Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Priesthood of All Believers

Some wonderful Lutheran maverics over at A.R.E. (A Renewal Enterprise) just put up a comment on "What’s the golden nugget in Lutheran theology that is the most underutilized?" Their answer, the Priesthood of All Believers, finally got me to say a couple of things out loud that I've been thinking silently for too long. Here's a recap of what I wrote in a comment on their blog:

Well, I agree that the P of AB is the motherlode of underused gold, but I think it’s a lot more explosive than most people think! (Sorry for mixing metaphors there.) The idea that all believers are capable and authorized for all “priestly” ministry - including sacraments - has always been in our theology but only rarely apparent in our practice. Instead, we’ve reserved vast swaths of ministry to professional clergy (like me) “for the sake of good order.” Well, I’ve finally begun to ask “How’s that working out for us?” Put another way, since we don’t seem to be doing well at all in either making disciples or growing them, then what exactly is good about our order? The fact that it's orderly?

Thinking about my answers to those questions led me finally to look at the house church movement, an expression of the Priesthood of All if ever there was one. Plenty of room for unhelpful order there, too, I’m sure! But I have a lot of hope that the results will be better. And truthfully, I think that Lutheranism at its core is built for both house church and the postmodern world. But that’s another topic. ;)

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Huckabee Bible Quiz

If you’ve been following the presidential primaries, you may have noticed that Mike Huckabee often refers to Bible stories in his speeches. What you may not know is that when he does that, most people in the U.S. have no idea what he’s talking about!

A recent story done by National Public Radio took several Biblical allusions from Huckabee speeches and went in search of people who could identify them. Most could not, which wouldn’t surprise you if you knew that 50% of Americans (and that includes Christians) can’t name any of the four Gospels, or know that Genesis is the first book of the Bible. But it should surprise you to learn that every person they asked had been raised in a Christian home and gone to Sunday School.

Want to see how you’d do on the quiz? Here are the four quotes. Do you know the Bible story each one comes from? I'll put the answers in the first comment to this post. In fact, why not add a comment yourself and let us know your score!

1. "It's the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of 5,000 people."

2. "Sometimes," the former Arkansas governor told his supporters, "one small smooth stone is even more effective than a whole lot of armor."

3. "We've also seen that the widow's mite has more effectiveness than all the gold in the world."

4. "It's almost like when the prophet was looking for a king. He came down, looked through all of Jesse's sons, went through a whole bunch of them, and said, 'Is this all you got?'"

I hope you did well.

Why does this matter? Well, consider this: Huckabee has a message he is trying to get out to people. He is using Bible stories as a way to get it across. But people will never get the message if they don’t know the stories. In the same way, God has a message that He is trying to get out to people, including you. God uses Bible stories to help get the message across. But if you don’t know the stories, do you think you’ll understand the message?

Have you read your Bible lately? I highly recommend it. After all, Someone is trying to communicate with you.