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Thursday, May 27, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Acts 22:30-23:10

There are lots of folks who aren’t use to hearing a pastor “argue” with Scripture. By “argue” I mean take issue with some of the content that is often traditionally accepted at face value. Those who know me well, know that this pastor frequently “argues with/questions” some of the sentiments contained in the sacred stories of our tradition. I do that not as a sign of disrespect for the Bible. Rather, I do that as a means of drawing me into a deeper relationship with the God toward whom the Bible points.

Case in point: today’s passage from Acts. In today’s passage we are told the story of Paul being drug before the High Council to defend himself. At this point in the story, Paul could have chosen to present his faith on its own terms and trust that God would see him through.

Paul chose not to do that.

Instead, Paul chose the old “bait and switch” category during his appearance before the High Council. In appearing before a council made up of both Pharisees and Sadducees; Paul “decided to exploit their antagonism” toward one another. Instead of making the primary issue his understand and experience of God as revealed through Jesus, Paul chose to make it about the rivalry between the Pharisees and Sadducees. He exploited their prejudice for personal benefit. That bothers me deeply.

Of course I can’t get on my moral high horse too much in addressing Paul’s strategy because I have been known to use the old “bait and switch” tactic occasionally in my day. On more than one occasion I’ve chosen to personally benefit from avoiding the real issue and making “it” (whatever the particular “it” is at any given moment) the decoy.

Today I would invite you to look at recent events in your life and see if there are places where you have used the “bait and switch” approach for personal benefit. If you find such an area, I would invite you to join me in asking for the strength to focus on the real issue(s) at hand so we can stop pitting one against another and start dealing with the real work that needs to be addressed.

Til next time…

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