Academic Degrees Are The Matrix
Churches tend to include requirements for advanced degrees in
their pulpit selection process. This has no biblical model, as
Jesus pulled grungy blue-collar day workers from obscurity to be
His disciples, appointing a fisherman as the rock upon which His
church would be built. Letters of academia are the invention of
man and they, like everything else of this Matrix world, will be
burned away. They have absolutely no meaning to God, who judges
our motives--not our words or even our actions. I Samuel 16 lays
out the model for pastoral selection, a model that is routinely
ignored by most every church on the planet as they lay out
strict requirements for academic achievement, credit score (of
all things), and years of experience.
had no formal education and absolutely no ministerial experience
when He began His ministry. He had the anointing and blessing of
God Almighty. That is the evidence a church should be looking
for, and it is rarely found in the candidate's paperwork. David
was a boy of no accomplishment whatsoever, thought unworthy to
even be brought before God's prophet. He was absolutely the last
guy anyone would have even considered as a candidate. The people
would have laughed him out of the room. More notably: David
didn't seek the job. He didn't campaign for it, he didn't push
Saul out of the way for it. He had opportunities to kill Saul,
certainly to talk about Saul behind his back. David did none of
those things, sparing Saul's life even as Saul continually tried
to kill him. King Saul initially considered David a joke, a
child to be exploited for his gifts and his battlefield valor.
This is the bible. This is the book we claim to live our lives
by. Yet, The Matrix Church routinely runs its selection progress
like a corporate headhunter, routinely missing God's Man, God's
choice, as they interview these clowns in an unbiblical manner
based on unbiblical criteria.
The unbiblical selection process most of our churches use to
hire a pastor is the main reason for the overall decline of the
church itself. I
know far too many men with advanced degrees who are both
ignorant and stupid and, worse, without love. Which, by biblical
definition, means without Christ. And you folks keep flying
these jackasses in and hiring them as pastors so they can boss
you around, spend your money, and keep your church running in
circles. Find the man God has ordained to your church. Worry
about the paper hanging on the wall later.
The bigger problem is the pulpit search is usually relegated to
the least spiritual among you. The biblical model shows us, when
the people choose the king—a guy who seems eminently
qualified—he turns out to be a disaster. But then God sends His
man, Samuel, who looks with God’s eyes. When you look for a
pastor, look with God’s eyes. Stop living in The Matrix,
applying the world’s standards. God is not in their advanced
degrees or even in their preaching performance. The proof of a
pastor is a pastor’s heart—God’s love being evidenced and
manifested—something few pulpit committees ever look for.
You might find a gas station attendant better qualified to be
pastor, if he has a pastor’s heart and God’s love. You can
always send him to school and make him the academic you want him
to be, but academics alone should not be the focus of your search
criteria, because it tends to exclude the very people God can
A note to would-be pastors: there's nothing wrong with sending
out your resume or making phone calls or networking or whatever
it is you do to land a pastor gig. But, the truth of the matter
is, the ministry that God has for you will recognize you when
they see you. They will know, right away, that you are the one
God sent. This ministry will likely not look anything at all
like the church you imagined you'd pastor, or the work you
imagined you'd be doing. Just as churches must open their hearts
to God's choice, so must you open your heart to God's purpose.
Be prayerful, be vigilant. Look with God's eyes, not yours. Your
work, your ministry or church, will recognize your gifts, will
know your voice. You don't have to run after folk begging them
to read your resume. Read I Samuel 16: they will approach you.
Your ministry will find you. A ministry too blind to acknowledge
the anointing on your life is lost in The Matrix. Forcing your
way into that ministry is not the biblical model. Just keep
being who God made you and keep doing the work God has placed in
your hands. Your ministry will come to you.
The First Lady:
Not a biblical office, not Queen of The Church.
pronoun "First" completely contradicts Jesus.
The Title "First Lady" is The Matrix
The title “First Lady” is antichrist in the sense it is
completely against the teachings and personal example of Jesus
Christ [Mark 20:16], who left his own mother and brothers waiting
outside while He ministered [Matt 12:46-48]. It is an at best
legalistic title, the church making a political distinction
where none should exist. “First” lady is not a biblical office.
She is the pastor’s wife, not ordained to any office, not voted
in, not a de facto church leader. All the power—both enumerated
and presumed—we afford this person simply demonstrates our
biblical illiteracy and spiritual morbidity. It is Matrix thinking,
among the top ten stupid things the black church does. If you
are a pastor’s wife, stop allowing people to call you this. It
offends God. It is ignorant and wrong.
Building Funds Are The Matrix
Building funds are bondage. Bondage is The Matrix.
Jesus never told us to go out and get a building, enslave
ourselves to the mortgage. He'd never invest even a moment
of His time, not one dime, in a building the homeless could
not sleep in. This foolishness of church members selling
their cars to build some joint that's closed down by one
o'clock Sunday afternoon. What madness is that? Which bible
are you people reading?
The church is not that building
you’re struggling to hold onto; the church is the people. The
people are usually lost in the desperation to hang onto the
infrastructure, which is more evidence of how lost your pastor
is, that his is not the mind of Christ but the mind of some
middle manager worrying about his own paycheck. Pastors seeking
to grow the church merely to increase revenue are lost in The
Matrix: they have totally missed the point of what the church is
Jesus had no doors to keep open. Jesus never commanded us to get
into debt, to make fundraising the focus of our efforts. In most
cities, there are a great many struggling black churches that
could combine into efficient, effective ministries but refuse to
do so mostly out of vanity. This nonsense about retaining “our
unique identity” is just The Matrix talking. Our unique identity
is that we are Christians.
Have church in the park. In your back yard. In a school
[Philemon 1:2]. Stop oppressing your people over money. Your
struggle to hang onto that building is only about vanity and
pride. Get out of bondage to the huge overhead expenses. Where
we sit is not nearly as important as who we are.
White Opera Gloves Are The Matrix
Ushers fulfill a traditional role, but they’re mostly about
pageantry. What you need is a functional, well-trained Greeter’s
Ministry, folks who are trained to engage visitors and members
as they arrive. Greeters can assist with usher functions, but
their primary function is to direct people to Christ. Movie
theaters are a lot bigger and hold a lot more people than most
of our churches, and they got rid of ushers long ago.
White opera gloves—routinely worn in our tradition by ushers and
ministers during communion—are Matrix. This foolishness of only
ordained ministers being allowed to serve communion is
Matrix—there is no scriptural foundation for that nonsense, and
it shows how ignorant we are that we do not understand what
Ordination is not a badge of rank. It has nothing to do with
rank. For example, in the New York Police Department you have
patrolmen and detectives. Detectives do not outrank patrolmen
(although many TV shows get that wrong)—they’re all the same
rank. A detective merely has a different job. A minister should
be ordained to a specific work. Many of our ministers seek
ordination for no other reason than to be able to say they’re
ordained—to brag about it. It’s an ego thing. It’s Matrix. His
motives offend and blaspheme the very God he portends to serve.
Ordination should be a consequence of commitment. In other
words, a minister becomes ordained once he commits to a specific
work. He is then ordained to that work, a work which should be
specified in his ordination papers—ordained to thus-and-so.
Associate ministers who become ordained just to keep warming the
bench as associate ministers are simply clowns lost in The
Organ Music is The Matrix
How many of listen to organ music outside of church? Play music
in church that relates to the way music is played outside of it.
The traditional Hammond organ sound, while comforting, only
serves to divide us, to push young people farther away from God
and enforce how utterly lost in space the church is. It is, at
best, counterintuitive to the actual purpose and goal of a
church: to draw people nearer to God. At worse, it simply
exemplifies how completely out of touch with reality the pastor
is. This is not a cultural issue, this is old folk pleasing
themselves at the expense of the church’s actual mission. It is
utterly stupid. They took Hammond organs out of roller rinks
decades ago. Nobody listens to organs anymore except Church
TV is The Matrix
Look, I’m not saying we all have to live like Amish folk, but,
beloved, you need to un-plug from the world. I’d guess over 90%
of what’s on TV is utter garbage if not utter filth, and most of
us have our TV’s running day and night, watching 40, 50 hours of
TV every week. How much time do we spend in prayer and
meditation? The Christian fare on TV is mostly garbage as well,
“mega” bishops doing increasingly less preaching while filling
air time with patently offensive “offers” evocative of the
Temple money changers of Jesus’ day. But, there we sit,
ingesting that garbage. Supporting it with our money. Even the
hardest right-wing anti-everything conservatives pay their cable
bill every month, literally financing the very garbage that is
destroying our lives.
You’re a Christian parent with kids, and you have cable or
satellite TV in your home? Matrix. Your kids have TV’s in their
bedrooms? Matrix. You’re living a lie. Your witness is worthless
because you’re claiming one thing while allowing all the filth
and corrupt values of the world to abide in your home and take
hold in the lives of your children. In fact, you’re paying for
it. More on Christians and TV
No Family Or Secret Devotions? Matrix.
A Christian who does not read the bible is merely kidding
I’ve only known a handful of families who keep Christian
devotion as families and private devotions as individuals. Most
“Christian” families go to church, and that’s where their
spiritual lives are. But, at home, there is no God. No Jesus
Christ. Their kids know the lyrics of every rap song but not a
single Bible verse. Their kids get online and head straight to
MySpace and other places where they typically have at least two
profile pages—one they show their parents and at least one or
more their parents know nothing about, pages which are usually
filled with all manner of shocking depravity. Because both they
and their parents live in the Matrix. They’ve bought into the
great lie and, most sadly for our kids, the lie has more
credibility than the church does because there’s no love at
church. God is not real to them because He is not alive in you.
For, if Jesus were alive in you, the Holy Spirit would be
grieved by the crud these kids watch all day every day. It would
bother you enough to do something about it.
Instead, you’re kidding yourself. You are lying. You are perhaps
a Christian by confession only, but you are living a lie. You’ve
bought into this garbage, this Church Folk nonsense of hollering
and falling out on Sunday while writing checks every month to
the very evil that is destroying you family. Beloved: get out of
Escape From The Matrix
Far too may of us live without discipline. Without sacrifice. We
live exactly the way the world lives. We raise our children
exactly the way the world raises theirs. It would be unthinkable
for many of us to cancel satellite TV or block our kids from the
Internet. All hell would break lose in our homes. Beloved, all
hell has already broken lose in your home—you just can’t see
it [Matt 10:34-36]. You are lost in The Matrix.
We need to pray. We need to fast. A real fast, not these
play-fasts most of our churches sponsor. This skip-lunch fast is
a joke. Fasting isn’t about food, it’s about sacrifice. We need
to do a Cancel Cable Fast. A Cancel Internet Fast. A Wake The
Kids Before We Leave For Work And Pray With Them Fast. A fast
that makes a real dent, where we turn our hearts and our minds
away from the pastor, away from the church house or the Church
Folk or our position or whose title whatever.
To view objectively the mess our lives have become, and how
empty our testimonies are. How powerless we have become and how
useless we are to the Kingdom of God. If you recall from the
film, outside of the Matrix was a dark and evil world which
existed entirely by leeching energy off of human hosts. Beloved:
this is the world we are living in. Either your church is part
of the solution or it is part of the problem.
But, when you’re caught up in the mess, it’s really difficult to
see how messy it actually is—how un-Christ like entire churches
are, how un-Christ like many pastors are. How so many of our
churches do nothing, nothing at all, but leech money and run in
circles, accomplishing absolutely nothing of measurable value
Now, contrast that vision to the record of Christ’s ministry. He
had three years here, and He changed the world. You’ve been in
church all your life, and can’t even share Christ with your own
children. Something is clearly wrong. But you’ll never see it
until you commit to unplug from The Matrix. To move your focus
back to God, and to soberly evaluate what you are about, what
you are doing, and what you are allowing to be done.
We need to turn our hearts back to God. Then we need to have the
courage to follow those convictions, and enforce those
convictions on our households [Acts 16:31].
I’m not talking about doing away with proud traditions, I’m
talking about not being a slave to them: not using our
traditional church experience as a template for everything we
do. Throw the template out. Make the personal example of Jesus
Christ, of His ministry, our template. Jesus had no band. No
choir. He had no fancy clothes, no expensive car. He had no
home. No building fund. No ushers. No white opera gloves. He
sent out no resumes.
He had love. He just did His job.
And that’s what they called
Christopher J. Priest
18 January 2009
TOP OF PAGE