In January I had the opportunity to hear Bishop Scott Jones speak several times. It was unusual for me to have this much contact with the bishop and I want to share with you some of the things that I heard him say that have made an impact on me. Bishop Jones said…
I don’t need preachers going off crazy, doing stupid things.
This quote was in response to a question about the too common occurence of leading out of fear. Jones’ suggestion was that fear should not guide leadership, but taht sometimes fear helps temper ideas that are not going to be good. I believe that this gets played out in many different contexts – from new ministries to finance to personal boundaries.
Well played, sir. Well played.
9 replies on “Bishop Jones Said… (1 of 4)”
Hmm, I wonder what he might have said to John Wesley who went out street preaching, or when he started ordaining people himself. They always say one mans trash is another mans treasure, perhaps one mans stupid is another man’s following God. Just a thought to stir the pot.
Many “out of the box” ideas at first were thought to be “stupid things” and there are many things in the world that can make us “sore afraid.” Even Jesus did some “stupid out-of-the-box things” that the disciples (and the world) did not understand at the time. Before you do something stupid, make sure you form a fact-finding committee, first. Just another “stir of the pot”.
My prayer while a District Superintendent was that pastors would not do anything stupid and that congregations would not do anything mean. That prayer was not always fully realized in either dimension!
There is a difference, I believe, between stupidity and “out of the box” ministry. I believe that “out of the box” ministry is an exceedingly, though perhaps unorthodox and even audacious way of doing things.
Once upon a time, I think there was someone who said something about being “wise as serpents, innocent as doves.” Perhaps that is applicable somewhere along the line.
I guess my point is, that Bishops in the day of Wesley saw his actions (both street preaching and his ordination activities) as being beyond stupid, but actually outright dangerous. Mark, what would happen today if one of our Pastors started ordaining people? More stirring.
Wesley himself found it a challenge to begin “field preaching,” and it was against his own better judgment (or at least his own experience up to that time). His ordination of clergy for the Methodist Episcopal Church certainly did not meet the criterion of his brother’s approval. However, Wesley’s actions were informed by a thorough understanding of the tradition of which he was a part, both the more focused Anglican experience and the broader Christian tradition. Pastors “these days” can and do, indeed” “go off crazy, doing stupid things”–often the most elaborate, self-persuasive rationale.
Carlos, Mark and Jim – I have enjoyed the comments thus far. I think that doing stupid things implies not really thinking about it. Crazy and out of the box I find to be more subjective. There is definitely need for out of the box thinking and acting.
After thinking more about this, the phrase I should have use is “outside of the box” ideas. I can understand where Bishop Jones is coming from. I guess what made me uneasy was his choice of words: “preacher” “crazy” and “stupid.” I don’t know the context of the message, maybe they were used as “shock value” to get your attention. I would never call my pastors, “preachers,” I think that is a little archaic. “Crazy” and “stupid” seem to be contrary to all that we teach about building self-esteem. And we will probably need a Psychologist to discuss to area of “fear” and what it does to us.
I agree with Mark Conard’s statement: There’s a difference between doing something stupid and doing something outside the box.
I disagree with Bishop Jones on this comment. Fear should never stop us. Never. Never! That fear he speaks of, psychologically, is the fear of breaking social taboos. Fearful leading is about “safe” church that has led us down a path of apostasy from Jesus’ teachings.
I’m not saying that Jones would adhere to “safe church” as I believe he was speaking off the cuff. Nor am I putting him down as I like some of his writings (and they’ve influenced this thought itself); however, in analyzing the comment we have the luxury of pulling it apart, chewing on it, and spitting it back out.
In fairness to him, I’d be interested to hear his take on this after his initial comment.
I think the church DESPERATELY needs some pastors doing what many DS’s and Bishops fear…shaking up the church – even to the point of addition by subtraction.
Now to be sure, stupidity is the 8th deadly sin, and I’ve met a lot of stupid pastors (tic).
I’ve only heard Bishop Jones speak once… but my sense is he might imply “doing stupid things” as actions that would be more self-serving to the clergyperson rather than building the kingdom. What I hear in his comment is that he might rather a pastor/preacher be in the news for an “out-of-the-box” approach as opposed to a fall into some type of immorality, which seems, sadly, more common and distracting to his work as a bishop.