Sunday, September 25, 2011

A League of their Own

110925: League of Pastors
I was invited to a meeting of the League of Pastors, which is an organization for all of the pastors in this region.  I had mixed feelings about going.   First, because I’m not a pastor, and second, I know I’m not in their league.  Most of them were shepherding flocks when I just a boy my own son’s age. 
When we sat down, I had two things crossing my mind.  I knew I wanted to be respectful and open to their advice and wisdom, and I also had my Bible and a Creole Bible marked on Philippians 3:7-11, Paul’s famous skubala passage.  
Alot, and I do mean alot of the meeting was lost in translation.  I had a good idea of how the meeting was transpiring through body language, but there was a great deal that I felt wasn’t being communicated.   Adrien was there with me, but he was also trying to listen and be a part of the meeting.  I’m sure it’s difficult having to pull away from the conversation to put the words into English.  Honestly I don’t know that I could do it.  I’d be too distracted and then irritated. 
The pastors went around the room, talking about their experience, training, background, and credentials.  When it came my turn, Adrien introduced me as a missionary who’d come to bring bibles.  Simple enough I thought.  To the point. I liked it. 
It’s an odd thing, to see men hold passionate conversation about your calling in a foreign language.   
They asked me who the Bibles were for? Just anyone?
I said “No. I want to give the Bibles to people who will treasure them and appreciate them.”  I know there are some who despise this book.  As I’ve already wrote about in this post, I’m also aware some will simply sell it.
They asked how I was giving them away.  
I answered, “So far, on the street, in the clinic, and at the pastor’s church at Saven.”
There was much more discussion of which I was not able to understand clearly.   
They said I shouldn’t give the Bibles to just anyone I meet, that it isn’t the proper way.  Everyone will tell you they need a bible.  But, when a person is saved in a church, then it’s the pastor’s responsibility to tell that person to go and buy a Bible.   Many times they can’t afford one, and that is the place where the Bibles should be given.  I got the feeling through their gestures that they think the way I’m distributing bibles is a waste of time.  I heard something about respecting the pastors, but couldn’t be sure.
I told Adrien, “I agree, a church is a good place to be given a Bible, but I’ve seen the Holy Spirit work as we give them in the hospital clinic, and I’ve seen Him work through the conversations I have on the street.  I see the people I’ve given Bibles to, reading them at their homes and on the corner.   It’s not up to me to decide what circumstance is or isn’t orchestrated by the Holy Spirit.”  I also don’t believe we should put God in a box.  I think one of the reasons Christ always healed in different ways was because the Maker of the Heavens and the Earth likes to be creative.  He likes imagination.  He likes to surprise and wow us!  Just look at a tornado, or a hurricane.  Look at lightning, or listen to a clap of thunder when it’s just overhead.  For that matter, look at a woman when she’s incensed.  When her ears get red and her breathing is heavy.  When she’s so angry her skin changes color and her nostril flair.  Little beads of sweat form on her brow and upper lip and she begins to fidget. You can imagine her blood is about to boil as her voice shakes and her eyes go from soft and tender to piercing and brutal.  You have to admit, that’s just plain beautiful, surprising, and most of all, creative!  
I don’t think He does much of anything the same way twice.  So why should Bibles only be presented at the church and only after a man or woman comes to Jesus.   Really, isn’t it just the poor measure of my faith to assume that God can’t arrange a supernatural meeting between two of His sheep on the side of a mountain or on the main road in a village, or in a clinic where the sick are gathered for that matter?
The pastors moved on to the next order of business, a summit of sorts being planned for November, in which 25 pastors from all over the area will come together for pastoral ethics training.  They asked me if I could make the badges for the credentials showing each pastor had completed the training.  I said I couldn’t.  Not only do I not have the material here to make badges, I don’t think I’m the guy for that job, to pass out certificates, credentials, or badges.  Skubala.
In a flash, after my answer, the meeting was over.  
and I was told that the next meeting is in October.  I don’t know yet that I’m invited, but if so, I want to bring Chelo.  That way he can translate and I won’t feel like I’m taking Adrien away from the business of the meeting.
This was my scripture for this morning, which again spoke in volumes to the circumstances I’m in.  Whoever thinks this book is not Living is a crackpot of a fool who needs to get his head screwed on straight...
“Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you?  You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 
Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant —not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”  2 Cor 3:1-6

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