Saturday, January 4, 2014

Jan | 04 | Fat Little Pastors and That Clinking Clanking Clunking Sound


Fat Little Pastors and  That Clinking Clanking Clunking Sound

Mark 10:25-26
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, "Who then can be saved?" NKJV

The Kit Kat Cabaret club tells of a seedy story set with the backdrop of the rise of National Socialism in Germany in the 1930’s. I am of course talking about the play and film, Cabaret. Whatever you think of Lisa Minnelli or the story line, some of the songs and the performances are unforgettable in their style and delivery. My favourite of this film’s songs and probably one of the greatest performances on film, has to be ‘Money Money’ performed by Minnelli and the MC. Here are some of the lyrics:

When you haven't any coal in the stove
And you freeze in the winter
And you curse to the wind at your fate.
When you haven't any shoes on your feet,
Your coat's thin as paper,
And you look 30 pounds underweight
When you go to get a word of advice
From the fat little pastor,
He will tell you to love evermore.
But when hunger comes to rap,
rat-a-tat rat-a-tat at the window
knock knock (at the window)
Who's there? (hunger) oh, hunger!!
See how love flies out the door...

The capitalist expression of the Christian church has led to the subtle re-emergence of Victorian values of ministry oozing from the cocooned colonnades of ‘I’m alright Jack’, out to the unsavoury poor dears on the streets. Unfortunately, in the so doing, we seem to have made the word of God a lie and I wonder if we have also robbed the people of God of their true witness and power? After all, we sing with tears on Sundays in buildings worth millions, about “Jesus who for our sakes became poor”, and then spend the rest of the week living our lives in getting riches for ourselves?

Shelter, food and sex are the basic driving forces demanded by the body and in our Western societies, copulating with this trio are finance, family and friends, which of course is the true order in which we place all of our getting’s. In being shaped by these driving forces, in this packaging and pursuance of the same, there is no difference between the Christian and the Muslim, the Atheist and angry Pagan, the Hindu and the Agnostic hedonist. Let’s look around us! It seems that everyone is really living for these things and so, to sanctify both this trinity of lustful appetites and make acceptable that other capitalist trinity of driving imperatives, humanity bolts their version of God on to them, to help make them holy acceptable. I say again, everyone lives for these things, even the most generous of philanthropists do the same, you know, “I will give, of course, but I will get mine first. And keep it. No matter what.”

Our opening text for today shows the ‘chasmic’ difference between the words of Jesus and the understanding of the then disciples. They knew the power, influence and obvious and evident blessing of God on the monied rich. “Good grief” they rightly say, “If the God blessed rich can’t be saved, then who can?” Jesus then goes on to say “Look, all things are possible with God, so listen up, just give up your lust and your driving imperatives and all things will be given to you, both eternal life and all that you need and desire after right here, even a hundred times over!”  Ha! Of course, that just plainly is not the case. So, was Jesus lying? Was He just stringing them along?

Those first century Christians who saw the spoiling of their goods, those amazing Christians who saw the confiscation of their property for following Christ, found themselves both destitute and penniless. It happened way back then, it even happened here in Britain when the Puritan clergy were plunged into poverty having been expelled from their livings for not conforming to the act of uniformity, and you know, it is happening today, and I tell you, it will happen tomorrow. I have to ask myself why so many Christians are in poverty and alongside that, why is there no real miraculous power being made manifest in the church? I wonder, if the real answer to this lack of power and true influence is that we have replaced true Christianity with Capitalism? I wonder, if true seeker of God’s Kingdom can only experience those Christ promised Centurion’s of blessing, you know, the hundred fold in this life, if in fact they are freely given, yes, if they are shared and if they are common. Tell me then, really, do we the church truly share? Do we have all things in common? No. we do not. Consequently, I wonder if we are missing both personal blessing and powerful corporate witness because of this and like it or not, we are missing the miraculous power that such a sharing commonality might just bring with it?

I am neither capitalist nor socialist. However, I am a fat little Pastor and so here is my word of advice. Share! Let there be no known lack among us.

Listen:- And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. NKJV

Pray: -  Lord Jesus. Help.

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