Source - Shame

Tonight I feel decidedly unspiritual. I am angry, not that my feelings really matter. My best friend here in Richmond was "out-sourced" yesterday. Honestly, there is nothing very elegant or appropriate about that. He was good, his management was not good. Decisions were made above his and my paygrade. Funny, I am more irritated at the people that somehow survived in that group than I am about the ones that are lost. How can managers who are providing basically no value remain, when the star performers are somehow considered expendable. We all know the answer of course. Politics and alliances. Macchiavellian alliances rule the day when people begin trying to "not get voted off of the island".

Decisions are not really made based upon value. In the end, it comes down to who knows you and who will protect you.. and maybe even more importantly.. Can they protect themselves long enough to protect you. Management in the 21st century. Is it ultimately about staying in the game and maintaining your passion? Can you stay employed, and not become numb, all of the life siphoned out of you.. a day at a time.

The Institutional Wraith is alive and well, whether in churches or in corporate America... Funny, schools and churches are probably even worse, because they somehow pretend that they are not using up their staff members/teachers. At least corporations come right out and admit that they are basically using up people's life energy, but at least there, those "associates" are being paid farely well.. That isn't really an excuse.. but it somehow mitigates some of the abuse.. Adults can't really complain when they sign these Faustian deals... Teachers and ministers deserve soooo much more than they receive.

Questions. Do you realize that staff ministers are probably some of the most educated and under paid contributor's in today's workforce. Master's degrees, PhDs, years of personal investment to a higher calling.... They love and adore their congregations. They invariably sacrifice their own families for the "good of the church". Right or wrong, they give their all to their congregations, but when the chips are down.. how many congregations focus on all that those staff ministers did.. VERY FEW.. they tend to listen and react only to complaints.. When the good stuff occurs, the "senior" pastor takes the credit. Church is no different than companies... They are largely wraiths.. This overblown institution is not "ordained", it isn't holy, it is barely even functional these days. The biggest thing going these days is a focus on defining "purpose". Funny, Jesus said it pretty simply.. "love one another", "feed my sheep", that is pretty simple.. We should just DO IT.. not try to justify our own agendas in deeply complex theological doctrine...

In our world successes yield CREDIT. Who gets it?... God.. of course not.. the people who did the work.. of course not...The management gets the credit...because they were "in charge". Yeah right.. Step back for a minute and think about who is really in charge. Cecil once said in a memorable sermon, that just when we thing we are "in charge" .. that is usually when God gets our attention. Sadly, it is usually in a hospital, or a funeral. If we had given up the burden, and along with it.. the credit.. wouldn't we all be better off. I think so.

Back to the institutional wraith... Satan is effectively using today's church to separate huge segments of the population from God. By supporting the church's unwillingness to change/adapt, Satan ensures that our world's best and brightest are consistently alienated from the population and support structure that they need to help them discern and fertilize their spiritual desires for relevance and their innate desire to seek out God. Satan is separating sheep from the flock so his wolves can run them down...and he is scarily good at it.. Even the church's themselves are largely deluded..Their exclusionary, club mentality is now so commonplace, that they don't even feel bad about it any longer..

I assure you, If Jesus were here right now.. he would not be a member of the club. We have effectively "outsourced" our belief system. We as individuals no longer take ownership for our own thoughts.. It is easier to go listen to the preacher, turn on the TV, or just do what everyone else is doing. We let everyone else tell us what to think, how to act, what to say... Shame on us all.. I thank God for his Amazing Grace. Lord, Jesus, Christ, have mercy on us.

Rev. 3:13-21 Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation: “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.


Anonymous said…
A sign I saw in front of a church comes to mind "Give Satan an inch and he becomes a ruler". Asking for God's strength is really the one and only thing that can get us through all we have already endured and will face in the future in this life.
A friend sent me this modification of Psalm 23: (for the work lace) The Lord is my real boss and I shall not want. He gives me peace, when chaos is all around me. He gently reminds me to pray and do all things without murmuring & complaining. He reminds that he is my source and not my job. He restores my sanity everyday and guides my decisions that I might honor Him in all that I do. Even though I face absurd amounts of email, system crashes, unrealistic deadlines, budget cutbacks, gossiping co-workers, discriminating supervisors and an aging body that doesn't cooperate every morning, I still will not stop--for He is with me! His presence, His peace and His power wil see me through. He raises me up even when they fail to promote me. He claims me as His own, even when the company threatens to let me go. His faithfulness and love is better than any bonus check. His retirement plan beats every 401k there is! When all is said and done, I'll be working for Him a whole lot longer and for that, I bless His name!
Anonymous said…
I am struck by your comments because they so closely resemble my feelings at this point in my life. I grew up in a was my life, the people were my family...i loved the people in it and I loved the building because of the comfort and peace it represented in my life. I felt so close to God; even pondered being a missionary once. As an adult I have struggled with finding my way in the church. In college I joined a group of other Christians who met each week in small group bible studies and in large services...but after about a year I left the group. Now out of college I have managed to join and leave 3 churches in my area...I spend hours wondering what has happened. How could I…a believer in God, a good person, a loving person, someone who wants so badly to feel close to God, not find a way to fit into the church? Why is it I spend most of my time there feeling isolated from everyone else…I can’t connect with them because I cannot be myself. Let’s just keep it at….I am probably one of those people that some in a church might look down upon (most likely out of a lack of understanding or willingness to accept that there are people different from themselves…but not so different really!) or feel as if I can’t possibly be a Christian because of the direction my life has taken…Like you I feel anger…anger about the fact that I am not embraced and invited in…anger about the fact that I probably behave more like a Christian in my daily life than many who fill the pews of churches each Sunday…It is so simple to me…love one another…do not judge…some will say…keep looking…you will find a church…I don’t think they understand…it is not just the church searching…I am hurt and disappointed by what I believed religion to be!
Churches most definitely have established a “club” mentality…I have seen it, felt it…Part of the problem comes from my inability to stand up for myself and join the club whether they want me there or not...but I am weak…I don’t seem to be able to fight the “machine”…so I don’t go to church regularly and I am not as faithful in my heart as I was when I was a kid….and my life suffers because of it…so I agree…SHAME on us! My question then becomes…how does one strengthen their relationship with God if that process does not come naturally to them…and if the church can’t seem to play its role?

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