If I help you be who you never thought you could ever be – that is good – right? If I give you something you never thought you could have – that is also good – right? If I know you better than you know yourself and make your world a better place that you though it ever could be – that is loving – isn’t it?
I used to think so and now I am not so sure.
If I never thought I could be that “someone” … if I have the “something” I never thought existed … if I am given a “better place” than I have a right to dream of … all of THAT will change me. Not just the being or getting – but the becoming and losing. Becoming who I am not – and losing who I am.
Just like being saved. The Great Commission. The saving sinners. The doing it all for God.
We live in a world of always-on, a world a digital-media with global reach, a world of keyboards that transcend the need for face-face contact. It is the better place our forefathers (and mothers) could only dream about. It is a gift we never we wanted or needed. And it has changed us – and continues to change us.
Now AI and driverless cars. Now travel to Mars. Now space flight for tourists. Now superbugs resistant to all known antibiotics. Now global resource-denunding at a rate faster than ever before . Now the right to have a family after a successful career. The right over life itself.
We are not good at being given stuff we never knew we needed or wanted. We have the habit of asking for more and more and more. And with every “more” comes yet more “gimme gimme gimme” – evermore “I have rights – me myself I!”
And I see “church fashion” changing like very slow “fast-fashion” – from the high church traditional to the low church anything goes – from the handful of aging worshippers to the acclaimed mega-churches column inches – from the this to the that and around and again – always and inescapably the “fashion” is linked to numbers – the more the better – obviously! The commandment of “The Great Commission” funding mission and motivation in all shapes and sizes and across borders and cultures.
The Great Commission apparently an addition rather than an attributable quote. An addition that suits us fine. Makes the numbers (and money and power and politics) games a Holy Commandment. Makes “making people better than they ever they could” an obligation of duty of service to God Almighty.
And yet …
Burnout of clerics remains a massive issue. Hidden abuses of power and privilege still unearthed. Divisions and rifts amongst churches result in compromise of the correct “bible”. Man is still first in the spiritual hierarchy we can’t do without. And institutions qualified in God are a control mechanism for all of that. Because we all love a celeb whether spiritual or secular. We all want to be a celeb even if just for fifteen minutes.
I wonder – if Jesus walked today – whether much would be different from the Bad Old Biblical Days. The days of conspiracy theorists, of fake news, of alt this and alt that, of wars and power struggles both armed and political. A world today yearning for “Him to come back and make it all better” just as in the Good Old Biblical Days. A world today veering from this popular opinion to the next. A world too easily written-off as a world of sin and extinction. A train of thought not too dissimilar to the Old Biblical Days when Jesus turned up and said Love is the Greatest – forget the rest – Love IS the greatest!
And yet we quickly forgot that and turned back to “the rest” – just as in the Biblical Days.
I am not a fan of the Great Commission whether “real” or added. A commandment like that is “the rest” and too easily abused in our preference for “the rest”. Too easy to be blinkered – to be handing out spiritual sweeties/candies – in the taught expectation of “conversion numbers”. A spreadsheet of investment and return I can take to the Accountant in the Sky we call God.
I Am. The Greatest of These is. Meet me where I Am.
That’s the bit we prefer to set aside in favour of the commandment and numbers stuff.
And the best bit –
We can all make that – “the rest” stuff – biblically correct!
(if we study enough)