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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Religious Bureaucrat

Have you ever seen anyone put the study of the Scriptures before their love for Christ? Have you ever done this? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1497).


It is extraordinarily easy to substitute form for substance. Most all of us do it at some time or other. We "go through the motions" with allegiance to form and rationality of procedural structure and lose sight of the underlying purpose set forth in the beginning. The term "bureaucrat" when used in a pejorative sense always entails the tendency to substitute myopic concern over procedural details for the broader original purpose present at conception.

This tendency afflicts every area of life including government, the private sector, and even the church. The question today centers on how misapplication of focus undermines the heart of religion. It is my suspicion that most every conscientious theologian must sometimes feel anxiety regarding this issue. They must ask themselves "Am I so concerned with the rationality of structure that I ignore the baby in favor of the bath manual? Am I more engaged in escape trips of intellectual pride and artificial constructs than in reality-based heartfelt worship?"

It is fairly difficult to read the Gospels and miss the spirit of Christ, but it is not a feat that is in anyway impossible. When doctrinal arguments drown out the simplicity of the parables, we must marvel at the ingenuity of rationality when carefully fueled by personal hubris and intellectual conceits.

The anecdote to these misdirections is always to exercise retreat, cast off intellectual pride based in the delusions of ideological perfection, and return with focus on the purpose of it all – in this case the ministry of an itinerate preacher in Roman occupied Palestine some 2,000 years ago.

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