Thursday, April 30, 2020

A counter-cultural God

Greco-Roman cities loved appearances. They loved what people looked like, how much money they had, their connections, and how they spoke. Fully trained rhetorical professionals could captivate audiences for hours. They were the rock stars of the ancient world, and they commanded huge fees for their performances. They looked beautiful and spoke beautifully

In one of the most profound passages he ever wrote, Paul points out that the Christian God revealed in the crucified Jesus could not be more different from this ([1 Cor] 1:18—2:16). By journeying down into the human condition and ultimately accepting a shameful death, Jesus revealed that God was a reaching God, an inclusive and gentle God, who valued everyone, including the most despised and marginalized. Those whom society looked down on, God was especially concerned about and eager to reach. (The older theological term for this virtue was “condescension,” but it has now been inverted into its opposite, being freighted with unhelpful connotations of superiority and haughtiness.) This is what a Christian leader should look like. It could hardly be more dramatically countercultural, and Paul lived this leadership style out in person.—Paul: An Apostle’s Journey, 98

<idle musing>
Indeed! Measure the current crop of megachurch pastors against those standards. How do they measure up? Right. I suspect Paul would have a few choice words for their lifestyle. Just an
</idle musing>

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