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).
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?