Posts Tagged ‘christian life’

Scapegoating is on the rise these days. I believe we all have a need to find someone or something to blame. This is not anything new. It has been done to my people for years. Once we were emancipated from slavery, the embittered Southern poor blamed African Americans for all of their problems and they took us out in the woods and hung us on trees. They found their scapegoat. Recently it has been immigrants. Yes they are to blame for all of our problems. They overspent our federal and state budgets. They sanctioned and unjust war and let the economy wither and die. Now as we are approaching the anniversary of September 11th we find scapegoats to blame for that horrible massacre and we say its Islam and Muslims. We have pastors burning qurans and people marching on Washington. All in an attempt to find someone to blame….a scapegoat. Scapegoats can usually be identified by three characteristics:

They have to be weak and voiceless. To be a proper scapegoat you cannot be in the center of power. You must be at the margins. Those with power do not get blamed for the problems that we collectively face even though they collectively lead us. It is those who have no say so and no voice in the decisions that get blamed and are scapegoated.

They have to be different. The scapegoat has to be in the minority and be different. Uniformity is often equal to holiness. This is quite opposite of the nature of God who is three persons in unity and not uniformity. He is a unity in diversity and yet we see difference and diversity as a stain.

They have to be purged. In order to deal with this problem the scapegoat has to be purged. Whether its lynching them on a tree or deporting them back to their country or burning up their defiling books or holding them without due process for being a suspected terrorist, it is a way to rid the land of their unclean presence so things can be made “right”.

On September 11th I will not be scapegoating. I will be baptizing people as they make a commitment to the one who was the ultimate scapegoat. In John 11:50 Caiaphas the high priest says “You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” And so he died as a scapegoat for the Jewish people but also as a scapegoat for all of us. In so many ways I wish that was the end of this awful practice. Sadly it is not and all I can do is pray that we do not continue to blame innocent victims for our problems but work collectively to deal with the challenges that face us and look in the mirror at what needs to be purged and made right.


Last Day of Vacation…

Posted: August 16, 2010 in theology
Tags: , ,

I have not worked for 2 weeks and 2 days. 1 day if you don’t count preaching at Vineyard Pomona. It has been fun to be around the kids and engage them as much as I can. While working my mind is always elsewhere but these past couple of weeks I have had the chance to focus my attention. On this last day as I prep to enter into a lot of emails, phone calls and OPP (other people’s problems) I have a few reflections that this time off has given me:

1. Vacation means to vacate but even if we vacate work we cannot vacate life. We live in a fallen world and there is no escape. During this time me and Yvette had a fight, Kaydon had 3 diaper leaks and peeing in the face incident, our bathtub flooded, and the bills kept coming. Sometimes I think we attempt to solve our problems by getting away but wherever you go and whatever you do there will be problems. Even hermits have problems.

2. Work can keep you from being yourself and you are your greatest asset. I started realizing how much my work as a pastor has shaped me and given me habits and a certain “personality” that is not really mine at all. I do not think that this dilemma is peculiar to pastors. I think every profession can begin to shape you. Think about it. What do you do for most of the day? Work. This is how we define ourselves. On this vacation I got to write some poetry and listen to some new and old music that I love: Talib Kweli, The Roots, KRS One, Hieroglyphics, Mos Def. I read books and I read the Bible for my own personal benefit and not for some ministry purpose. I watched Star Wars over and over again like I was in grade school. I got in touch with the real me and that’s what the world needs.

3. Money isn’t everything. Due to a few financial setbacks we did not travel outside of LA this year. That was really hard as I love going to different places, breathing in new air, meeting new people, and sampling new food. The thing is God really taught me about being content with him. Most of the world does not do the kind of traveling that we in the western world are accustomed to and even historically some people never left their small town or province. Staying at home helped me to appreciate the joy of my family and the satisfaction and contentment that comes from knowing God.

Now that I am a husband and father I actually am faced with the horrible truth about myself. I hate being a servant! I mean a real servant like Jesus. It sounds good to me mentally but deep inside it totally repulses me. There are two main reasons why I hate being a servant:

1) Sometimes you have to serve when you don’t feel like it. Like when you are watching a cool youtube video or at god awful hours like 2am in the morning. Being a servant like Jesus is not convenient. You do not clock in and out like a job. It is a 24/7 whole of life thing.

2) Sometimes you don’t know how to serve or you have to serve in a way that is foreign to you. Like when Kaydon (my son) is giving me a hard time but can’t talk or like when Yvette (my wife) is overwhelmed with emotion and I know that her primary love language is physical touch. I know it mentally but in my heart I resist because that is not how I am used to receiving love.

The funny thing is this is that Jesus says that the greatest among his followers are servants. Tough words to chew on. So yes I am a follower of Jesus, a spiritual leader and I do not like to serve. There I said it!!!