THE THINKING LEADER

Articles - Leadership, Culture, Christian Faith,

A Leader, thinking…

#43: Wednesday, 17 April, 2019.

It may be quite a long time since you read any myths or fairy tales, but I'm sure you're familiar with the genre. This reading today has all the hallmarks of those genres: there are wicked spirits entering people’s minds; the devil is asking favours from the King to have a power over the King’s most faithful servant; there is a secret sign of a man carrying a jar of water who, if approached with the secret code words, will lead them to a pre-planned meeting room; there are wicked plots to overthrow the King’s Son; there are grim prophecies of betrayals and promised redemptions; there are secret purchases of swords and stockpiling of resources.

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#40: Palm Sunday, 14 April, 2019.

There is so much going on in this narrative that we can't do more than just scratch the surface in this short reflection. It’s worth an hour’s lecture, at least. So here’s a very little. Imagine a city which is always in tension. The Romans know that at any moment, the touchpaper could be lit and the powder keg which was Jewish religious nationalism could be set off. Pontius Pilate knew that every year at Passover time, he needed to keep the lid on these excitable fanatics.

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#38: Friday, 12 April, 2019.

Today’s reading crosses two chapters. As is often the case, the chapter/verse divisions are not helpful for our understanding. Always remember that Luke, and other biblical authors did not write with chapters. They were imposed on scripture many hundreds of years later. They are useful for finding and referencing, but if we want to be insightful readers of scripture, we should always look beyond them to find what the writer is getting at. Today’s reading is a case in point – and it’s another two stories to compare.

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#35: Tuesday, 9 April, 2019.

There’s a single word that characterises today’s reading: entitlement. The idea that I deserve something; that it’s only fair that I should receive this thing; that it’s my turn; that if everyone else can have something, then surely I deserve this little thing. This idea turns up again and again. A sense of entitlement is not a sin, but indulging myself in self-pity or becoming petulant and demanding over it may be. It’s what five year-olds do.

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#33: Sunday, 7 April, 2019.

This story is so well-known, we have to be extra careful with it. We may have taken too much for granted, and no longer be able to read it well through over-familiarity. If you didn't read yesterday’s reflection, you really should before you start this one. The two are inseparable. I'm going to assume that what I wrote yesterday is in your minds now.

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#32: Saturday, 6 April, 2019.

Luke 15 should be read as a whole. Look at the introduction. Luke sets the scene as tax collectors and ‘sinners’ were gathering around to hear Jesus. The Pharisees and legal eagles were also there, sneering at Jesus: ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them’. We understand that the word ‘sinners’ in the first sentence is not Luke’s word, but the sneer of the Pharisees.

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#31: Friday, 5 April, 2019.

Yesterday’s reflection was all about banquets, and today’s reading follows a similar theme for part of it. We won't continue on that theme, today, except to note that Jesus told a very amusing parable in vv15-24. We’re not accustomed to laughing when we read scripture, perhaps, but why shouldn't we expect to hear some funny stories when Jesus is telling his parables? He knew how to engage a crowd.

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#28: Tuesday, 2 April, 2019.

We’re in a tough patch of readings at the moment. There are lots of hard sayings and difficult concepts. We’re being challenged on almost every page. At least, Luke should be forcing us to jettison that Sunday School notion of gentle Jesus, meek and mild, who is too kind to ever get upset with us. Why did we ever think we were doing children a service to teach them that? And why would we continue to do it to adults?

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