On the theme of Wisdom

I remember in college, filling out those course evaluations - it seemed that my evaluation of the course was always different at the end (after the exam) than it was at any point during the actual course. Now one can make an argument that once the class is over, one can see the whole picture, and evaluate fairly... but one could also say that in the let down from the stress of the exam produced more favorable evaluations for the professor. 

Now luckily for me, I'm not in the education-as-comodity business, and I don't have to set these policies; but I think I've noticed a trend. When I took a job a few years back at Harvard University Facilities Maintenance, I came to the job with years of experience. Not only had I been a landscape Foreman on the North Shore, but I had been the personal gardener on Two large Estates for a total of seven years, and studied pruning and arboriculture besides. I remember running into this attitude; that it doesn't matter what you know, how good you are, or even how you do your job, if you haven't been here as long as us, become as miserable as us, and become like us, you'd better step back. 

I once took a position as a Correctional officer, passed the 80 hour course with the highest grade in the criminal justice academy, but when I got onto the job, I met the same attitude. 

Over time I learned to expect this attitude, I was super fortunate to have a foreman at the construction company I worked for, who was also a great teacher. He understood that if you don't give young "whippersnappers" a chance, they'll just drift from job to job, until they resign themselves to misery. He seemed to delight in instilling a love for craftsmanship in the guys who worked under him, and he had a way of making us feel good about ourselves... A true master craftsman. 

My point in writing this is that we seem as humans to slip into this bad attitude, that "if I had to go through hell, then you should have to go through it too." We call it initiation or hazing if it happens in the military or on a sports team. But what about if it happens in ministry? We tend to make the trials of the next generation just a little harder than our own. We feel justified in giving the professor a better rating, knowing that the class will be harder for the students who follow. 

"Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness" and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile."  So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future--all are yours,  and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God."   (1 Corinthians 3)
"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere."  (James 3)

manifold wisdom

We spend much of our time living in either the past or the future, but in my study last week on Galatians (for the Wednesday Night group) it struck me that there is a certain Zen to what Paul is talking about. If you keep trying (and failing) you condemn yourself... your conscience knows that you aren't living up to your own expectations. It's similar to how Jesus said, hey if you look at a woman and want her, or say to your brother "I hate you" you've already condemned yourself as if you had slept with her, or killed him. On the contrary, Paul is instructing us that it is God who works in us to will and to act (Philipians) to transform our minds (Romans) or as Ezekiel said to give us an undivided heart. 

Stop trying so hard to DO that which you think you should do, and rather BE who you are meant to be. There is an element of live in the present, a certain Zen maybe - be faithful with only that which you HAVE. As I read Ephesians preparing for the next section (on the shorter epistles) I'm struck by the purpose of the Church in 3:10 "His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms" 

We're so busy worrying about what we're not, we've forgotten what we are. 

I know you all knew I'd get arrested some day...

In an effort to increase the public involvement of KBC in the community, I've agreed to help raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association by getting Arrested this Tuesday... The fund raiser works like this: people donate to bail me out, they've set an ambitious goal of $1600, and I've only got a little bit of that right now... This is all sanctioned through the Muscular Dystrophy Association; they're the same people who do the Jerry Lewis Telethon. My thought is that every thirty dollars helps to get susceptible a kid with MD a flu shot, and if I get $800 dollars we can send a special needs kid to summer camp... Big deal right? It is. 

Unfortunately these kids have a hard life, they're body doesn't process protein, and so their muscles waste. Many of them will never run, or play like we did growing up. A week at camp could literally be the fondest memories these people will ever have. You can help make a difference in someone's life. Click on the link on the right to give your support, and help bail me out for good.

Not forgotten

Blogger hasn't had much of my attention recently. Being in a pastoral position, and having Bible Studies and Sermons to prepare, as well as the monthly news letter and such hasn't left me much room for thinking outside of the obvious and necessary. By that I mean that I seem consumed in my daily tasks...which is a good thing, and I'm enjoying it, but I fear that there isn't much for online presence to show for it.

Throughout lent I was wrestling with, and preaching on the basics of the "Gospel" and found myself un-nerved reading Romans 1:16 in a completely new light. Currently we're looking at the subject of individual calling, and purpose in life. Which is an ongoing struggle for me.

But there are a few subjects that really aren't pressing to my congregation that I would like to discuss, and just haven't found the avenue...