Many of us have heard about "insider trading" in Wall Street. We know that it is not a good thing, and many people have faced the consequences of having "insider knowledge" of stocks that may tank or flourish that others are not privy to. Trading with insider knowledge is illegal in this country. Unfortunately, it is probably done more times than we have knowledge about. In the grand scheme of this activity, we have been assured it is a bad thing as far as legal jeopardy (if you get caught).
Churches are sometimes guilty of using insider knowledge — consciously or unconsciously. The results can be damaging either way. For example, every congregation I have served as an interim pastor has asked for more transparent communication from its leadership — perceived or actual. In all of the cases, it is a little both, and done many times unconsciously. How? As I stated last Sunday we have assumptions and expectations that not everyone is connected to. No matter how many times leaders try to get out the same message in numerous ways, there will be some who have no idea of what is going on! "Nobody told me...I wasn't aware of that."
There are other ways, however. When our insider knowledge of "churchy language," or acronyms that only we know, or how we "do things around here" are left to assumptions by "insiders" on those who are not, we create situations consciously or unconsciously that build walls that should be bridges.
In many churches we have focused faith formation, programming, and discipleship on the following sequence- believe, behave, belong. We "confirm" our beliefs, then are told we need to live out our beliefs (aka — join a committee and tithe), then we will be "belong as fully vested members." Those who know the "insider language,"understand what expectations are in a variety of ways — from what one wears to church or does not wear; policies and procedures for doing ministry; what is sacred around the building and what is not.
In our passage of scripture this Sunday on Easter, we will be looking at how Jesus turned this understanding upside down. Just calling Mary by name, she knew it was Jesus who had risen from the dead. Was it insider knowledge? If so, was it a bad thing or a good thing?
Hope to see you Sunday at 9:00AM for our Easter breakfast and worship at 10:30AM!