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Who I amReside in St. Louis Missouri currently, Lived in California & Colorado.Husband.Father.Pastor.Football Enthusiast.Teacher.Learner.Dreamer.Reader.Friend. [thoughts & comments blogged here are my reflections living life trusting Jesus as God]

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Am I a Spiritual Voice or Moral Manager

[NOTE & Dis-Claimer: this is an on-going thought for me, but have come to a point where I can publicly voice some of my convictions]

Spiritual Voice or Moral Manager 

I know this phrase/idea came from a friend and I honestly can't remember what conversation it came out of.  If you follow my blog & you said this phrase please comment so I can give you credit.

As a Youth Pastor I have said part of my job is to give perspective, I wrote about that here
But as a youth pastor a decent majority of my time is spent communicating to students & adults.  Whether that be in a large group setting, small group setting or one-on-one conversations, often I am speaking to them about the nature of God, the Bible & our connection to both in our everyday life.  

When I speak do I just offer Morality? 

Morality:principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.

I have come to see that so much of how America views A LOT of itself is RIGHT & WRONG.  Even our country was founded on a RIGHT & WRONG basis.  Historically & currently we see wars, parenting styles, unions, schools, legal system, grocery stores, football teams...conversations about all this and more have people taking sides.  A right vs wrong viewpoint.  Depending on what "side you are on" will also depend on who your friends are (USC vs UCLA, Roe vs Wade, etc.).  Do I think certain aspects of our culture should have boundaries for peoples safety & structure?  Yes.  I am a fan of moral laws--I like most of them.  I even try to uphold them.  I value what our flag represents as a nation of freedom.
But my concern is when talking with teenagers that their "morality" their parents, teachers, schools & media is pumping is the morality they claim.  They often don't think deeper than the surface on any of it.
We cannot argue "American Morality" has crept into our interpretation of every day life, education & I think worst of all our understanding of Scripture.  That I think is a very dangerous occurrence.  I am confident in publicly saying that Jesus isn't a republican, democrat or green tea party patron.  Jesus doesn't care about the price of the gas pump or what the Union workers are arguing over.  Jesus, in much of his teaching, doesn't teach RIGHT vs WRONG.  The Prophets, God himself & Jesus spoke of so much deeper concerns--where is your heart in relation to GOD.

Scripture is based & written in a culture of heavy geographical, historical & social differences.
Jesus taught in those cultures.  When Jesus taught, he taught from the framework of THE KINGDOM OF GOD.  Jesus' voice was one of Spiritual direction of Who God is, what life can be about living with God.  I don't see Jesus saying statements like "I am RIGHT you are WRONG so there fore you LOSE!"  I do see him making statements that force people to think deeper about what they are discussing & what actions they want to take. {Matthew 5-7, John 10, Matthew 13, Mark 1}

I believe a large role of my "communication" as a pastor MUST be to help students filter through even their moral notions to double check that it lines up with Jesus' message.  I must be a Spiritual Voice of "wait what does God have to say" before we make decisions.  
Maybe Morality & Spiritual voice go together better than I give it credit?  
Maybe they don't?
Morality is a part of our culture & in areas a much needed part, but in the end is all we want to be as Pastors is moral police officers? 
I know I want to be someone who communicates care for the heart integrity of people based on their relationship with God through Jesus & not just their RIGHT & WRONGS in life.

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