Why we seldom follow the biggest leaders, like the Sons of Billy Graham

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Matthew 23:1-12

This passage cautions us not to put others (particularly religious leaders) on a pedestal, especially if they crave public respect and respectability. Jesus shows us a different way—the way of spiritual camaraderie and service. And by recognizing that the humble among us are the worthiest of respect.  





About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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2 Responses to Why we seldom follow the biggest leaders, like the Sons of Billy Graham

  1. eslkevin says:

    My Dear Red Letter Family…

    It takes time for water to boil. It doesn’t happen all at once. It starts with a little steam, and a few tiny bubbles. And water doesn’t boil from the top down… but from the bottom up. It begins small, builds momentum… and before long you have a full on rolling boil.

    It sort of feels like that is happening in our country.

    It is time to get in formation.

    The Spirit is moving. Students are rising up. Women are marching and running for office in record numbers. The margins of our society have become the center of attention… which sounds like the Gospel.

    One of our elders from the Civil Rights movement told me, “If you wonder what you would have done if you were alive in the 60s… just watch what you are doing now. That’s what you would have been doing then.” It was a reminder that even as people were marching, preaching and singing, and going to jail… other folks were watching it all on television or sleeping through the revolution.

    We are not going to sleep through the revolution that is bubbling up in America. Red Letter Christians was born for “such a time as this”. We believe that alongside the inevitable changes that will be made in policies like immigration, mass incarceration, the death penalty, and gun violence… there is also a spiritual awakening happening in our country. It’s time for a revival.

    We are done with the American nationalism that masquerades as Christianity but looks nothing like Jesus. If there ever was a time for REVIVAL the time is now!

    Help us make these revivals a reality – sign up as a sustainer today!

    Thank you for not sleeping through this revolution. Thank you for waking up for the revival that is bubbling up in this country. We are thrilled to be alive with you, awake with you, at this important moment in history. On behalf of all of us here at Red Letter Christians….See you in Lynchburg.

    —Shane Claiborne

  2. eslkevin says:

    Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
    Mark 9:2-8

    In this passage, it wasn’t Jesus that was transformed. Rather, it was the eyes of Jesus’ friends that were transformed. Jesus was revealed to them to be the fulfillment of the tradition of the Law and Prophets—the beloved Son. What if we could see Jesus as he truly is? Or the world around us as God see it? Or even see ourselves for who we truly are? The first real step in transforming the world is transforming our way of seeing the world.

    Mark Van Steenwyk is the executive director of the Center for Prophetic Imagination in Minneapolis. For nearly 15 years, he has sowed seeds of subversive spirituality throughout North America. Mark lives with his family at the Mennonite Worker in Minneapolis, a community committed to Jesus’ way of hospitality, simplicity, prayer, peacemaking and resistance. Mark is the author of That Holy Anarchist, The unKingdom of God, and A Wolf at the Gate.

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