If you’ve listened to the Rise and Fall of Mars Hill podcast you understand the title of the post.
In the introduction of each episode, Mark Driscoll yells, “Who do you think you are?” No matter how many times I hear it, I can’t get used to the level of rage in his voice.
He and the core of people he surrounds himself with must be the only ones NOT asking him that question. The same way Giant Church and its people don’t ask the question of themselves. They are blind to their desperate need to ask:
Giant Church Inc, who do you think you are?
Jesus encountered the same kind of religious leaders. When Jesus healed or brought life or forgave sins, the hearts of the scribes and Pharisees were hardened further. The leaders tried over and over to trap Jesus in his words with questions about taxes, the Law, or divorce. The fear of losing power and influence ruled their hearts. They did not trust the Way, the Truth, and the Life right in front of them.
Jesus had a lot to say to these hard-hearted religious leaders. He denounced them to the crowds and his disciples with harsh words. It’s recorded in Matthew 23. Jesus called them hypocrites, blind guides, blind fools, and snakes! Here’s some other things Jesus said about them and to them:
- they do everything to be seen by others
- they love the place of honor at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues
- they tie up heavy loads that are hard to carry and put them on people’s shoulders
- they themselves aren’t willing to lift a finger to move them
- you have neglected the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy, and faithfulness
- you clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside are full of greed and self-indulgence
- you are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of bones of the dead
- on the outside you seem righteous to the people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness
At the end of the same chapter in Matthew, Jesus laments over Jerusalem. He longs to gather the people as a hen gathers her chicks, but they are unwilling.
Jesus came to give us life, and he gives us a choice in it. He won’t force us. He asks that we follow…learn from him….trust him. Oh God, may we be willing. Open our eyes, our hearts, and our hands and let us be willing.
Did You Say Scientology?
One of the things I’ve appreciated about The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill podcast is that it validates the experience of those who’ve been in that kind of church. While there are a number of reasons people are drawn to and stay in toxic systems, Russell Moore writes about one I haven’t heard about called “betrayal blindness.” It’s a psychological concept behind why some people stay and are unwilling to know the truth. Think about Leah Remini and her expose’ on Scientology. Even after all the evidence, eye witness accounts, and that most people in the world know it’s a cult, those within it stay and isolate themselves further. Many to the destruction of their families and lives. The article is very interesting.
It Take a Village to Escape a Toxic Leader by Russell Moore in Christianity Today.
Whatever the reasons we are in them, whether we stay or we leave, my hope is we will turn our eyes to Jesus and we let him gather us within his loving arms.