Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sour Grapes?

ONE hot summer’s day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch. “Just the things to quench my thirst,” quoth he. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: “I am sure they are sour.”


Came across this from Aesop's Fables, quoted in a book I'm currently reading called 'Made to Stick.' Immediately thought of some of the conversations/blogs/comments/friends that I've interacted with in the last couple of years, and how I think this applies to some of those thoughts.

I like to talk about the Church. What its doing well, where it appears to miss the mark, and how we can learn from those who are doing some things well....and learn from others who are missing the mark. So I listen, read, visit, and chat with lots of folks about the subject. And sometimes, I venture outside my pre-conditioned box w/in which I grew up and was trained and continue to serve to this day (a movement, btw, that I have no problem claiming...I'm a card-carrying member and proud of it).

Seems as though I have a good number of friends and acquaintances who take a "baby AND the bathwater" approach to certain limelight pastors and churches. Sure, they have laundry lists of reasons - some of them based on doctrine, preference, or just plain dislike.

Or could it be sour grapes?

I'll be the first to admit that I've wondered what life must be like as a leader at one of 'those' churches - Willow, Southeast, Northpoint, Saddleback, et al. Perhaps even crossing the line of envy on occassion. And usually I look forward to the chance to learn from what the leaders at these places have to say. Part curiosity, part learner. And no, I don't just buy everything they're selling and run off to implement it into my life/church/organization.

Maybe its just the type of crowd I run with, but there seems to be a lot of bashing going on. Almost that 'if its successful, they must be compromising something.'

But I keep coming back to the question: Is it simply sour grapes? Are we quick to point fingers at that which, apparently, we can't have? Is it possible that in our insecurity, we complain about not having a seat at the big-boy/big-church table? And does our insecurity lead to openly ripping other brothers and sisters in Christ who are doing, in many cases, amazing things in and for the Kingdom? And instead of starting an Anti Rick Warren/Bill Hybels/Andy Stanley blog and finding all the feet of clay we can find and hurling our attacks, shouldn't we instead be focusing on the lost around us and figure out ways we can bring them to the Throne? Kind of like those aforementioned guys are doing?

Look, most of us have no idea what it must be like to walk in the shoes these guys have been given. And just because their style doesn't jive with ours, and they may come across as smug, as a CEO, or a know-it-all....we're not walking in their shoes. Just how might that heavy load of leadership responsibility change any of us.

So, I for one and going to stop calling the grapes sour. I'm not going to throw stones at those whom God has chosen to do high-impact, national level ministry. Maybe I'll even pray for those guys from time to time. I'm sure its not as easy as some of them make it look. In the meantime, God has equipped little ol' me with some special skills and abilities. And he gives me the privilege of joining His team and using them for His glory.

"And that," quoth me, "will be my contentment."

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