Update: The podcast is there now. Say a prayer for Jim when you listen to it.
Tonight at hOME, Jim preached on the presentation of the infant Jesus at the temple. In preaching on this, he talked about the four stages of the development of a movement. I'm thinking I'm going to have to listen to this again. There is a podcast of it here. Anyhoos, Jim referred to the fours stages of the development of a movement. Those four stages being:
I: The man/woman who has an idea. If you like you can go with Jesus as the man/woman. The man/woman with the idea generates...
II: ...a movement. Going with the Jesus analogy you can go with the disciples and the crowds who in turn...
III: ...generate a machine. Sticking with the Jesus thing, this would be the theology. Finally, the machine needs a house so we get...
IV: ...the monument.
And somewhere along the line we sucked into a position where we worship the movement, the machine or the monument. Where they became sacred and we can't tinker with them. Because they're scared. It's a bit like a celebrity who is famous for being famous. And Jim made the point that we are not only called to worship the man/woman, but also to follow them too. Which isn't to say that movement/machine/monument are bad, because they aren't in themselves, but to recognise where they are assisting our understanding the man/woman. It reminds me of the R.E.M song where Michael Stipe sings 'I can't say that I love Jesus, that would be a hollow claim. He did make some observations and I'm quoting them today'. Sometimes I think I walk a very fine line between loving the man and loving the idea of Jesus. Maybe that's the narrow path.
In describing the four stages, Jim tried to reconcile the four stages to the very recent and very raw death of a close friend of his. In reminding us that we are called to follow the man, not the movement, we are invited to see how we can walk with our fellow men and women when they suffer. He quotes Churchill; 'when you find yourself walking through hell, keep going'. Jim then invited us to follow Jesus as we share the pain with those in suffering
Geddit? Oh damnit, just listen to the podcast. It's only thirteen minutes long.
Just some food for thought on a Sunday night.