The absence of getting it


Years ago I remember my Dad getting mad in a quiet “sighing” way. Some event he had attended was reported in the local newspaper. And, as we all do when something of which we are part makes “the news media”, he eagerly digested the news inches as well. I remember this one because of Dad’s reaction and his “it was nothing like what happened”. I guess it was some church stuff.

”While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, ‘How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.” David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?’ And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.” Mark 12:35-37

This morning the last sentence is “where it’s at” for me: “And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.”

What else was Jesus teaching, what else did He say that “didn’t delight” the (large) crowd? What other stuff did the “large crowd” not digest quite so enthusiastically? I want the full transcript – not just Mark’s take on the whole thing – yes it is “spirit lead” this bible stuff – but at its heart are still some very imperfect human beings – just like me and you – I want more than our static edited version of Jesus highlights.

Why? Because of what we tend to do with it:

Scribes = Satan … Delight = Division. Because two wrongs do not make a right. Because more and more these wondrous words we call The Word seem to be ammunition for an eternal enlightened dogfight. And – for centuries more than – two thousand years and counting … we seem to delight in kicking the shit out of God (all in defence of our discernment and “delight” in the God whom we define).

So “And the large crowd was listening to him with delight” becomes a template for today.

Bums on seats – we need bums on seats. Fire in our bellies – we need fire in our bellies to go disciple. Who you going to convert – go find them go get them – and don’t come back without them. And we give that approach various labels and stereotypes – but it underpins almost all this “God stuff” in one way or another. Just depends which version you hold as truth.

I have worked in sales companies almost my whole life. Because if companies do not sell (whatever it is they produce or service) they cease to exist. Sales targets, incentives, leads, hot leads, cold calling, closing the deal, high five, bonuses, company jollies, sales training, ongoing professional development, qualifications, track record, monthly reviews, buzz in the office, are you pepped up? Let’s sell sell sell!

It pays my mortgage. It funds ours living. As a “back office support” person I miss out on a lot of the goodies. I also miss out on a lot of the bullshit. And I have some frustrations with this “gloss” and “in your face” culture. The “you are only as good as your last deal” mentality.

What is the alternative? A company going nowhere, a company that lurches from month to month never sure if it will survive? A company I cannot rely on to pay my mortgage, fund our family’s living, cannot plan any holidays or big expenditures because I have no confidence in our financial future?

I could take the piss out of sales people (and I have). I could call that humour (and I have). I could respond to “boring back office” stereotypes thrown from the “front office” (and I have). I could despair at the absence of knowledge in the “front office” of all the processes needed to deliver (product/service) to our clients (and I do).

Yet …

What does that gain me, them or anyone else? Other than “us and them”. Other than the absence of trust and relationship. Other than other (potential) clients observing an “unhappy company” – a company probably best avoided. So sometimes I have to grit my teeth and smile. Am I being shallow? And are they being shallow when they grit their teeth and smile at me?

Over the years I see more and more value in some of this “shallowness”. Not as the “whole” of relationship, but a necessary part to relationship. Because truth is fine and dandy – a good thing to be and live. The problem I see more and more is “whose truth”?

“And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.” Go Jesus! Kick the shit out of “them”! We hear you! We are on your side! We “get it”!

And this morning I read these words and ponder ….

How does that response do anything other than prove “the absence of getting it” at all?

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19 thoughts on “The absence of getting it

  1. “How does that response do anything other than prove “the absence of getting it” at all?”
    Jesus’ whole ministry seemed to be making sure that people didn’t get it! His parables,especially. I love the insights here.

    • Good morning Mel. Jesus’ whole ministry (the more I ponder) seem too simple to get easily. Love. (but how). Love. (but where). Love. (but who). Love. (but we need direction, criteria, objectives, mission, tuition, time, tell us how). Love. (yeah we get that bit – but ….)

      Thank you. And I have no criticism of anyone “not getting it”. It is taking me decades and decades!!

  2. Paul you have one of the most kind, loving, compassionate hearts I have ever known or seen. I truly see Him in you. Thanks to you I could see the Lord has been here with me loving through all the hard things in my life. To me you love like Jesus loves no judgment, accepting, open, and gentle. The way you reach out to scarred and scared amazed me. I have always wanted to say and reach out to others in the past, but was always afraid of saying the wrong thing. But now I see that saying nothing is just like saying the wrong thing. And you showed me how to love like He loves. I wanted you to know that if this has anything to do with what I wrote about talking down to others instead of talking to them only had to do with you in that, that is exactly what you don’t do and it is exactly what people like myself who have been through hard things need. A friend that see them, validates them and loves them right where they are. To me you have truly been His hand and feet. I am grateful I have learned so much. I wanted you to know that either way. ((hug))

    • Denine – thank you. Words like this trouble me some. I will always see a different me than others. That is true of all of us. Yet words like yours are precious. Rare and precious. You have reached out – you have been fearless – and you have touched me. Deeply. The giver gets and the getter gives. Sounds a lot like Love! Thank you more than I can express. 🙂

  3. You know, Paul, your honest and transparency is what makes your light shine so brightly. You humble yourself enough to simply say exactly where you are at any given moment. You let us see you, warts and all. A human servant of Christ with raw emotions living in the ever present question of unconditional love.

  4. I have had moments of desperation when I wanted nothing more than for someone to see and believe in Him exactly the same way I do. Now I sense Him telling me to do a lot more listening, and a lot less proving. I believe His Spirit is at work, interceding even when we don’t get it or understand where each other is coming from. We just have to keep praying for His Love to flood our hearts so that we can pour it out on others…even in the absence of getting it. I always enjoy reading your thoughtful, spirit-filled words 🙂

    • “Now I sense Him telling me to do a lot more listening, and a lot less proving.”
      Julie, what a fab comment – and that sentence really grabbed me. Thank you!
      O live that phrase “proving it” when applied to dough/bread making. How all the work of mixing and measuring and kneading happens – then the dough is put to one side and “does what it does” – and no one can make it happen faster or better.
      “Now I sense Him telling me to do a lot more listening, and a lot MORE “proving”.”

      🙂

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