Posts Tagged ‘Change’

Judge Cycle 5

Posted: January 14, 2019 by Ty in Brunch & Bible
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As you work your way through the stories in Judges, it can begin to feel like a never ending loop of a bad run of Coronation Street, when the writers ran out of a bit of oomph. I mean, the cycle itself can be rather tedious, and I can hear the reader going, well how does this apply to today for surely we are not that dense or in a theocracy.

Yes and no.

It applies because it begins to tease out a change cycle. Truly, what is the Deuteronic history stories but a story of change and evolution of a collection of tribes. From slavery, to wanderings to establishing norms, to trying to figure out life within family dynamics (as it seems each nation is a cousin’s descendants). In any change cycle fear is a major thing, and that is why I believe there is this cycle issue in Judges (and today) for we do not want to leave what is comfortable for us. We see this in Ambilech’s story (Judges 9-10) where he appeals to the fear in change. Okay, let’s get real, change is a grief cycle, and as such we work through the stages of grief. Whether you are a Kubler-Ross fan, or a Senge, U Theory fan it is a journey:

Image result for kubler ross grief model

Image result for u theory

Throughout the journey of Judges, the message back to the tribes, to the person remains the same. Here are our constants, trust in that. Move forward in what we know is right, and what we know is wrong is to be cast aside whether it is old or new. It becomes a cycle, and yes, we must release the past eventually, but the processes of the past that only serve no purpose (like the old idiom don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater).

I would state that the moments of peace at the end of a Judge Cycle is the nation crystallizing or prototyping yet just not ready to step into performing. They cycle back to try again, it may take several runs, but each time something new is performing, something new is discovered that needs to be let go, as with Jephthah’s cycle of being a judge (Judges 11-12).

What I love is that it shows the challenge of accepting the new, the first line is that he is a son of a prostitute. Now, many in the ancient world or even today will not admit this profession exists due to patriarchy and oppression. But definitely in the ancient times without a man to “own” them, it is the route women were left with. Jephthah’s very birth was casting light on the darkness the tribes refusing to move forward in care and equality was doing to their own brethren.

It lays out the horrors turning away from the Law had wrecked on the tribes. So is this a statement for the need for legalism? No, for what is at the core of the Law, this is what needs to be remembered for even in the Torah it comes down to the Shema, which is boiled down to Love.

Are our actions in society out of love for one another?

Is it rooted in compassion and kindness? Knowing that we all are created with inherent worth, or have we simply commodified ourselves. The challenge of the Judge’s lineage in this story showing that someone had fallen into a societal label game and was cast aside. Do we do that today? With our medical codes? Diagnosis? Territorial-religious-economic stratification? Race? Gender? All become points of those on the in and the out.

What is the truth? Something we have known for thousands of years. We are all in this together, all the same, and it is when we stray from love and create false labels that we are hit with war, famine, and death. When hate overtakes love.

And no, it is not a quick transition or change. For in change as it involves the ickiness of life, and those dastardly emotions. It is about being present, and understanding that things will not be as they have always been amen amen. Rather it is knowing whether in the transition is it healthy or not? Does it honour our shared humanity or not? Are we able to let go, and let in what is being formed?

After him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. He had thirty sons, and thirty daughters he gave in marriage outside his clan, and thirty daughters he brought in from outside for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years. 10 Then Ibzan died and was buried at Bethlehem.

11 After him Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel, and he judged Israel ten years. 12 Then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried at Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.

13 After him Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel. 14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys, and he judged Israel eight years. 15 Then Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried at Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.

-Judges 12:8-15 (English Standard Version)

And a few more cycles of inquisition, fighting back against the letting in, holding on to that which needs to be let go of. For what is the stories of Judges, but the stories of individuals and groups wrestling with the answer to the hardest question in life:

Who am I (We)?

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Judge Cycle 1

Posted: January 10, 2019 by Ty in Brunch & Bible
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As the Book of Joshua closes with the death of Moses successor, the people enter the land of Canaan. And what is dis you ask? The land of Canaan is cursed. It is believed Ham, son of Noah, went there and married a descendant of Cain. Okay, fancy old school names so who are Ham and Cain? Cain was the first murderer, marked to walk the earth and receive no harm forevermore. Ham, he was Noah’s second born, and after the flood got his Dad drunk and anally raped him, and was thusly cursed. An aside, as it was believed that ancients who lived in Africa were of darker skin (surprise!) texts such as these cursing in Judges and the Canaan were and have been used to shore up religious beliefs for such things as slavery, apartheid and white supremacy, which is simply bad theology.

The book of Judges continues the blood shed in the Hebrew Bible. It is tales of war, conquest, showing one’s God as supreme to another nations God. It mean that there was barbaric actions (though today, we simply use better more destructive-deadly technology and our “gods” may be ethereal or ideological). So yes, there was this genocidal type writing as nations fell, and were subsumed (Judges 1). It was why the original Exodus 10 Commandments stated no God before me, but then in this Deuteronic history it had shifted to No God but me.

The narrative shifts from battle cries of victory to sinking into the abyss (Judges 2:1-16). They have been brought through the dark times of slavery (one can read it metaphysically as addiction, illness, whatever separates you from your true self as the people of Israel were under the Pharaoh). They have gone through the wilderness journey to purge away that which separates them from God, with God going with them and providing daily. A great story, and allegory for our own transfiguration journey. They have come to the cusp of claiming their true selves, or as the ancient stories stated it, the Promised Land, redeeming the false cursed and affirming the divine within if you will.

And the response is a relapse.

Back to affirming the false self.

Recycling that which separates from our true nature, but is comfortable, letting the gremlins reign.

Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them.

-Judges 2:16 (English Standard Version)

We have created our own Baals in this life. The complete and utter inept concept of independence. That what I do only effects me, and I have all I need to work myself out of anything. What bullocks. We are an interdependent cosmos. An interconnected ecology and biosphere. Yes, we are also an interdependent species that needs people to play parts to ensure all aspects of society flourish.That is as we enter into our true self, our whole self, living our authentic vocational calling…then we are resonating properly with our divine self.

The judges were there to guide a nation. Few will come to speak into our lives in the same way to aid us in getting back to our true nature (Judges 2:16-23).  It is a cycle, but is that not the cycle of the pilgrimage to the heart of the sacred for ourselves? Each life milestone we have those mentors that guide us through? We have those that speak into our lives to aid us in going through this recycle to go deeper into the authentic us? Each step being something new is born?

Who are the judges in your own life?

Those that aid you into a new you.


I wonder as I read the closing of the Epistle of 1 John if the disciple John knew the change that was to come by the time he wrote Epistle of 2 John. That is, did this ancient elder know that what had been built as community around the Love Commandment, would be changing through structures of Christendom. What was he thinking? He still wrote to draw people back to the original. Some would say that when it comes to communities changing, it needs to be managed. It needs to be strategized, the acceptable loss, the acceptable net gain. What money would go down, what money will go up is the 21st Century motif. Will this change upset what people gather for? Whom will be lost? Are the big donors still happy with us?

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

-Epistle of 1 John 5:1-5 (English Standard Version)

Faith. It is a key word. For faith, is a journey. A journey where the journey itself can come to mean more in our personal and communal development than the destination itself. Also, lends itself to the understanding that the journey is renewal, as experience brings new understandings.

John, knew his community would go on a new journey as the Christianities became Christendom. He wrote for those who would enter not a change to manage, but a grief journey. Somethings were going to be lost. Somethings may remain. But a new birth for the communities of the Cosmic Christ awaited and had started. It was a grief journey, which is why he was bringing the community back to core values of understanding of who they were.

 This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify:the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

-Epistle of 1 John 5:6-12 (English Standard Version)

As 1 John aligns almost as a commentary to the Gospel of John, written to the Johannine Community I ponder this passage of remembrance. Bringing the hearer and reader of this epistle to the story of Nicodemus, we know in the Gospel of John 3 . Is it a reminder to fall in line with others who hold the same beliefs? Probably. But, what if it is also a reminder to community members that sometimes one must come in the cloak of night to uncover the truth. That is, even though an institution tells, espouses and enforces one belief structure does not mean it may be true. That one is commissioned to seek truth, true self and holy community, as Nicodemus did.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God[a] will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.

18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.

19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

-Epistle of 1 John 5:13-21 (English Standard Version)

What is sin? If we remember the teachings the disciple John brought forth in his community and writings it was centered on the Love Commandment. The sacrament of service at the Last Supper (foot washing). The fact, that each of us experiences the life and teachings of Brother Jesus as the Beloved Disciple, the one so loved Jesus’ mother was entrusted to us to care for. It is that esteem, that inherent worth. The true self.

A familiar refrain on this site. Yet it is an important one. Sin is when we let our own shadows, gremlins, saboteurs or egos to take hold of us and lead us into our own destruction. If we are serving, we serve out of that darkness, not the light given to us. It is succumbing to loves beside our divine being in oneness with the Holy Mystery and neighbour. It is succumbing to the love of self (pride), money, power, to name but a few. It is the succumbing to control of others, not love of others. Even if the destination appears holy, the journey is one of destruction.

These are the idols John is warning his community about. Ensure they stay true to who they are. Do not surrender to a path that was contrary to who they are.

This is the grief journey. For the outcome is about whether or not what is birthed as new is not just sustainable, but livable.

John knows the journey ahead, and is letting his community know what it means to be who they are meant to be.


Many wondered why Jacobs chose to remain at St. Jude’s. It was a struggling parish in some respects with fluctuating membership due to the transient nature of renters and owners in the area. Yet it was home. As he would say, it was like having the world on the outside of your doorstep. It was also nice for the way the church had been built long ago. No one really knew how old it was, as the archives room had burned a while ago. It happened the last time, about 20 years back when stupidity such as the red X on the doors yesterday had happened. Jacobs had not been around then as the padre, just a reporter. But things change. Some nights he missed the old days as a reporter or outreach worker. Yet, in many ways settling in at St. Jude’s had changed things for him.

But the living quarters for the minister, what is termed the manse, were actually built in as part of the building it an upper back area. Which made the commute to work nice for him and rather quick. On nights like this when he couldn’t sleep due to the outside sirens, and the sound of the police helicopter on patrol it allowed him to quietly stroll down to the sanctuary and sit before the altar. The moonlight shinning through the stain glass window on the western side of St. Jude. A dip of his fingers into the baptismal font, making the sign of the cross as he stepped inside. Moon had been right, that stirring the pot he did not know what was going to come of that, but he had declared war on unsavoury elements that were threatening to the community.

His eyes in the dimly lit moonlight noted the square gray hairline of the brush-cut that was one of his Elders. Retired Constable James Sean. Jacobs smiled ever so slightly. The former cop was always skittish when Jacobs decided to stir the pot. He sat beside his friend. “James.”

“Padre. Been hearing weird things about some crazy cleric.” James said, as he took a pull from his flask. Out of courtesy he offered it to his padre, who James knew was 20ish years sober.

“Such as?” Jacobs said feigning ignorance.

James placed the flask back in his leather coat inside pocket. Even retired he still wore his white shirt starched, and black dress slacks. He missed his uniform on the beat, and had crafted himself a new one. Jacobs stated it made his friend look like a door to door Bible salesman. “Padre, you asked me to be an elder in this refuge for hopeless causes not because I may or may not believe all the schlock but cause you needed someone to keep you honest you said.” Jacobs nodded at this assessment. Many of the Elders, like the core of volunteers, had been the stable core forever and as such were more about maintaining a status quo than to make any radical change. To not be a lighthouse, as much as just a prairie house. It was how most churches had gone, with struggling to keep the lights on and forgetting what they were meant to be. Most clergy had settled into the work a day world and happy with that status quo as it did not create many emergencies or brush fires that needed putting out. Most that shook the boat, were quietly or passive aggressively ostracized. Jacobs had never played that game, even though others saw the wisdom and heart he led with. When asked what was next, he steadily answered why worry about tomorrow, when today we are living. Or something else to that effect, not caring about accolades or titles just about the work of helping.

“Well, most figure at any given time you are the smartest man in the room, so why in hell are you being so stupid at poking this bear?!” James question statement. James hadn’t settled well into retirement, he still liked a good mystery and wanted to help. It was why he did some of the social outreach at the church. It still made him feel relevant in his old beat.

“They came into a place that should be safe. They took life.” Jacobs stated it in a slow and low monotone whisper that James’ had to strain to hear. “I made a covenant with this church and community, I take that seriously. They are not going to take the kids from us.” James nodded slowly. He had known Jacobs for many years.

“What do we need to do?” James said.

Jacobs looked at his old friend. “I’m going to keep stirring the pot. See what shakes out.”

James chuckled. “God help us all.”


Values. It is a scary word. It speaks to what we, well value. What is important to us, as individuals, a community. They can be used to divide if the value is about control, power, etc. Or they can be life giving. John is writing to a community in a constant flux of change. They are in the mystery of the journey of life. Having re-discovered the Love Commandment, and figuring out what it means to live that way. What needs to go away? What needs to stay? What needs to be brought in?

It is a change process.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears[a] we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s[b] seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

-Epistle of 1 John 3:1-10 (English Standard Version)

As we know, change is about loss. Even positive change of better employment, goal achievement, birth of a child, discovery of true self, sobriety, graduation, the list can go on. There is grief, for what happens with the change is what was known is gone. Let that sit for a while as we reflect on this part of sin and deceit from these first ten verses. It is about clinging to what was, knowing it is over, but not being able to grow upon the foundation. It is also about one’s personal and communal values. Has the change created something you can still be apart of? Has the change, literally or figuratively changed the vocation you are called to? Values are icky. They are hard mushy conversations many want to avoid. Much like understanding that change is a grief journey. May be short, may be long. But it is about honouring and letting go of the old, being present in the now, and living into the new birth.

 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers,[c] that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God,[d]and God[e] in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

-Epistle of 1 John 3:11-24 (English Standard Version)

What is newly birthed? Is it a new birth completely or a rebirth of the old with impediments, sludge burnt away? Are you comfortable after the change? Does it still resonate with who you truly know yourself to be? This is the metaphor used with the story of Cain. A move from sibling rivalry. That is yearning for what your neighbour has, living in discontent, making everything a monetary value. Or bringing people down to a number, in churches and non-profits it can be seen as simply a donor line item of their value based on what they gave. For populist movements politically it is about taxpayers, those that pay taxes are the only needs that matter in society- not children, seniors, those with disabilities… 2000 years on from Jesus of Nazareth’s wanderings, teachings and living out the Love Commandment, and worlds built supposedly on these pillars. We are still having adventures in missing the point.

Change is scary. It is scary due to the fact it is grieving. You feel. You have to acknowledge feelings. Acknowledge values. Gut check. Sometimes it is stepping out into a new reality even if you have no clue how it will work. But the path has been illuminated before you.

Do you follow the light? or rest in the darkness?

Do you manage the change and maintain…

Or jouney through grief to a rebirth?


It’s funny when most people think of politicians they picture the bourgeois that needs to be overthrown due to its corruptness. Not a high ranking profession, believe in some instances with recent revelations certain clergy fall into the same distrustful category. But as Lee steps off the bus outside of the small truck stop for my meeting, Lee knows this Member of the Legislative Assembly is different.

The servers wear pink scrubs, the walls are a pastel pink, with a model train that goes around the roof. In a corner booth sits my coffee companion. Lee slides in and turn a cup over sending a waitress over with a fill up. Melanie Moon is an abnormality. “Ms. Moon.”

“Please, Lee, call me Mel.” Stated the reluctant politician. She was dressed in a Montreal Canadiens hoody and jeans with her hair in a braid. Wisps of silver was visible in the red, that only highlighted her face freckles to Jacobs and, her dimples which made her appear younger than her years. Jacobs knew in phone contact until they met her, many thought due to her young sounding voice she was quite young.

Please call me, Mel was a by-election candidate in the area after the dynasty ended. She ran as a Social Credit candidate which baffled many. As she spoke to the media on her by-election run, it was due to a Great Uncle she had met at a family reunion when she was a teenager who had spent hours with her teaching her the ins and outs of the political system, but also Social Credit. She signed up then. She won a by-election which then saw a general election 10 months later, and she retained her seat. A party that was supposed to be D.O.A., and here she was. Then travesty hit in her mind as her party changed names to appeal to a very specific so-con movement, becoming the Pro-Life party. Mel had not decided if she was going to run again, definitely not with that party that had drifted from what her values were. She had received permission from the speaker to complete her term as a SoCred, as she wanted to honour her Great Uncle and mentor that way. “Can I guess by stirring the pot it has to do with the C.M. death?” Mel, had attended St. Jude’s since before she ran, she enjoyed Jacobs’ panentheistic-original blessing take on her family faith. It made it come alive to her being able to openly debate, discuss and discover what God was doing for her now, especially with the change looming she was playing cards close to her chest. She also understood that any change was a process and journey of grief, she felt the heart pain for this transition.

Lee sipped his black coffee. It was strong enough to melt a spoon, never mind let it stand up. He ordered a breakfast special- scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns and raisin toast. Mel just chuckled as asked for it to be times two. “Who gets to expense this?” Lee joked as he asked for a refill on the coffee.

“I think its your turn.” Mel said. “Now, about stirring the pot?”

Lee chuckled, he scratched the whiskers turning into a beard it had been a bit since his last shave. The salt was over taking the pepper making him just look old not wise. “Decided to take the fight to those that were, up to nefarious deeds.” His crows feet crinkled when he winked at her. Mel was never to sure what to do at breakfast out with a cleric.

“I heard about the drug dealer take down at the park.” Mel said. “I also saw what happened to the church doors.”  Part of the SoCred history was a focus on personal salvation, and Christianity. Sadly, like the Social Gospel movement that gave the country the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (which begat the New Democratic Party) eugenics had been a miserable sin of the ideologies. Mel and Lee had spent time discussing how to exorcise that particular demon from the movement St. Jude’s was trying to renew. “Fuck Nazis.”

Lee chuckled. “Yeah, I miss the days when anti-fascism was the default setting for society, and not a question on a multiple choice test.” Lee had spoken openly from the pulpit about many things the church needed to repent from, including its role in white supremacy. Some of the Elders and parishioners also knew that the Padre’s face that looked like an old boxer’s was not because of boxing but due to years of street fighting with hate movements in Canada. As Jacobs was fond of saying `I wasn’t born a padre’.

“And after cleaning the doors?” Mel asked. Lee told the tale of the alleged assault in the mall bathroom of the sex trafficking recruiter. Noting that the non-uniform uniform was the same as the dealer. “And what do you hope comes from the pot stirring?”

Jacobs’ grins a grin that says `I have no clue, but it’s going to be alright and one heckuva ride.’ “Honestly, it’s like doing theology, just bouncing around the darkness looking for where the light can poke through.”

Melanie Moon laughed. “Ever think you should have been a private eye?”

 


Is it adventures in missing the point? Or is Pseudo-Paul simply locked into the era’s fascination with patriarchy? That is what comes through in the passage on leadership, as with all early church evidence to the contrary in Ephesus, the writer focuses only on men in leadership. Let us expand this thought to character look at all who would seek to serve and lead. Character traits of kindness, compassion, integrity, strength, wisdom…do you see any others needed? There is a need within leadership to aid in the transition of change in healthy ways. For some it may be aiding them in transitioning to new roles or new opportunities, to others it may be aiding them in growing within their role to meet the new challenges ahead.

Within the church the roles are focused on growing the community in healthy ways. Caring for those who would fall into the have not categories of the world, but also deepen one’s own holistic development as a disciple of the Way.

Pseudo-Paul brings these traits to Leaders (overseers/elders/bishops) and Deacons to the young Timothy:

This is a trustworthy saying: “If someone aspires to be a church leader,[a] he desires an honorable position.” So a church leader must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife.[b] He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach.He must not be a heavy drinker[c] or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?

-Epistle of 1 Timothy 3:1-5 (New Living Translation)

Is it personal aspiration? Is it a calling? One would hope it would be the small still voice within, but others in the community seeing the character as well for the individual to be called. What are the traits one is looking for? Faithful in relationships (wife can also be translated as one woman); be able to be in control; apply knowledge (wisdom); be seen as a good person within and without the community. Has to be willing to have a space for hospitality and not one who beats his spouse or family members or anyone else. That is of keen mind and heart.
There are things within that have been used to harm those in office. For we expect perfection. We create the holier than thou sin list, but don’t stop to look at the person before us. The person before us may be divorced and re-married, this is not what the passage is speaking of. It is speaking of the practice of being present and faithful in your relationship now, not in seeking to have concubines and mistresses as was the norm of leaders of the day. In regards to respect of children, some have short shifted this to be that children must also be believers. This is not what it is saying, it is speaking of a person who is respected and loved within their family. Doing the work of parenting, the tough work of teaching, mentoring, coaching and raising a person to become who they are meant to be in this world. One would hope by the example set, the same belief systems would become part of the other, but there is no guarantee on that.

A church leader must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall.[d] Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap.

-1 Timothy 3:6-7 (NLT)

New believer. What does this term mean? For some it is amount of time within the faith or movement. But it goes deeper than that, for someone with a whole life in could still be seen as a new believer. For I do not tend to discern depth of faith by amount of years, but rather by the fruits of the belief system. What gifts are being shown and used? Is it growing the world in a better way or not? How would you define a new believer if you were looking for spiritual leaders?

In the same way, deacons must be well respected and have integrity. They must not be heavy drinkers or dishonest with money. They must be committed to the mystery of the faith now revealed and must live with a clear conscience. 10 Before they are appointed as deacons, let them be closely examined. If they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons.

11 In the same way, their wives[e] must be respected and must not slander others. They must exercise self-control and be faithful in everything they do.

12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife, and he must manage his children and household well. 13 Those who do well as deacons will be rewarded with respect from others and will have increased confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.

-1 Timothy 3:8-13 (NLT)

What are deacons? At the simplest level it is like the financial wing of the church. Yet it is also more. In many traditions that still have deacons they are the ones commissioned to teach and do social work. Yes, this is the leaders in the human services wing of the church. The opening is speaking of the Deacons not being active in addiction or anything that can cause temptation to, well, essentially do the Judas Iscariot and seek out other means of earning money.

It is looking at life for the gifts necessary, but also the willingness to serve. Their focus is on the care of the members, but also the community. Out of these movements and the religious orders we would see things such as nursing, social work and public school teaching emerge within the secular world strongly.

The purpose the writer is getting at, once you remove the second century b.s.; is that when one is called to be in a role of leadership they and their families need to understand that they will come under scrutiny. Beyond that, it cannot be due to a love of money, power or esteem that leads you to take the role. It has to be an authentic desire to do the work. For it is in doing the work that your true legacy will be left.

When I have done the work it is nice to hear from those who are above you about the good work being done. What really hits home for me, is when those who I am called to serve share the impact we have made in life together on the journey.

This passage is a simple one in that it allows one to begin to not do a mental checklist of qualifications, but more importantly do a heart check on where you are being guided to serve.

Where is your heart leading your vocation?