It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Church Membership, Church Leadership, Reflection on 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

When we are tempted to restrict our understanding of being a Christian to the assertion that we have a personal savior, we need to re-read Paul's letter to the Thessalonians. Being a Christian is being a Christian in community.

And, knowing this, we need to face that these Christian communities are often not very Christian.

Paul stresses the need to please God, not mortals. Then he describes how he declared the Gospel to them: no flattery, no motive of greed, not seeking praise; rather, gentleness and self-giving.

Boring and Craddock, in their The People's New Testament Commentary, sum it up well:
For Paul, joining the church was not adding on another worthy cause to our list of obligations, but incorporation into the family of God....Paul is not only the father as head of the household, but mother and nurse, baby, brother and orphan...Paul's understanding of church leadership is mutuality rather than hierarchy.

Look over this list that Paul suggests to the Thessalonians. How many of these characteristics does the Nominating Committee of a church today consider when choosing officers? when considering pastors?

Lectio Divina: 1 Thessalonians 2:4, 8

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