is not about practicing proper authority. This is not about submitting. This is about walking side by side. This about looking out for your fellow brethren. This is about being the people God’s created us to be, and not about reproducing a systematized machine-like hierarchy. We follow Jesus even when the modern church & religious systems disagree.
And again I propose that this isn’t just about you and I as the church getting it right, but the very structure of society cannot be corrected if we are not living an authentic example of unity, maturity, and familyhood. Because we are to be the reflection of Christ in this age and because Christ is our perfect example of how God created things to function, if we don’t get this right, no one will ever find a magical formula on down the line. This is an ultimate responsibility.
It’s not about growing out of the kid’s table and becoming an adult with greater status, it’s about being grown up enough to know why the adult table is great and why the kid’s table is also great, and making sure everyone is included in the love we share. Utopian, I know. However, we must strive towards that which Christ is calling us to be, if we truly want to be the people of God and/or see the earth receive His glory.