Apr 03 2012
If Jesus Had a Blog: Big-Time Leaders


(From Brant, an explainer, for those new to the series: The "comments", directly below, are NOT real. They're just my best guesses, if Jesus had a blog, what the comments would look like.)

If Jesus Had a Blog

Man, this has been a tough week. Things are winding down. Good thing, as far as this borrowed Gateway laptop is concerned.  I think it's got about four days left, too.  Everyone else here at this coffee place in Jerusalem has a Mac. I feel kinda retro-cool.

Anyway, there was this crowd today, and all these big-time religious leader fellers.  These guys LOVE being recognized, being significant, being "The Man" and all that.  And people give them the accolades, too:  "Ooh, it's my teacher!  MY leader!" -- that kind of stuff.  So I says (and I'm quoting myself from the New Living Translation, owned by Tyndale):

Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters.  And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father. And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be a servant.

Were they cool with that?  (Snort.)  Uh...no, they weren't cool with that.  I told them that the people who thought they were "all that" now, with titles and what-not, would get humbled, and the humble would wind up being "all that".  That didn't fly, either.

Truth is, these guys get accolades, but you know what?  They just make life harder for people.  I told them that.  

Big news, coming later this week: I'm about to make life a LOT easier for people...

Posted:  Today at 6:32 p.m.


Comments (13)

Well, this doesn't surprise me.  You've been anti-clerical for a long time, ignoring thousands of years of tradition.  This kind of caps it for me.  Not fair.

-- BigBob209

I guess I see where you're coming from, but really:  They're ALL bad?  You've apparently had some bad experiences in the past, and I'm sorry for that, but you don't need to make big blanket statements.

A lot of good comes from these guys, and you can't argue with how big their followings have gotten.  Maybe a jealousy issue...?  I don't know.

-- davec3410

I was there and all I heard was, "Blessed are the cheesemakers"...?

[Edit from J:  Don't take me literally.  I meant ALL makers of dairy products.  BTW, Peter, we've got to rent "Holy Grail" next time.]

-- pete_the_rock

You sure like rocking the boat.  I think you're throwing some good people overboard. 

Some of these guys are our top experts on scripture, and I can't see how calling one my teacher is such a bad thing.  Yes, there are a few bad apples, but what are we supposed to do, stop learning?

You say you, Jesus, are they only real teacher? 

Uh...are you going to personally be in every religious building? 

I bet you won't.

-- vision4life2020

Yeah, I gotta piggyback on vision4life up there.  I usually get where you're going, but we need people in the offices of the teacher or the leader or, in some traditions, "father". 

You've got to delegate, and have somebody have some kind of stand-in status.

 Fact is, you're one dude, and you can't be there every time two or three people get together.

-- terpsfan98

My Pastor has seven books.  I don't see any of yours in our church BookTime CoffeeCenter. 

-- luv_n_grace

This post made me cry.  How dare you.

My husband is our church Teacher.  He is a man of The Word, and there's nothing wrong with recognizing that he is Anointed to be the Leader.   It's not like this is a glamorous position -- he's had to put up with jerks in every church he's led.  Now, he's being called to be the Leader of a different place, we think, and so we're going there, and if they want to act like he's their official Teacher, I don't see the problem with that, and they offer a better health package.

Point is, you're really judgmental.  The real leaders are the servants?  Who's going to be on the church stage?  Why don't you put the volunteer custodian up there, then?  See how many people come to THAT church!

-- deb4213

Why did you say, "You're all equal as brothers and sisters"?  We knew that.  No one believes otherwise.  What's your point?

-- someguyscaredtousehisownname

I think you guys aren't being fair.  Chill.

I think Jesus is only saying here that we shouldn't be Catholic or Jewish.

-- intheword4ever

So teaching the scriptures makes life "harder" for people?  Good.

Studying IS hard.  Keeping the Word IS hard.  Keeping track of the right stuff to do IS hard.

No one said the yoke would be easy.  No one said the burden would be light.

-- cubbies1908

Gee, nice post.  Real well thought-out.

I can see why your Technorati rank is like, twenty-millionth.

-- lifecenterworshipguy

You need to spend some time reading the epistles, apparently.   What Bible College did you go to...?  Are they really accredited?

-- DTS_09

hi jesus i like it when you sai d if i love you then you will take care of me :)

-- horsegurl9

Nov 13 2011
No One But Jesus

"Joe Paterno wouldn't cover something like this up.  I know he would never do something like that."

Really?  You know him?  Really? You know his motivations, whether there's any rift between very public outward actions and inner reality?  Are you able to see into everyone so clearly, or has God just given you insight into the heart of this particular sports hero?

This isn't about Joe Paterno, but maybe it's a teachable moment. 

Maybe it's just me, and I lack the insight others have, but I can't see into anyone's heart.  Not Joe Paterno's, not Billy Graham's, not my own kids. So i'm going to stop pretending. It means I have to admit I don't know everyone's status with God, and it also means I can't wrap my own identity into that of someone else, not even a little bit.  But here's some good news:  

You can actually live like this.


Years ago, the brilliant satirical "news" outlet , The Onion, ran a headline:  "Neighbors Say Serial Killer Seemed Like the Serial Killer Type".  Satire works, of course, because it's precisely the opposite of what we're used to: "I never thought he could do this," or "He was always nice, kinda kept to himself, I never dreamed this," or "They were involved at our church, and good people in the community, and..."  

And...we knew him, but it turns out, we didn't.  And, satire aside, this resonates with millions of people who's marriages have broken up after many years, when, in a heartbreaking moment, even spouses find they didn't really know their loved ones.  Not completely.  (I caught MSNBC's special on the BTK killer recently. He was president of his church board, had a wife, kids, regular job...and raped and strangled people for years. His own family had no inkling who he really was.)

Bizarre as that is, this isn't about expecting the worst in people, or even a warning about the "dark side" of others.  It's about one thing:  Humility about what you and I actually know.  That's all.

We don't like admitting this.  In fact, once we take a stand on a particular issue, or person, that alone is enough to provide psychological momentum to just keep going with him, all the way down, if need be.  A few years ago, I was part of

a church who's very charming pastor - and he WAS a cool guy! - was having multiple affairs.  There was denial from the congregation, a lot of let's-not-look-that-way.  When finally confronted, the pastor strongly and convincingly denied this character assassination, too... until he was handed, by the board, a DVD showing him in his car, making out with a member of the church staff, recorded by a private detective.


Case closed?  Not for his ardent supporters.  Even though he admitted it, they knew he wasn't that kind of guy, you know.  He wouldn't do that.  Video or no, he was a man of God, and really knew his Bible, and...

Happens all the time.  My Grandma Hansen was a Republican, and she defended Richard Nixon.  He was completely innocent.  And when Nixon admitted his own guilt, it did not dissuade her. Makes me think of the words of Matt Thiessen, from "When I Go Down":

When I go down, I go down hard

And take everything I've learned

And teach myself some disregard

But Grandma Hansen wasn't that into Relient K.  

We think we know more than we do. We find our identity in someone else, and we get on board.  Trouble is, if it's not Jesus, we're getting on a train with no guaranteed destination, and a high probability of going off the rails, anyway.  And the eerie thing: The way our consciences work, once we're aboard, we can even see the thing going over a cliff, and we still don't want to jump off. We'll even re-write the story in our minds, doing whatever narrative gymnastics necessary, to make our hero, and therefore us, the real victims.

So don't buy a ticket.  Don't find your identity with anyone except Jesus.  Not even the most charismatic, wonderful-seeming, harmless, funny, charming, person you've ever met.  Not even the most learned, scripture-seeking, powerful-preaching, or stirring worship-leading person ever.  Not even your own family.  Not your children, not your dad, not your spouse.  No one, but Jesus.


"But Brant, I happen to really look up to you, and -- "

I get this from time to time, and I'm blown-away honored, as a Z-list Minor Radio Celebrity.  But you don't deeply know me, not really, try as I might for honesty on and off the air.  I don't even know me, not my innermost motives.  (Once again, check out I Corinthians 4!) My motives are a mixed bag, always.  And yes, I do, much of the time, want to be an example of what it can look like to grow in and toward Jesus, but that's just it - follow me only on the way to Jesus.  Find your identity in Him.

Jesus is your Teacher.  No one else.  

He will not let you down.  Pay attention long enough, and I will.  

Better yet, let's walk together, humbly, toward God.  And all the while admitting we see only outward appearances, while God, and God alone, sees the heart.