Monday, September 3, 2012

Spiritual Superstars

I have what I call spidey-senses.  I don't know if anyone else does - probably so, although they'd call it something different - but when my mind tells me that I'm in danger, I feel a tingling, a prickling inside, something that tells me things are not right, that there's something to be avoided or stopped, that I need to watch it or I'll get hurt.  Or that something is just plain wrong with the whole situation. 

I get it when I feel like I'm being watched.  Or when I walk into a crowd of people (I have demophobia) - or when I hear some dude on the TV talking about the end of the world and starting to set specific dates and knowing that people are going to actually believe that nonsense and send the guy money!! 

My spidey-senses also tingle when I hear people talk about this or that spiritual leader as if there is some sort of special, one-of-a-kind gift this person has.  The statement, "We need to have this person come here or we need to go where he or she is, in order for God to work in our lives (or in our church)," makes my skin crawl.  It implies that the person talking thinks that this 'gifted' person has some kind of corner on God's presence, that ordinary people like us can't get in touch with Him.  

I remember our pastor warning us about this mentality a couple of years back - this "clergy vs laity" idea that is insidious in our religion (and by religion I mean man-made rules)-based church culture.  This is the idea that the clergy (or those 'gifted' people) have the call and the anointing of God on their lives and that the laity (or the rest of us) don't.  The outflow of such a belief is that the laity sits back and lets the clergy do the work of preaching, visiting the sick, and so forth (thus leading to high levels of burnout in the ministry) - all the while thinking only the clergy is qualified to do what God wants done. It also tends to arrogance in the clergy and in laziness (starting to believe the accolades of men), and to subservience and the "herd mentality" in the laity - which inevitably leads to disillusionment when the leader or the "gifted one" inevitably falls into scandal.

Got this picture HERE
I've been speculating about the source of this mentality.  I believe it's a basic insecurity about some folks' ability to have a vital relationship with God that is what's behind this tendency they have to think that this or that person has a "revival anointing" or "prophetic ministry" or "healing ministry."  Or whatever.  

Perhaps it's "Old Testament" thinking - where God's presence seemed to rest on one particular person for a specific period of time for a certain task.  

But when the New Testament came along - that is, when Jesus brought in the New Way and the Holy Spirit became accessible to all believers... every believer not only has the potential but actually IS a priest.  IS a saint.  IS a child of God - not just in the generic sense but in the adoptive sense (the adoption papers signed in blood at Calvary and sealed at the bodily resurrection of Jesus!) 

It is part of human nature to want to fixate on something we can see, on someone we can see, rather than to have a relationship with Someone we can't see.  That's why the human race, in the journey of faith, has always had its superstars: Moses, Joshua, Gideon, David, Elijah, the apostles, and so forth - but these people would have been the first to admit that it had nothing to do with their abilities or their "giftedness" that they were instruments in God's hand to accomplish His work.  No, they'd more likely say that it was God's choice, and God's initiative, not theirs.  That they were just ordinary people and the real extraordinary Person was God Himself.  That anyone could have that relationship with God - and be just as much an instrument in His hand, and that it doesn't take greatness to do that. 

It takes a realization of HIS greatness.  An understanding that HE is the only True Superstar.  That people are merely people, and as such, fallible.  I can respect the office someone holds, yes.  I can recognize that ministers or church leaders have a responsibility before God to watch over me and to give account of their own actions concerning me.  But it doesn't mean that I put them up on pedestals and assume that they have "the goods" and I don't.  Or that I can only fly with the assistance of their spiritual superstar cape. 

From the very beginning of human history, God has invited humans into relationship with Him - even in the time of Moses, that was His original plan.  But the people didn't want that.  They wanted God to speak to Moses and MOSES to speak to them.  They were afraid of that kind of all-pervasive intimacy.  

Am I?  Am I afraid that if I were to embrace God the way He so desires, that I would be consumed? Do I believe it's safer to ride someone else's coattails into His presence?  

Am I willing to worship and to serve only the True Superstar?

No comments:

Post a Comment