As the pastor of a church I realize the tremendous responsibility of providing Bible instruction. Therefore, I usually choose to teach an informal, intergenerational study during mid week. This year, however, since we are walking on the ground floor of small group ministry I felt the need and call to make this my primary eduction focus. I plan to lead a small group at Danny and Lori Glenn's home starting this Wednesday night at 6:00p.m.
Lori and Danny graciously opened their home in spite of their overloaded schedules so that we might grow in our faith and love for one another. I do plan to teach Bible study at a later date, and will give you the heads up about it in the future.
We love knowing something. Knowledge often catapults us higher than those who know little to nothing about the issues of the day. Yet, in our selfish quest for domineering advantage we play loose with the facts. I do it. We all do it. Thinking and gathering facts as Joe Friday used to say, "Just the facts Maam," requires painful diligence and often challenges our philosophical system. That hurts. I believe we as an American culture, need to understand our opponents, in particular those who mold cultural norms. This may only begin to happen when we take President Kennedy's advice, so compellingly issued at the Yale University commencement in 1962, to heart:
For the great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie—deliberate, contrived, and dishonest—but the myth—persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
I used to witness Kennedy's enemy at work in the church during my early years as a pastor. Many a good church youth group received the judgement of hell (angry zealots) for snubbing God's word and holding dances. Only problem, nowhere does the Bible condemn dancing. Cultural religion may-not Scripture. But, those who lived by myth, usually the sincere and flawed pronouncements of their social relations, affectively embraced a "prefabricated set of interpretations." This painful, exhausting need for discomforting thought, requires work not intended for the slothful or for the fainthearted. Laziness has tragically broken many a friendship and church for stupid reason at best. Perhaps the Apostle wisely offered this directive in context of the above:
but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; (IPeter 3:15 RSV)
Notice this act of preparedness suggests a needed prerequisite of sanctification. The idea carries with it separation from group-think and unconditional surrender to a different authority. The supremacy of Christ supersedes our own narcissistic need for power and attention. This supremacy offers patience, peace, and an integrity that cares about truth to the exclusion of easy mythology. Indeed, we're talking character here-Joe Friday, trudging, digging, discipline. Only the emotionally spiritually mature, discover the wherewithal to demythologize culture's fragile authority.