In late August in the summer of 1968 a young civil rights activist took stage March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. He declared a then-radical message of civil and economic equality proclaiming this:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!”
The rest is history… (?)
Yet, bigotry is still very much our present reality; economic inequality is threatening the middle class as the wage gap grows between the rich and poor.
Anesthesiologists or Pastors?
Pastors, we’re the best liars…
For, institutionalized pastors this is where it becomes most dangerous.
Many of us are innately persuasive and if not careful, or held accountable, we can far too easily and unknowingly be reduced to “professional manipulators”. It just gets dangerous when ineffectual well-intentioned white-lies show themselves as substantial misdirections who’s primary purpose is that if manipulation and coercion.
In our American culture, it’s nearly impossible for us as institutionalized pastors to avoid being overtaken by a democratic form of consumerism that far too easily can become olygarchal (at least, when made aware of who and how much congregants are giving or not giving). Far too easily, we end up turning to tactics of fear instead of being driven by love; before we know it, our end goal turns away from Jesus, and towards money, numbers, attendance, and/or quarterly financials…
In other words, our agenda isn’t about what’s good, biblical, or true; our agenda is about pleasing the congregant, investors, and tithers.
It’s this insidious toxin that ever so subtlety creeps into your body; at first, it’s every now and then… until, eventually, it becomes routine; an unhealthy addiction habituated daily.
Outwardly everything is fine and functioning as if nothing has changed. But, inwardly, it’s empty.
I think this is what Jesus meant when he referred to the religious temples as nothing but whitewashed tombs.
I call this, anesthesiological horse crap (e.g. the prosperity gospel; Eurocentric theology; etc.)
Just as not all things that look healthy are actually healthy; not all churches or their theology that sound well and good are well and good.