So, I’m sitting in surgery waiting just after 6 AM wearing nothing but one of those lovely hospital robes, having a line started, my blood pressure & temperature taken, waiting. Waiting for today’s procedure.
No, this isn’t how I normally find myself doing my morning reading in the Gospels, but, it will just have to do. And what do my eyes fall upon?
Jesus said, “Don’t trust your clergy. They like to parade in their expensive robes and have everyone make a fuss of them when they appear in public. They hog the best seats in the places of worship and sit at the top table when there is a banquet! They take advantage of widows and coax money out of them, and say long prayers in order to impress everybody. They’ll pay for it one day!”
“Don’t trust your clergy.”
I suddenly saw a new bumper sticker – and I just may have to special order this one and slap it on my PT.
This time through the gospels, I’m reading them in John Henson’s Good as New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures. I’ve decided in my monthly reading through the four Gospels to alternate reading them in the original Greek one month with a different English version the following month.
Glad I picked up this off-beat version.
It just hit me between the eyes.
I’ve decided what I like about reading the Gospels in the original Greek and more literal, traditional English translations is the historical distance the text is put from me by default. “Beware of the scribes!” “Watch out for that wily grammateus!” I’m sure that punched someone in the face two thousand years ago, but it’s hitting air with me. I have to search Wikipedia to see who these people were, what a grammateus was, who the scribes were. But “don’t trust your clergy”? Bam.
Henson uses “clergy” consistently throughout his translation.
Goodbye historical application to ancient Jewish scribes; hello application to contemporary American clergymen and women.
It’s one thing to make such a switch in application mentally or even verbally. It was another thing this morning to see it right there in proverbial black and white.
No. Don’t trust your clergy. By default we block out the sun on a regular basis. Many of us may not be sporting the expensive robes, but you better believe we know and long after their subtle and not so subtle cultural equivalents. Oh yes we do. No, don’t trust your clergy – especially those that say you can.
Absolutely not those who insist you must.
Thank you, Mr. Henson, for the laugh at myself this morning, sitting in that backless robe, my seat being a gurney, my arm being pricked with a needle, as I submitted myself to another’s care, to be rolled where he would have me.
Perhaps if more clergy were more frequently so unclothed, so attired, and so seated, we would be more trusted, without ever even asking or expecting to be.