(HERE is the source of this text. Continued from HERE)
Seventh, a prophet confronts the status quo. With the prophet, there is no sitting back. The powerful are challenged, empires resisted, systemic justices exposed. Prophets vigorously rock the leaky ship of the state and shake our somnolent complacency. . . .
Eighth, for the prophet, the secure life is usually denied. More often than not the prophet is in trouble. Prophets call for love of our nation’s enemies. They topple the nation’s idols, upset the rich and powerful, and break the laws that would legalize mass murder. The warlike culture takes offense and dismisses the prophet, not merely as an agitator but as obsessed and unbalanced. Consequently, the prophet ends up outcast, rejected, harassed, and marginalized—and, eventually, punished, threatened, targeted, bugged, followed, jailed, and sometimes killed.
Ninth, prophets bring the incandescent word to the very heart of grudging religious institutions. There the prophet confronts the blindness and complacency of the religious leader—the bishops and priests who keep silent amid national crimes; the ministers who trace a cross over industries of death and rake blood money into churchly coffers. A bitter irony and an ancient story—and all but inevitable. The institution that goes by the name of God often turns away the prophet of God. Continue reading “John Dear on the Signs of a Prophet – 2”
(via Richard Rohr)
First, a prophet is someone who listens attentively to the word of God, a contemplative, a mystic who hears God and takes God at God’s word, and then goes into the world to tell the world God’s message. So a prophet speaks God’s message fearlessly, publicly, without compromise, despite the times, whether fair or foul.
Second, morning, noon, and night, the prophet is centered on God. The prophet does not do his or her own will or speak his or her own message. The prophet does God’s will and speaks God’s message. . . . In the process, the prophet tells us who God is and what God wants, and thus who we are and how we can become fully human.
Third, a prophet interprets the signs of the times. The prophet is concerned with the world, here and now, in the daily events of the whole human race, not just our little backyard or some ineffable hereafter. The prophet sees the big picture—war, starvation, poverty, corporate greed, nationalism, systemic violence, nuclear weapons, and environmental destruction. The prophet interprets these current realities through God’s eyes, not through the eyes of analysts or pundits or Pentagon press spokespeople. The prophet tells us God’s take on what’s happening. Continue reading “John Dear on the Signs of a Prophet – 1”
A prophet is one who keeps God free for people and who keeps people free for God. Both of these are much needed and vital tasks. God has been imprisoned and made inaccessible, and far too many people have been shamed and taught guilt to keep us clergy in business. Our job became “sin management.” Sadly the laity bought into this negative story line. That is what happens when priests are not informed by prophets.
The priestly class invariably makes God less accessible instead of more so, “neither entering yourselves nor letting others enter in,” as Jesus says (Matthew 23:13). For the sake of our own job security, the priestly message is often: “You can only come to God through us, by doing the right rituals, obeying the rules, and believing the right doctrines.” This is like telling God who God is allowed to love! The clergy and religious leaders, unintentionally perhaps, teach their disciples “learned helplessness.” Thus the prophets spend much of their time destroying and dismissing these barriers and trying to create “a straight highway to God” (Matthew 3:3). Both John the Baptist and Jesus tried to free God for the people, and it got them killed.
Continue reading “Richard Rohr on Prophets”
By definition, the prophet has to be on the edge of the inside of institutional religion. It’s a hard position to hold, and it must be held both structurally and personally, with wisdom and grace. There are many times it would be easier to leave the system or to play the company man/woman and just go along with the game. Jesus understood this. He loved and respected his Jewish religion, yet he pushed the envelope wide open. He often healed people on the Sabbath, which was a deliberate statement against making a practice into a dogma that was higher than human need (Matthew 12:1-8). Yet he honored the same Jewish establishment by telling some he had healed to “go show yourselves to the priests” (Luke 17:14). Jesus walked the thin line of a true prophet, or what Ken Wilber so wisely names as the central principle, “transcend and include.”
Continue reading “Richard Rohr – Who Would Want to Be a Prophet?”
I once heard a politician who calls himself a Christian say, in effect, “While Jesus encouraged personal acts of compassion for the poor, it doesn’t follow that he wants us to use other people’s money [i.e., tax revenues] to put an economic safety net under the poor. That’s compassion on the cheap.”
I disagree with that politician on so many counts I can’t enumerate them right now. Instead, I’ll put a slight spin on a line from Anne Lamott:
“You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God agrees with your tax policy.”
Continue reading “Parker J Palmer – Memo to Myself: Avoid Domesticating Our Prophets”
Recorded in Assisi on 1 may 2014.
Thanks to Ionut Moise.
This is an important topic for today’s evangelicalism. here are a few quotes from Dr. Gary Burge‘s article in Christianity Today:
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We need risk-takers. Sometimes they’re called prophets.
It seems most organizations have a variety of leaders who serve somewhere along a continuum between what I call “custodians” and “prophets.”
Let’s be clear: Prophets can be annoying. They look at the status quo and wonder why it can’t be different. They are impatient for change and are driven by a vision for something better, something clearer, than the rest of us normally see. Perhaps like the biblical prophets, they are driven by a vision for justice or compassion or righteousness that compels them to take risks in order to sound the alarm or heighten the community’s consciousness. They like change. And they work even subversively in order to enact it. Some of our greatest social reformers—Wilberforce, say, or King—were prophets. The same is true within the church. In their day Luther and Wesley were nothing less than prophetic. Continue reading “Gary Burge – Do Evangelicals Have Room for Prophets?”
Historically, mysticism was often seen as the opposite of prophecy. There was the prophetic strain, which was working for social justice, making a difference, solving problems, fixing the world, and bringing about the Kingdom of God. Then there were these other “mystified” people who locked themselves in hermitages and monasteries and didn’t care much about the suffering of the world. This would be the priestly strain of theology. Now we know that was a radical misunderstanding from both sides. Continue reading “Richard Rohr, Again on Priests vs Prophets”
Topic: Role of prophetic/dissenting voices
Num 12:6 And he said, Hear now my words: if there be a prophet among you, I Jehovah will make myself known unto him in a vision, I will speak with him in a dream.
Job 15:8 Hast thou heard the secret counsel of God? (Eliphaz the Temanite to Job)
2 Ki 17:13 Yet Jehovah testified unto Israel, and unto Judah, by every prophet, and every seer, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets. Continue reading “Making Known the Counsel of God”
‘Prophetic leadership’ isn’t an idle phrase
By Amy Butler
Thursday, July 01, 2010
Seems like everybody likes to use the phrase “prophetic leadership” when it comes to the church. It sounds deeply theological and also a little daring, don’t you think?
Pastor search committees have a tendency to use the phrase early on in their work (then inevitably use the phrase “be careful what you wish for” very soon after), and pastors especially have a bad habit of bandying the phrase about in their efforts to impress each other. Continue reading “On prophetic leadership”