Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Nouwen Part 6

For the next section we move on to the middle portion of the book which Nouwen calls From Popularity to Ministry. The section takes it’s lead from the scriptures where Jesus is tempted by Satan. The first chapter in the section deals with the temptation to be spectacular. Here are some of Nouwen’s thoughts.

· Jesus’ second temptation was precisely the temptation to do something spectacular, something that could win him applause (Matthew 4:6)
· He did not come to walk on hot coals, swallow fire, or put his hand in the lion’s mouth to demonstrate that he had something worthwhile to say. “Don’t put the Lord your God to the test”, he said.
· When you look at today’s church, it’s easy to see the prevalence of individualism among ministers and priests.
· Stardom and individual heroism, which are such obvious aspects of our competitive society, are not all that alien to the church.
· There too (the church) the dominant image is that of the self made man or woman who can do it all alone.

Being a follower of Christ is almost completely counter intuitive. There is such a temptation to “be spectacular”, just to draw attention. Unfortunately we end up attracting attention to ourselves rather than the message when we take this approach. If anyone could have pulled of attraction through the spectacular it would have been Jesus. This in now way means we should not be relevant. Everything that Jesus did had meaning and was relevant to the world around him. The statement that Nouwen makes regarding individualism is so true. When we attempt to do it alone we are in risk of being separated and can easily become an easy mark for the enemy. When we say “look at me” we are not teaching people to look at Him. Then they will likely be disappointed when we cannot live up to the standard. That is the question for us all; are we directing attention ourselves or to the Father??

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