on being prophetic (3)
I started really considering a possible prophetic gifting a couple of years ago. I started noticing that I tend to be a questioner, an agitator, a disturber. I liked to ask lots of questions about why we do this or that- what is the purpose? what are we trying to accomplish? are we accomplishing that? I started to agitate people by challenging them in little ways, and disturbing them by offering up other possibilities.
I like to challenge and question the status quo. I do it all the time. Why do we need to do that? or do it that way? Why do we assume that we have to do things like everyone else? I’m an idealistic and visionary person, too, which made it even harder. I would come up with high ideals and strong visions of what might be possible, and then I would question why the church wasn’t doing that. I wanted churches that would change the world, that would stand with the poor and oppressed, that would live radical lives following Jesus in the midst of modern-day America. I wanted radically faithful churches that glorified God and expanded his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. And I would challenge, challenge, challenge.
The status quo has always seemed like the enemy to me- the thing that gets us stuck in ways that don’t get us anywhere. I hate being “safe” or “comfortable” and those things seem to go along with being in the status quo. Jesus seemed the farthest thing from the status quo- God come to earth as a human?!?- and it makes sense to me that his followers shouldn’t seem to fit the status quo either. We should be different than the world step out of the status quo, both in terms of the American dream and the America church (that has been co-opted by that dream) and be little Jesus radicals in this world.
In churches I tend to be asking questions that no one else asks. I tend to see problems when everyone else thinks things are going fine. I tend to challenge things that seem perfectly normal.
And I always want to go further or faster or more radical. I want to take it to the limit.
Some of this is very dangerous and I’m going to blog later on my attempts to be prophetic… um, how should I say it… responsibility? Doing more good than damage? But some of these prophetic traits- being a questioner, a disturber, a agitator, and pushing hard against the status quo- I can say that those are deeply ingrained into my being without any doubt. I cannot escape them, and they are sure hard to turn down.
I think some of these things go together. I think prophetic people tend to be “gut” people. Hopefully it stems from knowing God’s heart, but they have strong gut reactions to things that are wrong. I think this also leads many prophetic people to be justice-oriented people because their gut reactions to the injustices of this world are so strong they know they need to do something about it. I can say this is true of myself. I think prophetic people also tend to be a little more on the radical side. They don’t mind being on the margins and may even feel called to call out to the church from the wilderness, “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” I think that prophetic people are probably willing to be radical and a little crazy in their attempts to rail against the status quo. I also know this to be true for me.
On the down side, prophetic people can lack compassion and grace. They can hold truth to a higher esteem than relationships and therefore do a lot of damage. They can be a little unforgiving to those who do not meet their idealistic standards. They can do more damage than good. They can be self-righteous about knowing what is “right”. They can be judgmental and condemning. I also know quite a few of these to be true for myself, and again, I’m going to blog later on what I plan to do about them.
My heart burns for the kingdom of God on earth, for God to be glorified in this world through the Church, for God’s people to be faithful disciples of him and only him. And out of these deepest yearnings comes what I think may be a prophetic voice…
edit: So…. is this being prophetic? Is being an agitator status-quo questioner necessarily or even possibly a prophetic act? I think yes, it definitely is a possibility to be prophetic through questioning and agitating, but those acts are definitely not necessarily prophetic. I think for them to be prophetic they have to be deeply rooted in a revelation from God instead of in our own wishes, desires, dreams, or stubbornness. Is the prophetic person calling people or the church to God’s ways or to their ways?