Tag Archives: privilege

Entitlement and the Church

Tuesday Re-mix:

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.  Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.  1 Peter 3:8-9

entitlementPeter offers these words as a brief summary of his “submit to the authorities in your life” lesson he gave to the persecuted Jews who comprised his audience.  Being submissive to the authorities in our lives is no small challenge for most of us.  The essence, I believe, of his counsel is that we must work hard to preserve our testimony with all the various authorities in our lives so that they may see God’s glory in us and be changed by it.

The question is, what does this mean for the church?  What does the local body of believers take from this counsel?

Maybe it is because of two centuries of the “separation of church and state” in America (the interplay between two critical religious freedom clauses in our First Amendment)…or maybe it is because the American culture has become much more concerned about our “rights” than about our “responsibilities”…or maybe it is because the American church has deluded itself into believing that, somehow, we are a part of the “persecuted church” because our culture doesn’t seem to like us much…or maybe it is because we just don’t really trust God to preserve his church, that maybe He needs us to save the church by political power instead…or maybe it is because we tend to forget how much damage the accumulation of political power has done historically to the church…

Whatever the cause(s), the American church seems to me to have developed a sense of “entitlement” much more than …

Confessions of a Teacher’s Pet

Tuesday Re-mix:

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”  “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.  They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”  Mark 10:35-37

teacher's pet

I admit that, sometimes during my childhood, under some circumstances which might come about upon occasion, I was, at times, capable of being…the teacher’s pet.  I do NOT admit to being crass about it, nor even intentionally manipulative about it.  And I certainly never perfected the art in nearly the way(s) my younger daughter seems to have done so (sorry, Reno…cat’s out of the bag now I guess).  But I will confess that, when one of my teachers may have favored me a little one way or another, I liked it…and may have even used it to my advantage at times.  Whew!  So glad to get that off my chest!

So, when I read about James and John and their not-so-secret desire for favored treatment with Jesus, I admit that I actually understand where they were coming from.  Don’t act like you don’t get it.  I know you do.

The truth about all of us is that we enjoy being favored.  We relish special treatment.  When the flight attendant comes to your seat in coach and informs you that you have been selected to enjoy a free upgrade into first class for this flight, you have no problem gathering your belongings and bouncing up to the comfy seats as if you deserve it.  When the police officer pulls me over and has me on his radar doing 65 in a 55, and then tells me he is just going to give me …