A small town job
Last week, on the website of Teddington Baptist Church, I quoted Matthew Parris as saying:
One of the reasons we can be pretty sure Jesus actually existed is that if He had not, the Church would never have invented Him.
He is undoubtedly right – with his searing insight, uncomfortable inclination to speak the truth at all times and instinctive ability to read the mind of God, he would be quite a menace in any church!
Earlier this week a small church in Coal Township, Pennsylvania, advertised for a Pastor. He (not she) has to be a veritable paragon of virtue, and must be a big fan of the King James Bible. In fact he is to be such a big fan of it that he is “constantly reading and studying God’s word.” The church’s commitment to the King James Version runs pretty deep, it would seem, since it is “is thee word of God in English” [sic.] Not quite sure where they think the King James version came from since “We do not believe in going back to the Greek, Hebrew, Chaldean, Sand Script,” [sic.] God, apparently “can speak English” (which may be more than can be said for the church.)
The saddest thing here, though, is not that the Aramaic speaking Jesus need not apply but rather that he might not want to. Any church which peppers its search for a Pastor with phrases like ‘do not waste our time’ and ‘If you’re looking for an argument find a tree and maybe you’ll win!’ is not big on love and compassion, I feel.
The Jesus I encounter in the Gospels doesn’t appear to be afraid of a challenge, and therefore would find plenty of work to do in any church which has sinners like me in it. My concern here is more that we don’t want the church to be such a fortress of orthodoxy that we don’t let him in. Maybe there was more to Aaron Sorkin’s depiction of Jesus than I had realised…