Sunday, 17 March 2013

Jesus walks into a bar.

I posed a question about what would we do if Jesus turned up to church today, came forward and took over the service. Some were going to be in awe, others wanted to know if it was the Historical Jesus or the Jesus of faith, others wondered what would actually happen. The answers were good and for those of my friends who don't belong to the group i posted it in i will post it to my wall if you want to see it. Now the question was fairly tongue in cheek, but like all these things an element of truth was needed to answer it. When you ask these sorts of questions you can see a lot about the person by the way they answer. But anyway back to JESUS WALKS INTO A BAR, because i want to put something out there.

Leading up to Easter we get lots of great images of Jesus and one of the big ones is the turning over of the tables in the temple, he turns over many tables and gets into all sorts of trouble, upsets the religious people of his day and gets a bit of a reputation. The good church going folk want him dealt with, they want him sorted out one way or another ( and in all honesty they got him dealt with one way, but the outcome was another) thing entirely. It's far to easy to say that was then this is now, but the truth is we still suffer from the same problems. We have tables both spiritual and structural that in some cases means more to us than god and his kingdom, we deny it and say no no no, but the truth is yes yes yes. We are too religious and rely to much on our structures and ways of doing things, and it happens in all churches, the service structure is relatively the same week in week out and woe betide you if you attempt something new, if i had a £1 (dollar for my American publisher friend) for every time someone has mentioned something not being in the right place or at the right time, i would be able to run Rosie (my bike) for a year. Here is the point and i know many of you will disagree and you are welcome too, our structure has become a table that needs to be overturned by Jesus, this is not just the structure of Church but also the structure of our lives and how we work out our faith. But it's not just Christians we all suffer with needing tables turned over. In a spiritual sense the turning over of those tables was a pulling down of strongholds, a pulling down of the things that keep us from doing. The act of turning over the tables was the start of a spiritual battle that had seen good people enslaved by good people. But they were slaves to order, slaves to structure and Jesus was about to pull it down.

As we come to Easter we need to look at the tables in the temples of our lives, look at those things that stop us doing, stop us fulfilling and just push them over. It will be hard in some cases because those tables have taken some deep deep roots in some cases, but they can be over turned. Maybe it's an anger table, maybe it's a work table, maybe it's a health table. No matter what it is i ask that we each look at those tables and pull them down. We can be as religious as the Pharisees and be in denial, we love our structures and they can be good. But when the structure takes over and becomes the all encompassing thing, they become a god and we get into the real danger of worshipping them.

If Jesus walked into a bar and you were there, what would you do?


  1. It;s true that we need to overturn a few things in our lives and in the Church. The good thing is that God never tires of forgiving us and letting us start again. There is always room in his heart for mercy and so we shouldn't be worried about identifying which tables need to be overturned, asking his forgiveness and beginning again.

  2. churches need people to turn over the tables regularly to stop habitual ritual and 5 sec Lord's Prayer. Keep on turning over the tables Andy.

  3. I have heard this question raised all my life, and that's just over 70 years now.
    Is there another Table to turn over, the table that offers continual change. The Christian who's focus is as a table turner. So the very act of change for it's own sake becomes the focus.But when and where do the roots of faith grow deeper, how can a Christian grow in faith if the focus is on change. May be from time to time we need to ask "what is the purpose" rather than be focused on the "process"

    1. David i can see your point, but having a rooted faith and changing to adapt are different things. You can have a deeply rooted faith in God and still be adaptable, to the needs of those around us. Change for change sake i'm not a keen lover of, but change to make something better, change to carve away outmoded and archaic systems i'm fully in favour of. The church has to get to grips with the fact that a lot of our processes and structures are outmoded with todays society, we need to engage with society and see lives changed. Unfortunately some of that change needs to happen in the church. Deep roots of a faith in God are great and i'm not suggesting those things are problematic, but deep roots and faith in the way things are done and in the form of structure in places needs to be turned over.