Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Charismatic Enigma: Keeping The Dream Alive

Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water's edge. He taught them many things by parables…
Mark 4:1-2
A few weeks ago Calgary’s oldest community hosted one of the city’s annual street festivals. Commonly known as The Inglewood Sunfest, the community hosted the event in conjunction with the start of the Calgary Fringe Festival. Taking advantage of the warm weather, I attended the event. For nearly three blocks the street was lined with tents and their vendors offering their goods or services at a reduced rate. Jewelry, chiropractors, fashion boutiques, food vendors and even those running in the civic election lined the streets attempting to solicit attendees.

The thing that impressed me most was the street performers. They’d set up their gear at an empty intersection, draw a crowd and perform their show. One of them was a hula-hooping cheerleader named Minnie Maniac. At one point she was cracking a whip and hoping to generate more interest and garner a larger crowd of onlookers. Armed with tricks that included changing from her street clothes into her cheerleading outfit while hula hooping, she would dazzle the crowd. She finished the show with her best skill – sitting on top of a human pyramid while simultaneously twirling 6 hula hoops on her body. In exchange for a great show, she’d asked those who watched to support her by paying her what they thought the show was worth.

The impressive thing I saw in the street performers was their ability to draw and keep a crowd. In the case of Minnie Maniac, drawing a crowd required some effort using a whip to get peoples attention. Regardless, being able to do that is still quite the feat. I’ve seen magic performers do the same thing with no whip in hand, and still I’m puzzled. Is it charisma, pheromones, the Holy Spirit or some other enigma that adorns masses?

In Christ’s ability to draw crowds, it’s so easy to assume the people who were drawn to him were explicitly led to the lakeshore by the Spirit of God. But Mark 3:3 points out some that followed him were keeping tabs on him waiting to slam him for blasphemies and anything else that could be used to halt his growing influence. Furthermore, Jesus spoke in parables. Alan Carr, a North Carolina pastor suggests Jesus spoke in parables for the benefit of those who hadn’t rejected the truth. In a parable, “those who were sincere and hungry for the truth would have that truth revealed to them. Those who were closed minded to the truth would have that truth concealed from them."

I could go on providing a laundry list of things that attributed to the masses Jesus generated. But to make it easier on my fingers and your reading, the reasons can be summed up in two things: the Holy Spirit and his reputation provided the bulk of his enigmatic quirks. But what about those of us who live 2000+ years after Jesus did? What makes people interested in what we are doing? Is it charisma, pheromones, the Holy Spirit or some other enigmatic quirk that keeps another’s interest?

I can’t help but wonder if these questions are tugging at your heart today. Perhaps you’re in leadership and have hit a plateau. At one point you started something and the momentum you once had has faded. Now you find your dream on the brink of collapsing beneath you. If your dream is facing foreclosure; don’t give up! Not yet; especially if you are still reading this particular blog entry. Maybe there’s something I’ve said that has sparked a glimmer of hope in you. Do you look at your dream and see nothing but a train wreck? Most train wrecks occur because something interferes with the train’s momentum. Perhaps you need to crack the whip and rediscover the enigmatic anomaly that started your train’s momentum!?!?!?!

1 comment:

  1. Good thoughts Tim Bits and I like your connection to Jesus drawing a crowd! It would be fun to join you at next years Festival!