Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners


Ending Our Savior Complexes: Station 3

DESCRIPTION: Jesus picking up the ear that Peter cut off of the servant CAPTION: FIVE SECOND RULE!

When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. -Luke 22:49-51

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. 11 Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?” -John 18:10

Peter and the disciples have “poor impulse control,” as friend and fellow minister Megan Johnson puts it.

And maybe we do, too.  Because it’s easy to be impulsive when we’re in situations beyond our control.  We’d prefer to take matters into our own hands- and quickly.  Doing something rather than nothing can make us feel better, even if temporarily, when grief and tragedy stare back at us.

And it’s easy to convince ourselves when we’re following Jesus that justice itself demands our action.  That the world is depending on us.  That God’s redemption means activity rather than passivity on our parts.

Some of us have really big savior complexes, too.  We’ve convinced ourselves that Jesus really does need us to redeem the world.  We evangelicals are especially prone to this kind of dysfunctionality.

The funny thing is that when I meet people like this, I end up not really liking them. They’re frankly annoying- like super heroes who have traded in the cool hair dos, gimmicks and special powers for a big ego and a small sense of humor.

But when God calls us into His mission of redemption, God isn’t calling us to fight.  Nor is God calling us to flight (which Peter will do shortly when he denies Jesus three times). God is calling us not just to see and apprehend what God is doing, but then to acquiesce to it, which is a kind of dying to ourselves.

This intentional passivity on our parts demands much more strength and courage than an impulsive falling back on our own devices.  It requires that we sit still and attentively in the pain and mess of life, all the while staying close to Jesus and being available to God whenever and wherever.  When we impulsively rush in with prescriptions for what needs to happen in order for things to be right, we will often miss the most important things God is doing in our midst.

[Note: by now you may have realized that we’re breaking the norm of “the seven stations” as they traditionally have been defined and numbered. These stations are my own, as observations and impressions that have struck me in reading the Passion narrative this time around.]



Previous Posts

Writing Sabbatical—and "The Departure of the Prodigal Son"
I'm sorry: my absenteeism at this intersection can be attributed to a number of things lately, the most pressing of which is my forthcoming book with author and Christian addiction specialist Jonathan Benz. The book (Prodigal Church or a version of it) is now officially under deadline and by April 1

posted 10:55:10am Jan. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Restless Soul Hall of Fame: Sister Corita Kent
Since NPR's recent segment, Sister Corita Kent has come to mind a few times this week as someone who d

posted 10:23:30am Jan. 16, 2015 | read full post »

"I Am Charlie Hebdo"
I struggle to know how to greet you after such a long hiatus from posting here—and in light of how much has happened in the world since Christmas

posted 4:42:48pm Jan. 12, 2015 | read full post »

A Christmas Homily
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. —Luke 2:6,7 The sheer physicality of this picture strikes me this Christmas. The ba

posted 1:54:50pm Dec. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Mental Health Break—Sprawl II
My favorite band these days is Arcade Fire, and I've featured the Canadian indie rock group before at this intersection between God and life. The lead singer studied Kirkegaard in college and their songs, like this one, are often subtle but brilliant critiques of the least aesthetically pleasing thi

posted 12:58:15pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.