One huge negative compels me to write today. I am sorry because there are positives as well. That one negative is, being expected to measure up to a standard of excellence that is expected of everyone.
There was an ethos to live up to, a vision to achieve. They were “building people of excellence”. An eighty hour work week was the ideal. If people did not like what they seen and heard, to go away. The implication is that we do things our way. A fortress mentality. But, what happens when you inevitably do not measure up, or if you do? And by someone else’s standard. I mean, is this for everyone? And is there guilt at not measuring up? Then, people were asked to submit to the leadership and be “blessed”. This was the final straw. Now, it was becoming controlling, one was being asked to come under obedient submission to the so-called authority. To become prosperous I presume.
But the measure of a church should be the measure shared of Jesus Christ — who loves me not for what else I can do, not for how much work I will do, and not for how many dollars I can make. Prosperity is the impossible standard for many, the domain of the business or company, but they will tell you to think big. For Jesus, the measure of success was not how much the wealthy young man had, but by how much he was willing to follow Jesus. The Christ who does not impose a vision or direction, but asks the question. Where we are free to be ourselves while listening and learning from Christ alone. And one to another share a mutual appreciation and spiritual intimacy because of Jesus in our lives.
I was in the middle of watching a advertisement about sagging skin and the product they claimed would get rid of this ‘physical problem’ under the eyes. It seemed it would alleviate the emotional pain that came with having physical unattractiveness as well. That was never said, but isn’t feeling unattractive emotional? Then put the cream on again and again and make sure you get a good night’s sleep for good measure! That does not solve the emotional side of it.
I was hearing the reviews customers gave about the product and how it solved their problem. I always find reviews in advertisements a little if not a lot ingenuine. How can one prove the review is sincere in a format intended to promote a product? I guess some people feel this way about churches.
So, as I was talking about in my previous post, I have been taking notes on the gospel of Mark. From what I gather, if I remember right, the gospel of Mark is about personal identity. Namely, the identity of Jesus.
The last couple of months I have been reading a gospel. I read a section at a time and take notes which has been productive. It is the Gospel of Mark. Sometimes, one can get this gospel published as a separate book, but mostly it is published in the New Testament of the Bible.
A single gospel is usually intended for outreach I think. That is when an evangelist goes out to spread the gospel with a gospel.
Yet there is a difference between a gospel and the gospel. A gospel in the Bible is one of the four gospels written by four early disciples of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the cumulative message of Jesus Christ in his word and life, but I think the gospel is really centered on Jesus himself, his entire essence that saves sinners and gives life to the oppressed through His Spirit. The gospel is not only his life, but truth. This is outreach material.
This week I decided to tweet some of my impressions and readings of a gospel, this being Mark. I have an exercise book’s worth of thoughts and findings and went back to the start. One of passages I wrote was worth a post. Hence the next post.
Some preachers emphasis confession immediately after sinning, but when did I hear a preacher talk about prayer to the Lord Jesus when one is tempted and praying immediately, so one can avoid sinning? The Lord can help one overcome temptation, the challenge is in a steely resolve to say no to temptation, with God’s help. One may stumble, but one can get up and learn to say no and keep on saying no.