The Disruptive Prophet

Equilibrium serves most of us well. Its experience provides a sense of balance, or at least rhythm. When forces tip the scale in one direction ore the other we may find ourselves off balance, our equilibrium is disrupted. Maybe we need more disruption to find peace.

Reading the Sacred Text often leaves us with opposing notions of the experience of life. Billy Graham offered more than a generation, Steps to Peace with God. Yet, it is a bit of work to reconcile peace as the most desired state when Jesus told his followers he came not to bring peace but disruption, a sword to be exact.

If we not careful we could read the Scriptures and come away thinking Jesus is a contrarian. We all have friends who serve the role of contrarian. You may be that person who fits that description among your group of friends.

When I began to write online, blog, about ten years ago or more, I fumbled for that right title. “What tagline would be appropriate?”, I wondered. I have noted elsewhere that I liked Father Richard Rohr’s description of the prophetic as, the edge of the inside.

He writes that the prophetic position is one that challenges the center and welcomes those coming and going at the edge, at the door that tends to mark some inside and others outside. There is a real sense that the prophetic considers positions less than final. Some may move out from the center finding it substantively empty, an empty ideology. Others may move in toward the center bringing a re-formulation that could re-invigorate the whole, even moving the center to experience vibrancy, even offering something of substance.

The prophetic position is not one of certainty but challenge, a source of disruption.

Walter Brueggemann had a book published early this year that describes three urgent prophetic tasks, Reality, Grief, Hope: Three Urgent Prophetic Tasks. I am waiting for it to arrive any day. The book title triggered my interest as speaking to my own sense of position. Do not read that I consider myself a prophet, but to have an interest in the prophetic position. The video inspired the click through to buy.

It is Brueggemann’s description of the prophet and the God of the prophet as both disruptive forces that captured my imagination. Reading the Scriptures is nothing short of disruptive – to both those inside and outside. Maybe the point is to challenge our self-serving equilibrium, our sense of balance. I know that reading the Gospels keeps me off balance. Every time I read with a sense of confirming my own givens, I find something that says, “Not so fast.” Transformation will not come if all we do is read to solidify our own bias. Sooner or later the Disruptive God will speak through a disruptive prophetic who is in a strategic positions to say, “Not so fast.”

See what you think of this teaser.

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About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.