Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fussy, fastidious, nit-picking

The fun of reading one's scriptures in a different language is -- you see things with a slightly different perspective. For example, let's look at Yacub mektubu 3:1:

Kardeşlerim, biz öğreticilerin daha titiz bir yargılamadan geçeğimizi biliyorusunuz. Bu nedenle, çoğunuz öğretici olmayın.

My friends, you know that we teachers are subject to a stricter judgement. For this reason (bu nedenle), many of us (çoğunuz) teachers (öğretici) should not become (olmayın).

Daha titiz was the phrase that caught my attention this morning. Daha, of course, means "more." Titiz, "fussy, fastidious, particular." I'd been thinking for 38 years that the "stricter judgement" teachers struggled with was God's severe restraints upon those who would be shepherds of His flock. This morning, though, I got to wondering -- are would-be teachers and guides also setting themselves up as targets for petty sniping from other people?

In either case, painting a target on one's chest may not be the wisest course of action.

The problem in American Protestant culture is, the notion that the vocational ministry is somehow a superior calling, the badge of true and total commitment to the Lord and His Kingdom. I was talking to a young man the other day who is earning a four-year Batchelor of Divinity degree. Joining the ranks of those two freshly minted preacher boys who graduate every year for each available pulpit. If you are a guy who is lacking in tact, you ask such an one, "But what can you actually do? What kind of useful work are you trained for?"

My ambition is to remind folks that God's Kingdom is at least as big as His universe. Every worthy vocation, every honest line of endeavor, contributes to the honor of His Name, when we do it well.

Vincent Van Gogh would have been far happier had he realized that he could be more fruitful as a good painter than as a lousy preacher.

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