Thursday, March 05, 2015


I've noticed something. People are just people. Our biggest problem may be that we are human beings. I have a friend who said one time that he could get along with people, it was just human beings he couldn't stand. [Funny I thought.] It generally doesn't matter if folks call themselves Christians or atheists or Democrats or Republicans or ministers or Americans, they still act like people and they are still human beings.

Case in point. [Actually a kind of "snapshot."]

I've seen people angrily react to what they perceive as failure in someone and then go to the opposite end of the spectrum in order to correct that perceived failure. For an example of this I'll use my experience in church life.

A congregation perceives their pastor as not being a good people person, [though he is a great bible teacher] and, upon his leaving for another congregation, the people decide they want a people guy with a winsome personality and they find one. Now his preaching is geared toward feeding milk [spiritual pablum] to the people, who are children biologically and spiritually. No ability in the pulpit really but all the kids of both kind [biological and spiritual] love him. It's wonderful.

For a while.

Then he's in trouble because he can't preach a lick. [The attention span of children being what it is.] Yet he is the same as he was at the beginning of his pastoral ministry. He's just himself. But now he's not enough for them and they are angry about it all. [People being just people.]

On the other hand, to prove my point, a pastor can be a great people person but is as weak as motel coffee in those two cup packets in the pulpit. [That's weak, trust me.] But when he leaves for a new congregation the left behind people are glad he's gone because they wanted some real preaching anyway and were angry he couldn't. So, they go after a thunder and lightning orator who curls their hair with fire and brimstone.

He's a REAL preacher you see. They are now hearing real preaching for the first time in a long time. [Since a sane conversational style by any man in the pulpit doesn't qualify as real preaching, I guess.] It's wonderful because The thunder and lightning guy has arrived. It's great.

For a while anyway.

But they then begin to notice he winds up disappearing from the flock from Monday to Saturday except for those chosen few [usually wealthy] who are admitted into his presence on occasion. So he's soon in trouble too because he just doesn't like being with people. Although he hasn't changed an iota since his loud arrival the people are still mad about it. It's human nature you see. [People being just people.]

But it's not just church people. One need only to observe the current political landscape as evidence. When Bush was President the people got to where they didn't like his shredding the Constitution [their words] with his blustering swagger. If Bush said it, did it, thought it, it was wrong. After two terms the people wanted it different. Those running for the office of President even ran on not being Bush-like in anything. Trust them, they said. They will be different, they assured us.

Enter Obama!
 People were confident that in Barack Obama things would be different with a quiet, gentle, bringing people together sort of President tenure. But division is greater than ever and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that. The problem is it [bringing people together] can't be done with human nature being what it is, I promise. People will be angry and want it different next time too. There is something in human nature that never is satisfied, at rest, at peace, in touch with reality and it's been this way since the fall. [People being just people.]

A snapshot of fallen nature.

I could show other snapshots like people accepting what costs them nothing and under-appreciating it ultimately because it was free. [Have you noticed how people do that?]

Or people who are sure they know why someone holds a different view about something, take women in ministry for example, so they trumpet the perceived motive of the one who holds that view which they are sure they know as fact, "They are just afraid of going against culture," people say.

But they don't know really know of course since they are not God and can't see another person's heart, yet they then ask you to trust their opinion over the other person on the issue. I could go on and on. [People just being people.]

I can let it go in politics. I really expect little else. But I'm thinking that judgment may need to really begin in the House of God. [Kingdom kids are by nature different remember.]

I realize I'm drawing attention to the problem of human nature.

The need of a pastor who is good with people AND can and does preach the word is legitimate. A political administration that DOES know how to deal with the need for housing and feeding the poor AND creating a good business working environment is needed as well. All these issues do need thoughtful and deliberate actions and people who do them.

But human nature [being what it is] needs the gospel. As believers my hope is that we'll leave all other things as important, but secondary, and stay primary on presenting the gospel because that's the only thing that can change human nature.

Paul B.


Aussie John said...


You're so right about the problem of "human nature", we know because we have to battle the same problem,

As you no doubt have, I have seen each of these scenarios, but I don't think the problem is a good preacher or otherwise. A bad preacher in the hands of the Holy Spirit is more valuable than an excellent preacher depending on his own expertise.

I was having lunch with a pastor. The conversation came to the point of talking about how we became pastors. I explained to him the compulsion which led to my entering such a calling.

He said, "I had no sense of call. I just chose to be a pastor!"

The Apostle was so right,"I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ". (Galatians 1:12 ESV)

Someone once said," a rich knowledge of the Scriptures, an accurate technical grasp of Christian doctrine, a doing of Christian work by all the resources of men's natural wisdom or ability, a clever manipulation and interesting presentation of Bible content and themes, may get not one whit beyond the natural life of men, and still remain within the realm of spiritual death."

Bob Cleveland said...

you sneaky guy, you! You have just made a slam-dunk case for excellence in Sunday School and excellent Bible teaching .. as opposed to "teaching lessons" in that Sunday School. And say the same for Discipleship training.

If that's the case, they'll know the Biblical reason for the preacher and even, maybe, their reason for being in the church at all. To be trained for the work of service, and to stimulate ONE ANOTHER to love and good works, and to complete the tasks God has prepared in advance for us ... the folks in the pews.

Paul Burleson said...

Both you guys make reading comments FUN. Well said to you both. Thanks.

Rex Ray said...

Aussie John,

“I just chose to be a pastor” would explain why the ratio of would-be pastors to churches is about 3 to 1.

I believe congregations get tired of preachers when they stop lifting up Jesus.

Then there’s some like the kid that said he would listen to his parents if they’d just stop talking.