St. Paul’s words in Romans 11 are ringing in my ears. The Gentiles are saved and that makes the Jews jealous. The Jews have been seeking the favor of God for all they are worth, but find exile continues to ravage their hope. Suddenly, according to Paul, the Gentiles have the favor, and he hopes the Jews will drop their petty games and join God favoring the Gentiles.
Let’s back up just a bit. Not in time, but back into a context we are more familiar with here in our day-n-age. I am recalling a movie I saw when I was young called Thunderheart. I doubt the movie made anyone’s top ten list, but it provides an interesting and humorous illustration of the kind of jealousy St. Paul is talking about (pardon the rough language). Check out this link:
The true blood Indian (better called Native American) begins to recognize that the half breed FBI agent has mystical experiences he only wishes he could have, and he is jealous! And that makes me think:
IF THAT IS SO EASY TO SEE IN A QUASI-PAGAN, NATIVE AMERICAN EXPRESSION, HOW MUCH MORE SENSE SHOULD IT MAKE FOR US CHRISTIANS READING ST. PAUL?
Is this making sense to anyone else yet?
A Pastor with a Dark Jealousy
I THINK I had a similar experience with the pastor at the church where Mrs. Agent X and I got married. We purposely called it a prophetic wedding. I have posted the tale of it here, and if you have not read it, I encourage you to do so now. The Spiritual experience of it alone was powerful, but the fact that it prophetically broadcast God’s participation excited the imagination of the pastor – among other attendees. He began asking me about Proph-O-Drama after that, and so I wrote a short book on the topic.
I think he was jealous. He had been leading the church for years but had no such divine encounters – at least none he ever spoke of before. Perhaps his jealousy took him to a dark place, like Simon the Magician wanting to possess this strange power, because shortly after that our relationship deteriorated. Try as I may, I could not get him to participate in writing the book, and it wasn’t long before he kicked me out of his church! Goes to show jealousy can go either way.
So Where Is St. Paul’s Positive Jealousy?
Yeah… I really want to explore the intersection of heaven and earth behind the veil – like I wrote about two posts back. I pointed out and linked several previous posts I have published on this blog that were intended to share some of that exploration from my own experiences. My hope is that they inspire readers and/or pique their curiosity. If you realized that God was moving among the beggars, bums, and prophets on the streets of Lubbock in his mighty and mysterious ways and bestowing his LOVE on them, wouldn’t you want to come join us there? Or better yet, wouldn’t you want to invite HIM into the sanctuary – or even your HOME? Wouldn’t you be just a bit jealous that the bum is getting the affectionate favor of God that you are missing out on unless you open the door?
And I keep hoping that by tapping into that godly jealousy, I can get traction into your heart where harsh words fail. But instead the message goes ignored.
And that sends me back to St. Paul again. He hoped two thousand years ago that he could provoke his fellow Jews with a godly jealousy to come to the Lord’s Favorable Party among the Gentiles. And in two thousand years, that jealousy had had precious little traction so far.
Pope Francis and Jealousy
A little over a year ago, Pope Francis visited the United States Congress. Talk about access to power! He delivered a speech in front of the world’s most powerful leaders just before they broke for lunch. Now that is what I call “POWER LUNCH”! But rather than eat with the congressmen and women, Pope Francis ventured across the street and ate with D.C.’s poor and homeless! He effectively snubbed congress to eat with Jesus!
Now all of a sudden, homeless people had access with the man all of congress turned out to hear! The moment was soooooo moving that John Boehner quit his job out of deference for the man he had heard speak truth to power. And it was right around that time that Pope Francis was calling on his own church to open its doors around the world to the flood of refugees that world leaders were desperately trying to shut out. And I posted then asking if the Protestants might not be provoked to a godly jealousy.
A year has passed, and it seems the answer is “NO”. Or if it is “YES”, then our gratification is delayed – perhaps right along with St. Paul’s.
I am calling on you pastors of Lubbock (and elsewhere) to look into these things carefully. Your heart is hard, but it longs to be softened by the Lord. Let HIM in!