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Many things to many people and a thorn in our side.
Life's roads are often not straight and not level
There was this preacher man named Paul.
He was charged with bringing a notion and belief to people of such varying cultures that the task seemed impossible for a man. Trying to be all things or many things to all or to many is like a self imposed schizophrenia it is a true thorn in ones flesh of course our mind being of flesh. (you could go to about here to see the biblical sense of what I am talking about 1 Corinthians 9:10-27 and about the thorn here:2 Corinthians 12 especially 7-10)
And so it is I tell of another preacher man more contemporary. Oh of course not of any caliber or divinity as Paul. But charged with the same duty to spread the word. Offer up encouragement. Admit to shortcomings. Publicly confess his sins. Adapt and even adopt cultures so that he may speak as one of them and not some interloper who cares only too count like trophies converts. As with Paul he faces detractors from all sides and yet must stand fast to foster conciliation between all men.
It is nice and comfy to say the right path is straight and narrow.
And well it should be for one of faith. But that does not mean we have a right to make everyone stay on our path. Each mans path is a little bit different or a whole lot different. There are no freeways in faith. If you find your self in freeway traffic in your walk in life, take the next exit and find your way on the side streets. Faith does not work in a "herd" mentality.
This metaphor of a narrow straight path is meant as a personal relationship and choices one makes not that we are all on the same one.
And here is where our preacher man comes in. Like Paul, his calling is multicultural and multi-theological and multi-dogmatic. Or perhaps better looked at as lacking all three.
Let me end this section with a parable: One man is father to 4 children two girls and two boys, obviously varying in age and development. For the most part he has taught judgment or right choices rather than strict rules that must be followed. In essence he has taught them free will with discernment. Each child and different stages discerns differently and each child at the same age discerns differently. Clearly to aid in judgment of the different children and at the different stages the father must use different approaches, methods and temperament.
So with this in mind how is our contemporary preacher to act toward those he serves. Which is every one?
I use this song in conjunction with the picture below, and it kind of tells a story.
Would you believe this man has a doctorate, has dug ditches for living, and once practice law and was a CEO? Has lived in four countries on four continents.
It takes someone who has walked many paths to relate to those all walking different ones.
When a preacher man has walked so many paths his ability to empathize and not judge is greatly enhanced. And in that he is able to relate to wide varieties of people. And therefor he can speak in many methods and styles in order to reach the audience he is preaching to at the time.
Our Paul has 13 epistles attributed generally to him. Computers analyzing writing style narrow it to probably 7. And I am quite certain he collaborated with his lesser disciples who spent more time in an area than he when writing some. And I am sure, I mean one hundred percent sure that like many authors right here on Hubpages he could switch style and verbiage to reach different audiences so I put little countenance on computers and those who think Paul conformed to one style when speaking with Romans or with Ephesians.
Can you relate to different ethnicities?
Do you ever hang out with totally different cultures than your own
Do you pick friends based on similar beliefs?
Do you think that it is a compromise of your principles to hang out with those of different principles
Our Preacher Man's Platonic Apology
Our Preacher man has deep convictions of his faith. Almost every conservative Christian value you come up with is in his faith. His belief in the Trinity is unyielding. His devotion and study of the Holy Bible scriptures is unquenchable. He attends services "religiously". Though he does not talk in quotations those who know him know that he knows his Bible and can do so. He reads the gospel to a congregation almost every week.
However he does not demand of others to follow a dogma or religious affiliation. He is tolerant of other views but he must constantly fight with religiosity as Paul had to fight with Peter to get Gentiles accepted even though they were not "under the law". His justification is that it is his calling not to preach to the choir or to bring others under the law. But to teach the Gospel of Love. To accept and be all things to all people not just to those that quote law and require obedience to their dogma.
So many will find fault and criticize the "broadening" of the road when they themselves are simply cruising down the freeway and not choosing their own path. These are the 99 sheep that stay with the flock. But for the preacher man he must go and find the one that is lost by traveling into areas unfamiliar and often unfriendly. But there is great rejoicing when that lost sheep is brought back in Love.
So the Preacher man will leave the flock and be criticized for not watching over the 99 and he might not even find the lost sheep, the wolves might eat it first. And it is not the Preacher mans job to bring the lost sheep into the herd but to keep it safe and let it know that it too is loved.
So as is the Author's want let me conclude with some thoughts
Of what merit is there to teach to a student that already knows
If we believe that the Bible is exact and everyone must act a certain way - there is no free will
If a man walks into a church and listens that is good usually, if he takes a walk with friend and listens that is better.
Cultural traditions do not interfere with faith and belief. If faith and belief interfere with cultural traditions that is what gives Religion a bad name.
If Religion is part of a culture that is more akin to legend and superstition, for each man's religion must be his own.
America has it right "church" and state must remain independent of each other. However it is good that we constantly debate the limits of tolerance and cooperation and restriction.