The consequences of pastoring: My father versus the world.

My brother walked up to the microphone at his wedding yesterday and started talking about my father. What stood out to me was something that Dad instilled in him probably without thinking.

Pete said “I never saw you angry, so I just don’t do angry. I’m very temperate. Because I just don’t know how to do the anger thing”

I heard a brand-new mother talk about how she was reading, what seemed to be, a billion books. She considered parenting so important that every little thing she did around her child had to be checked over with a fine tooth comb. Making sure everything that was being exemplified was good and noble for the child.

The consequences of our actions are huge. They send shock waves across whole continents, like that proverb – the flapping of butterfly wings creates earthquakes else where.

Living in a house of sometimes 70 people with a huge influx of new house mates every quarter, we have to set culture often. When dealing with such numbers living in close knit community, sets of guidelines and the dirty word – “RULES”, need to be set down early in their stay here so that they are blessed and the house is blessed with an honouring, knowing spirit.

If we have a glass of milk set aside for everyone – our kitchen people get stressed out if we started drinking three glasses a day. If we stay up yelling and playing every time I die cds the loudest we can, then not only will those needing sleep not get sleep, others who need sleep but think they don’t may get the idea that “well if others are up, I’ll be up too” Which echos into someone they meet that hears a communication like Chinese whispers that – instead of honouring our household by having noise curfews we can and should in fact be loud all the day. This new entrant to the house hold then accidentally dishonours and works outside of the agreed culture.

If a father beats his wife, or lies to his kids, or refuses to put effort into the the up keep of the house – the consequences of that inject into his kids almost a concentrated dose of disrespect and female dishonour.

I could give more examples but think about consequences of our day. Of our relationships of how we communicate.

And at the centre the consequences of who we are and why we are here?

If we see ourselves as worthless, but we have been told that we are in fact worth a lot, we can easily get confused. The consequences of just the worthlessness is one thing. The consequences of faking worth whilst still feeling unworthy is quite another. Because then the worthless is pushed even further into the depths of our soul.

If we are victorious by our own hand, then we will relate to others in a certain way.

Combined with – our picture of God.

The consequences of which are HUGE!!

In fact the consequences of who we see ourselves to be and who we see God as are insurmountable in importance to understand and get clear.

For the church is a community of these things.

A communal gathering of multiple beings that have a unique picture of themselves and God and the consequences that they bring.

The after effects of a communal agreement of what God and us are would then escalate the power and influence it would have.

I want to share two examples that are nameless but very real:

1. A church group whose members have agreed on:

– Our role on earth is to make sure everyone we know fears eternity in hell and so runs towards the name of Jesus.

– The bible is the only source of communication from God.

2. Another:

– Our role on earth is to be conduits for the holy spirit.

– God blesses those he loves financially.

Not the greatest of examples but I think they will take us down good roads.

Some of the consequences of group one could be, that if communication is literacy based then the leaders are academics who sit around nit picking language and others who aren’t that way are pushed to the stage, the focus on the words, (which is admirable and comes from a heart wanting to know God) will be the focus over relationship. Over looking outward, into needs of those who can’t reed (for e.g) If our role on earth is one of fear mongering – then our picture of God then becomes one of a fear monger.

What happens when we fear someone – what are the consequences of our loving them? Our service of them? Our obedience of them?

Number two could get rid of scripture altogether. Why wouldn’t you when you are getting everything you need from the holy spirit himself? Those who get more things from the holy spirit must make them more spiritual, better then the rest and those who get less could become failures in their own mind as well as others. If God blesses those he loves then the 3rd world must have done something to deserve their poverty and we will let them rot in their rebellion.

In one a sense of nihilism may crop up – if I’m going to a better place then this when I die whats the point of being here?

In two we can easily see a sense of money being at forefront, what we build with that money, and the more we are getting overwhelmed by the spirit the better so why not do that all the time?

So we have many different groups going of many different shapes and sizes of God and his will spreading many different consequences.

And often times we refuse to move on our picture of God because he is the God we worship. We can’t deface his name on the one hand and humble ourselves hugely on the other without the consequences completely changing our lives.

So in the spirit of making the bride of Christ looking pretty – our consequences should be what?

What is it at the essence of our existence that should be what we leave in our path? What we train our kids in? what the earthquake is in the next continent across from our butterfly?
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