Thursday, June 25, 2009

Just Call Me Jeremiah

As part of my year-long goal to read through the entire Bible, I read the book of Jeremiah.  Unlike Isaiah, who tended to rant about destruction and God’s judgment, Jeremiah was more like a real-life Cassandra.  He knew what God wanted, he knew what was going to happen, and still he was persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, and mocked.  Even after everything he said came true, the people still refused to listen to him.  He told everyone later on, when Israel was completely conquered, that if they submitted to the Babylonians, they would live.  Instead, many of them revolted and ended up in much worse conditions than they were in before.
So I have been feeling like that lately.  No, I do not claim to have a direct link to God, other than the link every other Christian has, but that my own advice is not being heeded.  I know, I usually do not dump my own personal crap on this blog, but this time it seems to be reflective of something greater than me.  I have great wisdom and insight into many things.  This is not a boast, it is a simple statement of my gift from God.  While I do not see everything in every possible way, nor do I have God’s eyes, so to speak, I do have great capacity for understanding.
Lately, I believe that my advice is not being heeded very well.  Specifically, the money matters of my own church.  Being on the Servants Council, it is a large part of my responsibility to see to it that staff gets paid and the church pays its operating expenses.  Our church is, by and large, bleeding money right now and we need to cut expenses.  But it is so hard to do so because most people are unwilling to do what is necessary to ensure that the pastor gets paid and the rent gets paid (we do not own a church building right now).
In any case, I may just be trying to slow the bleeding.  Our church may be destined to fade away within the next few years anyway, with or without the things we are unwilling to give up.  Or we may prosper.  God only knows this and I do not claim to know what He has in mind for the church I attend.
But it is disheartening to see people shut you down when you are fairly sure you know what you are talking about.  I know we all experience this from time to time, but I have been getting hit with it pretty regularly.  It is discouraging and something that makes me struggle with resentment and despair.
In any case, I think this is the human condition.  It is a natural tendency for us to not change things we are use to having and we hate to hear that things are no longer possible to do.  With the current state of the economy, where we see a massive contraction that has already occurred (and one possibly on the way), people need to cut back on the things they are use to having.  But in spite of seeing the freight train heading their way, we still insist on doing things that we have always done.
Reality is always hard to face.  Maybe I need to become a bigger jerk than I already am.  Or maybe I just need to back off and let everything crash and burn.  Then, in the midst of the destruction, I can rebuild something better.
God willing, of course.