Church history, ourstory, is littered with the debris from lay or ordained phoneys preying on congregations or the wider church. A few years back, I had a personal lesson in what Jesus means when he says we can tell a genuine prophet from a phoney by the fruit they produce. Our district was visited by a rather ‘different’ young fellow who actually sounded as if he might be the prophet he claimed to be. Other clergy & I were intrigued, &, against our natural inclination, impressed. Until, fortunately quite quickly, we had opportunity to see that what he was doing didn’t fit with what he was claiming. Is it only 'neo-Pentecostal' movements that seem vulnerable to itinerant wind-bags out for the pickings of prestige? Only they who are seemingly unable to discern them as thorns & thistles, spiritual light-weights? Surely not! What about the phoneys we all work with? Work under? Are set over? What about the phoney within us all? Jesus can only do what he does for us because he puts his whole self where his mouth is. He’s that authentic! What’s our ‘Authenticity Quotient’?
The warning of being summarily dismissed by Jesus is hard to square with that view of him as the All-Accepting One we regularly promote. To need to call us a person who ‘works at lawlessness’ must be the last straw for Jesus, but a natural consequence of abusing God's law of love, failing to be authentic as God is authentic.
The story of house-building is pared to the bare bones. Imagine Jesus
telling it, spinning it out for a rapt audience. Jesus is a superb story-teller.
He enters into the stories of his listeners and invites them into his story,
God’s story. Are we presently trying to build / prop up some ‘house’ (a
proposal / programme / scheme of any sort) on sand in our life, congregation,
diocese, etc.? What do we need to dig out and replace with a Jesus-foundation?
What is the particular story we need to enter into and let God remake in
us from below the ground up?