Something to think about…

I was giving some thought to the subject of preaching in the local church…how a vast majority of the time, the "pastor/teacher" holds him/herself up in their secret room for time alone with God and the text.  I’ve been thinking that out of that time spent emerges the "sermon" or Word from God for the congregation…I’ve been thinking that literally all of that time, the prevailing hermeneutic is individualistic.  Unfortunately, the prevailing hermeneutic of the text itself is community oriented…in other words, the Word of God is always interpreted in the context of community.  For a vast majority of us, we hold on to an Enlightenment "technique" or "value" of the sermon as the product of the religious expert to share with those who have little, if any, of the expertise or superior knowledge of the pastor/teacher.  It is a "one up/one down" paradigm that causes an insidious codependency upon the preacher/teacher to constantly bring the "goods" that only he/she has access to.  I don’t know…I’m working out in my mind and heart so much of what it means to have the community OWN the role of exegete and hermeneute…we have got to find ways to not only lift up textual/biblical values of community but we have got to also find ways to challenge faith communities (especially here in the West where the "expert" role is so often adhered to and underscored in praxis) to OWN the process of experiencing and working the power of the text/story without the need for the expert.  Until we deal with this, we will continue to hear the phrases, "I’m leaving because I’m not being fed" or "this is pastor you fill in the blank Church", or "what does the pastor say about that…"   Our "clergy-centricity" is not only killing faithful ecclesiology and missiology but it is killing the faith community’s opportunity to own the story of faith that the bible so incredibly illuminates and reveals.  As I said, I’m working this out…what do you think?

2 thoughts on “Something to think about…

  1. My daughter-in-law Megan chimed in here:
    I hear what you are saying…..however, I do believe that God has gifted us all to play different parts in His church. Some are gifted to be teachers and I don’t see anything wrong with those people using their
    gifts to glorify God in teaching people His word. I know that without the amazing teacher/pastors that I’ve had in my life I wouldn’t be where I am today in my faith. Sometimes, I feel like things are being
    looked at from a very narrow perspective and in that we limit in our minds what God can do with broken sinful people who are just trying to serve Him with our gifts when we do that! We DO need to be examining the word together as community and on our own with the Lord, but I don’t think that there is anything wrong with a pastor/teacher who is submitted to the Lord and His will (as much as he can as a sin-filled human)
    using his gifts to teach others who may not otherwise pick up a bible. Remember, faith in Christ is a process and a journey that we are all on whether we are saved or not. I believe every person is on some sort of journey to come to know Jesus and they may
    meet him best by attending a traditional church with a pastor and everything! God is BIG and he will use any gift we bring humbly before Him to His glory!!!

    You asked…..and those are my thoughts!


  2. My son Aaron threw his hat into the ring with the following:

    One of the big practical problems that I see with a lot of “community
    centric” church model is the fact that a majority of people need to be led.
    Jesus calls us sheep, and as you observe history, observe present, you see
    that over and over again people are led. When we start to defer everything
    to community, forward movement seems to almost cease. Even the
    “communo-centric” first century church (as much as we know about it) had a
    leadership structure. Certain people were in charge of certain things.
    Paul of course had a few friends that he was most likely wrestling through
    ideas with, but in the end, Paul was the one who spoke in front of thousands
    at Ephesus. On Pentecost, Peter was the one who spoke (along with others)
    but it wasnt a 3000 person discussion group where people argued with Peter
    about the validity of the resurrection.

    To use the mechanized and overtly modern pciture, I practically see people
    acting different roles in a body. Somewhat like a giant clock or other
    machine. Each has their own purpose and I think where a lot of the
    celebrity culture comes from is not acknowledging the people who od the not
    so public things. Nathan may have been the youth pastor, may have gotten a
    lot of the face time, but he would be no where without the Laura
    Grandfields, Victoria Verbooms, Rafer Smiths. All of those people rarely
    got the glory, but were a necessary part of the picture.

    Dad, you are a gifted communicator. You are for more blessed in that area
    than myself. but, there are things that I do much better than you.
    Everyone has a part to play, everyone is a member. Each people do different
    things. I think one of the big roles of community is to keep the thought
    fresh in mind that people all have their role. when the public speaker
    neglects to be in community with the janitor, and only starts to hang out
    with other public speakers then certain humility is lost.

    Well, those are some musing from the drug hopped up son. Hopefully they
    were understandable.

    -the kid


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