In Susan Cain’s book, Quiet, she describes how our culture and relational economy has shifted. For many years, our great country was a labor driven economy. Mom would take care of home and dad would work on the farm. Character was everything. Shame and honor were high values for our culture.
Today, we are an idea driven economy. We have shifted from the farm to the city. In our current context, personality is everything. Shame and honor is not as important as selling ideas to increase market value.
We have shifted from a culture of character to a culture of personality.
_ Susan Cain | Quiet
If we are a personality driven culture then sadly our politics have become poor theatrical productions. How does a pastor navigate an election year that feels more like a verbal elementary food fight?
Behind the curtain of our political theater:
As he (Jesus) approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it. _ Luke 19:41
As customary for any Jew, Jesus makes the journey to Jerusalem for Passover. This was it! It was the moment when the Jews knew they had their man. He was going to overthrow Rome, restore Israel, and lift the lid of oppression. When Jesus looked over this city, He wept. He’s saddened for his people, their oppression, the way the Pharisees make it incredibly difficult for people to connect with God. There are tears between the narrative pages that tell a two sided story – one says to stop saying Jesus is God and the other is tempted to shrink back in fear.
I don’t think Jesus would have settled for being called anything less that what he actually was – God.
God looks at his political and religious landscape and weeps. One class wanted to take over another. A government over taking its people. Religious leaders denying the very Messiah described in the Old Testament and not allowing that Messiah, Jesus, to have any influence over people. He weeps.
People are more than their screens
Pastoral ministry is a tough gig. I’m not talking about planning, writing, emailing, or any other form of admin related work. I’m talking about talking face to face with someone. Listening to where their heart is and helping them find rest in Christ. It’s no wonder Eugene Peterson calls the Pastor’s role the “Naked Noun.” You often feel vulnerable and want to know how to help this person with whom you are speaking.
While it’s easy to engage in an online war about who said what and what candidate is the least qualified, it’s also easy to forget that those posts belong to real people in real time. They are walking through a real life trying to sort out real issues.
I can’t tell you how many times people have won the argument online, but lost the face to face relationship. I think about all of the relational influence that person just lost. I’m having a coffee with this person and it’s noticeable that they are saddened they lost a friend.
It’s not always the pastor who keeps 1st time guests from visiting
I don’t know what’s going to mark me as an “old pastor” when I’m nearing my “golden years.” I can’t imagine doing church without the internet, social media, apps, networking capabilities, etc.
Recently, I spoke with someone who was visiting our church for the first time. I asked her what prompted her visit. They told me they went to several churches, in the area, and while they were ok, the pastor began saying general statements about people without really knowing who was in their church. Yes, that happens. Sadly, that happens.
However, something else happens. We have to understand that social media helps church be an ongoing conversation. This is a great thing! We have more awareness of what’s happening at our church, we can listen to sermons online, connect with others, etc.
We have to understand that social media helps Church be an ongoing conversation.
People do not think about church on Sunday morning anymore. They think about it when they get paid, and give their offering online. They think about church when their church’s Facebook account posts something. They also think about it when there are conversations about religion and politics on a friends social media account. The conversation goes on.
It’s important to exercise wisdom in what we post and how we post. Please don’t allow your posts, of your preferred party, to keep people away from the Kingdom Of God. It’s not often what we say, but how we say it. If Jesus is who He said He was, there is no greater reality than the Kingdom Of God.
Scarcity drives value
There is a great leadership and business principle that states – Scarcity drives value. For example, if a church offers a Christmas production, to the public, there may not be a lot of buzz in the community. However, if people need a ticket to get into the production that drives the value of the production. You’ll hear things like, “There are only so many tickets,” “Everyone’s going,” “Do you have your ticket?”
The same is true in politics. We think because there are only a handful of candidates we must drive our opinions now, posts now, likes now, shares now, and comments now. This isn’t true. We don’t need to get caught up in the scarcity of a few to contribute to the mass hysteria that is deafening our country.
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. _ Hebrews 12:14