DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

The Process and the Prophet

Written by: on May 26, 2017

I am a student of history and of people.  I am fascinated in studying how people think about any particular event or action.  Recently, I have discovered a documentary on Netflix entitled The Seven-Five.  It is a gritty tale of how cops, those sworn to serve and protect, ended up running drugs for Columbian drug lords.  The interesting highlight in the documentary is seeing the evolution of those involved.  Cops did not go from good to bad overnight.  It was a process.  Now, the process occurred quicker for some than others, but it was no doubt a process.

We even see this process when it comes to Nazis Germany prior to World War 2.  There was a slow process in indoctrinating the German people.  Goebbels’s propaganda worked tirelessly on the German people.  His effort was to dehumanize the Jewish population.  After all if they are dehumanized as vermin, then it is easier to deal viciously with them.  It was a process, and sadly it worked.

In David Welsh’s complex work, The Rise and Fall of Apartheid, he looks at the build up to the ugly policy which led to a horrible discriminatory policy of the minority which affected the Afrikan majority in South Africa.  For Welsh, the policy came about through a series of events that ended in massive discrimination.  Apartheid was a process that did not happen overnight, but it was a drama that unfolded possibly fifty years prior to its incarnation.

REFLECTION

As I look at the ugliness of Apartheid, I am gripped with the realities in which we live today.  It is quite simplistic to cast off ideas such as the Apartheid or the Holocaust as outliers.   Most people would emphatically state that such things could never happen here in the West.  Yet, I feel somehow that the West, Europe and America, is in the middle of a drama that has yet to have been completed.  There is so much vitriolic language and open hatred within the atmosphere.  The west is like a flooded lake pushing against its dam.  I am somewhat concerned that the dam will break and we will be flooded before we know it.

Evil comes about through a process.  It comes about when we demonize another side so much that they no longer are human and without a soul.  We see it everywhere.  Liberals demonize conservatives and their values.  Conservatives demonize liberals.  We vilify illegals, muslims, gays, the police, the African American population and probably many more.

Now, this may sound preachy, but I think at the heart (at least in America) some of these things are happening because the church has lost its prophetic voice in the land.  We have given the reigns over to the media, the politician, and we hope that we will somehow be saved from having to speak up in this hostile environment.

Apartheid, holocausts, racism, and slavery all rule the day when the church refuses to be a prophetic voice and speak when injustice is done.  In Luke 4, Jesus states:

                    The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.      He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set     the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it   back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on         him.21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus came to right the wrongs done in the world.  It first started with redeeming us from the curse of sin, but in his earthly ministry, he also helped to right the wrongs done in an oppressed society.  The church needs speak up to right the wrongs as well.  We must speak up when people are oppressed, when injustice runs rampant and when pain is on the march despite the color of skin, hijab, gender, or sexual orientation.

 

About the Author

mm

Jason Kennedy

I am a pastor of a thriving church in Grapevine, Texas. With two little girls (5,8), and a wife that is a medical doctor (family practice), life is non-stop.

8 responses to “The Process and the Prophet”

  1. mm Marc Andresen says:

    Jason,

    You are at the top of your game with this blog: clear, connected, compelling. (I was not aiming for alliteration.)

    I’m with you – the Church has been complicit, through silence or by tacit approval of certain regimes, at several dark moments in history. Where, indeed, is the prophetic voice?

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer was such a voice in Germany, and as with many prophets of old was killed. (Perhaps technically he was hung for his part in the assassination plot against Hitler, but he was a marked man because of the Confessing Church movement.)

    What is the greatest need, or the greatest risk, for you and your church in Dallas, Texas in 2017, to be the prophetic voice?

  2. Thanks Marc. I feel gaining a prophetic voice is also a process. Here is how we become a prophetic voice within the community. We must first be incarnational within the community. In other words, our community needs to know we exists and that we care about our community for the good. The praxis of this is difficult, but here’s our formula. For every 3 events we do, one of them needs to be for the community (not to gain church attendance), but to serve. For every 3 mission’s projects, one needs to be towards the community….etc…etc.
    Once we establish our presence, then we can have that voice again. The problem with the church as a whole is that we have disengaged from society. Hope this makes sense?
    Jason

  3. Claire Appiah says:

    Jason,
    You hit the nail on the head. Meeting their obligation as the prophetic voice in the community is a key element missing in many churches today. Therefore, the church loses its influence in putting cultural depravity in check. In fact, I would venture to say that numerous churches in the West do not even characterize themselves as a prophetic voice in the community, and sadly it is not on their agenda to do so. Jason, since your church has established itself as a prophetic voice in the Dallas community. What does that practice look like in your outreach and mission’s programs that distinguishes it from churches that are not oriented to fulfilling the biblical mandate to be a prophetic voice in the community?

  4. Pablo Morales says:

    Jason, I agree with you on the fact that the church needs to embrace her prophetic voice. It seems that at every stage of American history the church has navigated the waters of social struggles with a large percentage of Christians that accommodate to the culture and a small remnant that tries not to conform to the patterns of this world but denounces injustice. I remember how God confronted the priests through Malachi because they blessed what God cursed. How have you embraced your own prophetic voice as a pastor?
    Pablo

  5. mm Rose Anding says:

    Thanks Jason!
    In reference to statement about how the “church has lost its prophetic voice in the land”. I would be inclined to agree that the most urgent need of the modern church is for the restoration of the prophetic ministry. In recent years the gift of prophecy has been rediscovered, but there is still a desperate shortage of prophets. The church will not come to true maturity until God has raised up prophets among his people.

    However, there is also a lack of vision and direction in the modern Church. Many Christians just go from fad to fad, but nothing is followed through to completion. Many churches are weak in vision and only obtain one by copying other successful churches.

    what about the heart of the people? When we look at Paul from 2 Corinthians 3:2, he asks the question, “what are people reading on your heart?” We can ask the same question of the gathered community of God’s people. What are people reading on OUR heart?
    Thanks for a Great blog ! Rose Maria

  6. mm Phil Goldsberry says:

    Jason:

    You said: Now, this may sound preachy, but I think at the heart (at least in America) some of these things are happening because the church has lost its prophetic voice in the land.

    I would agree with your statement. How do we restore that “voice” in America again?

    PHil

  7. mm Garfield Harvey says:

    Jason,
    Great perspective and I don’t believe you were being preachy in terms of having a prophetic voice. We kept quiet for so long in our attempts to be politically correct that I believe we’ve lost even the respect of that voice. What we’ve failed to realize is that the church can coexist with differences of opinions. Whether it be denominational, gender or political areas, people have had different opinions and we found ways to get along. However, ministry leaders fail to realize that beyond the pulpit, they are humans and citizens of their environment. Until we start speaking more consistently, the church will continue to process when to speak instead of just speaking.

    Garfield

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