Skip to main content

Pushed around by Pride


Our narrative lectionary reading for this upcoming Sunday is from Mark 6:17-29.  King Herod has John the Baptist in prison for speaking out against his marriage to his brother's wife.  Herod respected John and enjoyed hearing him speak, even though it made him feel guilty.  His wife on the other hand hated John for what he had said.

During a party Herod's wife's daughter danced for him, and he was so pleased with the performance that he offered her anything she wanted in front of the whole crowd.  After consulting with her mother, she asked for John's head on a platter.  Herod was distraught, but not wanting to displease the crowd, or tarnish his image as a man of his word, he had John killed and supplied his stepdaughter with the head of a prophet.

This story reminds us of what lengths we can sometimes go, to protect our pride.  Herod did not want to kill John, but had said he would give the girl anything she asked for.  He was left with a dilemma.  Would he follow his conscious?  Would he be a man of his word?  What should one do when faced with two competing values?  A life left un-examined will almost always choose the option that saves face when challenged with such a decision.  The more power one has, the more dangerous this can become.

When my daughter was young I remember shouting out threats of great consequences that I could never enforce to scare her away from various behaviors.  As she got a little older she started to push against those threats.  She had a look in her eye, she was challenging me to see if I would follow through.  I had heard the age old wisdom from other parents "If you say it, you have to do it, they need to know you mean business".  This is the same "wisdom" Herod was entrapped by.

It was around this time that I started working in wilderness therapy.  It was there that I learned another way.  The path of vulnerability.  I found out that you can admit that you misspoke, and that you said something that you either did not have the power to, or did not desire to follow through with.  The first time I did it, it was terrifying.  I was convinced the group of kids would discover I was a sham, that I had no power, and they would begin doing whatever they wanted after that.  I would lose control.  Instead, I gained their trust and respect.

I became a great advocate of the third way, the way of vulnerability.  I practiced it with my daughter and we became closer.  I taught other professionals to do it, and they found it changed their lives too.  God became a man, rejected and crucified, to show us that true power is found in vulnerability, it's time we start giving that advice and stop trying to protect our pride.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Divine | Shame | Humans

Shame is often the only thing between our creator and us. Our reading this week is from Job 14:5-6: A person’s days are determined;      you have decreed the number of his months      and have set limits he cannot exceed. So look away from him and let him alone,      till he has put in his time like a hired laborer. Job is struggling with shame and judgement.  He is wondering why God is spending time paying attention to him, a tiny speck in the great universe, a blink of an eye in all eternity.  Why would God waste time casting a glance at us, let alone fostering us, raising us, and disciplining us?  He cries out "Why won't God just let us be, to live out our miserable existence?" A friend shared a post with me on Facebook this week.  It was a video of her dog who had stolen her donut.  The dog had been under the bed for two hours before she started the video.  The video begins with a clear view of the dog and the uneaten donut under the bed.  The dog casts glances from s

Justice & Privilege

The narrative lectionary reading for this week begins a 5 week series on the book of Job.  We focus on Job 1:1-12.  This first section sets the background for the parable.  It is important to note that this is clearly a parable, not a historical text.  This means we must look beyond the described events and towards a deeper meaning within the text.   The story goes like this: ___ There was once a man who thought he was good, an upright citizen, a religiously devout man.  He made good choices and avoided all forms of evil.  He was so pious that he made sacrifices in the name of his family members in case they had unknowingly sinned.  He had great wealth and privilege, and so this was evidence of his goodness.   God was so pleased with this great man, named Job, that he bragged about him to the accuser.  The accuser objected "Of course Job is good, you have provided him with wealth, power, and protection. He would curse you if he was not so privileged."  At this, God takes the

Fool for Christ

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 2 Corinthians 5.  Verse 13 stood out to me. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. - 2 Corinthians 5:13a (NLT) John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard churches did a famous sermon called "I am a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?".  Reading this week's text reminded me of this wonderful sermon.  Wimber's sermon reminds us that, as christians, we are called to something truly radical.  The christian walk is strange and counter cultural.  Jesus once explained this to his disciples in John 15 "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. You don't belong to this world, I have chosen you out of it.  That is why the world hates you."   Peter, in a letter to the church, later referred to all of us as strangers just passing through this world.   Do you feel like a stranger?  Do you feel like the world hates you?  Are you a fool for Christ? Here is the thing, you are going t