Sunday, December 09, 2012

Setting My Parrot Free

“But what about you?” Jesus asked. “Who do you say I am?” ... Matthew 16:15


So while living as a 10-year-old on that seminary I told you about, I remember Saturdays when a whole Our Gang of us would race in circles through the open fields, climb the hills to the top apartments (this was the San Francisco area, after all) and slide back down long iron stair railings.

We'd flop down to rest and sometimes, when things became dull, we'd argue:

"My dad says someday we're gonna buy a boat and we'll sail around the world in it!"

"My dad said people who buy boats are stupid."

Which usually went from bad to worse, dividing up family against neighbors.

Other times it might be:

"My mother said you shouldn't wear dresses out to play."

"Well, my mother says a lady should always look like a lady--so there!"

Sadly, sometimes those arguments turned into screaming fits which brought the nearest parents running from doors, thus breaking up our group (and our happy times) for the day.

Good grief--silly, mindless parrots repeating only what we'd heard, not what we'd tested for merit, ourselves. Childish stuff, that.

But you know? I still hear Parrot Talkers today amongst us Christian grown-ups, but now I call them the My Pastor Saids:

"My pastor said we should never ________ and we should always do ______ eight times a day."
"Well, my pastor said the future will look like _________, not _______."
"My pastor said that God says we don't need to believe _______ anymore."

Or there are the Max Lucado Saids, the Joyce Meyer Saids (er, yours truly), the Billy Graham Saids or a host of others.

And what do I always feel like saying to these parrots people? "But what do you say? What has God told you?"

Teachers are important, yes! Hey, I am one (of sorts) and I'm not desiring a job loss. 

But teachers, I believe, are to guide others to their own discovery places. Places where they'll learn from God for themselves through His word, His voice, His presence. Places they may not have discovered on their own, places where new words can go deeper until they belong to ones very bones. Until all become doers, not just hearers or repeaters.

So what am I saying? Yes, listen to wonderful teaching, read marvelous books, attend terrific seminars. But afterward, if we allow those things to lead us to our own quiet places with God, He'll help us sift the chaff from the wheat. 

He'll show us what is real, make it a part of us and then show us what to cast away silently into the wind... something perhaps resembling a parrot.


"As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit--just as it has taught you, remain in him."   ... 1 John 2:27

"You will show me the path of life: in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures forevermore."   ... Psalm 16:11



Anonymous said...

A pastor I had years ago {who later died} used to make sure the congregation knew that he was human. He saw the Bible by his own interpretation and even after studying Hebrew texts and such he could still be wrong. If anyone felt God showed them this pastor was wrong to please let him know and show him where. He was a very humble person, yet very intelligent and wise. Also that he was just a messenger and that no one was to follow him...but to follow Christ. Once he actually apologized to the whole congregation because he felt God telling him he had been wrong and legalistic in his attitude toward others dress and he could not on studying find anything in the Bible to support his earlier teachings. In this way I thought he was a good teacher too. He always encouraged us to take what he had just preached on and study it all for ourselves. He said we each had to study for ourselves. His studying was his studying...we had to do it ourselves too. Each had to come to christ themselves. He was not responsible for our being saved. This pastor also had a group of teachers for Sunday classes that were tops at making us think. the classes were very hands on. No one was going to be able to just sit or sleep through any of their classes. No one would even want to. :) I have been thinking again about the many lessons I learned from this small church,...and trying to put them to use. I thought this post went so well l with my thoughts on this...thank you . Sarah

Terri said...

Oh you've been busy getting all inside my head this week haven't you? lol This was a big lesson to us this year, to not listen to just what this pastor or that teacher said but to discover for ourselves what God had to say.

The really hard part? Standing your ground when you know what God revealed, even when your pastor/teacher is telling you how foolish you are for thinking you heard God speak.

It's been a good year for us. Difficult in patches but good.