Sunday, November 15, 2009
Kyle Ray at College Wesleyan today
Kyle Ray preached this morning at my church (College Wesleyan). Kyle will be the new Senior Pastor at the Wesleyan church in Kentwood Michigan, Kentwood Community Church when their founding pastor, Wayne Schmidt becomes the head of IWU’s seminary after Christmas.
Kyle preached on Mark 6 -- that intriguing story of the dancing girl asking for John the Baptist’s head on a platter instead of “half the kingdom.” He focused on how Herod gave in partly because he was worried about how he would look to the crowd if he defaulted on his promise. Kyle did a clever thing by adding two other scriptures on the topic from the gospel of Mark (ch 15 where Pilate also feared the crowd) and Jesus in Mark 1 (who resisted the pressures of fame and the crowd). His point—instead of worrying about pleasing the people worry more about pleasing an audience of one—God.
Kyle’s narrative-practical approach got me thinking all afternoon about the gruesome story, even beyond anything he raised directly in the sermon. I’ve been pondering…
• What would make a guy offer up to half of his kingdom? (a sexy dance?)
• What would make a girl ignore getting half-a-kingdom and choose instead some guy’s head (revenge?)
• What are the motivations that are even greater than wealth (Sex? Revenge?)
• How culpable was the girl—for obeying her mother?
• What were the cultural conventions of that world in such an offer—was it expected the girl would merely say, “Naaahhh I did it all for you?”
• How does this dancing girl compare to Ester in a similar situation?
• Are there vows and promises one shouldn’t keep—e.g. “The first thing that comes through that door I will offer up as a sacrifice to you Lord.”
• When is peer pressure a good thing—like a a Christian college?
• If we parents and professors train our children to “yield to the crowd” when it comes to church and family rules and expectations how will they respond when their crowd changes and yielding takes them the wrong way.
• To what extent should parents allow (encourage?) their children to reject some conventional rules on the idea that “a little rebellion is a good thing.”
• What do I do (or not do) that is mostly a result of fear of what others might think?
• In a democratically organized church, to what extent should a pastor “cater to the crowd” to survive and when should a pastor simply defy the crowd?