Posted by: minnow | August 29, 2009


In most every fellowship I have been a part of the leadership has always had the  look–put together, smiling, and energized. They also have had “body guards”, a group of similarly looking people who always sing their praises; are always part of the work team, church board, planning committee, or eldership; and form their only circles of friends if the pastors even have friends other than other pastors.
These people, with the senior pastor at the center, form the role models for the fellowship. They tend to be the “regular tithers”. They are the “go to” guys when the pastor needs a job done. If the body is small group oriented, some of them are small group leaders. Their wives run the children’s programs.  And, their voices, generally echo the senior pastor, thus determining the focus of the fellowship. Is it youth oriented, prayer oriented, out reach oriented? These folks will decide. (In a few congregations you can still find the stereotyped rich person who calls most of the shots, which conjures the old adage “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”.  But, that is not the norm in today’s more up scale, up beat congregations or the smaller church plants.
Other than being a lie the problem with the message–“We have it all together because we have all the answers”–is that it also conveys the message that if you  do not have it all together you  can not be  one of us, which in turn causes those of us  who do not have it all together (perhaps because we have a few more questions than answers) to fake it (that is, if we want to be part of them which most of us seem to want).  If in a feeble attempt to get our acts all together we ask some of our questions and recieve some of “their answers”, we quickly discover that the answers we almost always get rarely seem to understand the actual questions we have asked. 
Now as true as some of these answers are–“Just give it to Jesus”, “You got to have faith”, “Trust is God”, “Prayer works”, “His ways are higher that our ways”–they do not answer all  the questions or comfort all  the pain behind them.  Instead, they put people off, cause them to feel inadequate, and create a barrier because what seems  to work for everyone else does not work for the questioner.  And, the lies we tell ourselves when we tell others we have all the answers–that we can not be found lacking or else, that saving people depends on our having our ducks in a row, and that God might not approve of us (read that love us) anymore if we mess up–are just as harmful as the original lie.  Thus we end up shooting ourselves in the foot in order to “look like” we are walking the talk”.  In fact, we are really just trying to out run our own doubts and fears.
Pretending we have all the answers builds walls not relationships.  And, it also makes a caricature of God.  We can not explain what we do not know ourselves, so we offer sound bites instead, like all we will ever need is a page-a-day-calendar-God.  How sad He must be.
Once again I am going to send you on over to The Carnival in My Head blog, not because Kathy is writing about this same topic but because this post sort of describes (along with many of her other posts) what it might look like when we start to admit we do not have all the answers. 
Personally, I do not think Jesus gave much thought to whether or not the Pharisees or the Romans for that matter, thought He had any of the answers, let alone all of them.  I do not think He cared whether or not His ministry got messy.  I think what mattered most to Jesus was that the woman with the issue of blood knew if she only got close enough to make contact her life would be different, that the Roman officer knew Jesus–a carpenter–had authority he did not fully understand but he could trust, that Peter–one of Christ’s closest disciples–kept trying, kept coming back.  I believe “relationship” answers many of the questions all our answers  can’t.  And, as soon as we begin to let relationship mess with all our “answers” we will begin to see what it is like to walk with God, to experience the joy of the Lord, and to know the presence of the Spirit.  Relationship does not answer or do away with our questions but it can often make our need to find the answers feel a whole lot less urgent.


  1. Hello Minow: And I thought minows were only good for catching crappy and smallmouth bass.

    This is the first time I’ve visited you web site and now I wish I had sooner.

    I especially liked what wrote in the last paragraph starting with “Personally, I do not think Jesus gave much thought to whether or not the Pharisees or the Romans for that matter, thought He had any of the answers, let alone all of them. I do not think He cared whether or not His ministry got messy…”

    I surely couldn’t of said it any better than that. We have not been taught in institutional church that everything in the Kingdom of God flows through relationship and living loved and living love.


  2. Well Said Minnow! I love how you said, “Pretending we have all the answers builds walls not relationships”. That really sums it up.

    I think that you have One miss-spelling. “Once again I am going to SENT you on over to The Carnival in My Head blog”.

    We are NOT perfect and that is what makes being with others SO EXCITING. I myself am not perfect and do not have all the answers. But, the more you communicate with others the more answers you will find. Andrew Stanton (director and writer of Finding Nemo and WALL-E) talked about his story process getting so much stronger when he had others who helped him by questioning him and pitched better Ideas. Andrew Stanton by himself did not have many of the answers, but the more communion he had the more answers he found to the point that he was able to make some brilliant films.

  3. Thanks for catching the type-o Striker. I fixed it. I do agree that when we are doing creative projects together group think is often better. I think fellowshiop is slightly different though. We aren’t always focused on improving the “product” with fellowship. One of the most difficult lessons God taught me was to simply sit with someone in pain–not try and fix them or improve their situation or…JUST sit. Sometimes what is wrong or painful can not be fixed or changed. It needs only to be endured–together.

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