A community or neighborhood watch are crime prevention programs initiated by neighborhoods where they look out for each other and, hopefully, prevent burglaries or vandalism…or worse. The idea behind them was that citizens needed to take up the responsibility to look after each other and their communities.
It’s not a bad idea…but it’s one that needs to be carried out with great caution, as the events that happened in South Florida several weeks back drove home. Two people, completely misunderstanding each other in a toxic atmosphere of mistrust resulted in one innocent, unarmed teen’s death.
A community watch can be a good thing, if those undertaking the watch carefully follow the guidlines and keep the primary goal in mind…that of the safety of the community. If it becomes some vigilante group, or a team of busybodies, then it actually subverts it’s intended purpose.
In similar fashion, Paul intends that the church community watch out for threats to the health of their fellowship. Instead of watching out for burglars, we have to be careful about doctrines, behaviors and attitudes that can negatively effect the well-being of the group. But we have to do so cautiously, so as not to end up working against ourselves by forgetting that redemption and relationship are the goals.
We’re going to be reading Titus 1:10-16 this week, and Paul provides some guidelines about what we need to be careful of as a community concerning doctrine, practice and motive.
What does Paul warn us about mostly in this section? What sort of myths and commands of people can serve to be divisive in the church today?
Some people freak out at Paul’s statement about Cretans in v12. It seems pretty harsh. But if you factor in the history of that statement (you can find it HERE), does it help you see why Paul may have been using that quote?
Hope to see you Sunday!
3 thoughts on “Community Watch”
Growing up in the Catholic church I always ‘knew’ that the pope was infallible, the church could excommunicate you at which point Jesus washed His hands of you, and we were a pretty exclusive group because we were the only ones going to heaven. All the other denominations had it SO wrong. It was funny though because around 8th grade I visited a Baptist church where I had to go to a kids’ class while my mom went to the actual service. During that time the entire class of kids and the teacher all ganged up on me telling me I was going to hell because I was Catholic. Then a short while after getting married my new husband and I visited a Pentecostal church when trying to find a church home. About the 3rd Sunday we went the Pastor talked about how all the other churches were so wrong to not talk about politics and not guide their congregation on how to vote. (It was coming up on a big election year.) Then he proceeded to ‘speak in tongues’ which I believe in, but this guy was just speaking jibberish mixed in with some spanish. After all of that and so much more, I totally get where Paul is coming from talking about the Cretans. (For some reason the explaination of the history reminded me of sitting in the chair when you get your hair cut and looking in the mirror to see an infinite number of reflections. Not sure what’s really real and what is an image.) How can you build the foundation of your faith on that?
My point is not to denegrate any particular denomination. Just the opposite actually. I think we can find true brothers and sisters in faith all over the place. These are the people who let the light of Christ shine through them no matter what label is placed on them for our own easy compartmentalization. “To the pure, all things are pure”. These are the people who die to their own desires of self righteousness, finger pointng, gossip and all the other lovely things this fallen world has to offer. Instead they have chosen to submit themselves to God’s will and infinite wisdom. They allow the holy spirit to guide them in their actions, reactions, words and even rebuke when necessary. The light of Christ truly does shine through them because they are reading God’s word, praying without ceasing and actively in submission to God. (No this does not mean they don’t make mistakes.)
I guess the question is… what fruit has come from what they have sewn? Is it a community who bombs abortion clinics because it is wrong to kill unborn babies? Maybe a church who spews hate for gay people or soldiers coming home from war? Or even a church who pretty much leaves well enough alone as long as everyone knows they have exclusive rights to this whole business called God? Is their fruit a community who loves unconditionally even though there are clear lines between right and wrong drawn? Which one did Jesus show us?
Well, it seems the warning is the same as usual here…look out for the religious people. The one’s who know the word so well they can twist it and turn it how they may to get what they want from it. In this case, it was money from the well meaning people who listened to them. I’m not sure but Paul’s reference to Epimenides paradox…saying “all Cretans are liars”, himself being a Cretan, thus a liar..could point to the endless empty arguments being propogated by the Jews there. It seems like in that kind of circular logic the truth is always vague and can be argued either way thus causing lots of confusion. It gives me a headache and reminds me of Larry, Moe and Curly’s discussion of who’s on first!!! We know that God is not the author of confusion and back then as well as today there is always someone trying to add something to the simple message of the gospel. Well, your saved if you do x, y, and z… I think if we just stick with the basics, Jesus died for me and you and He wants to love us and communicate with us, as we nurture that relationship spending time with Him, praying, LISTENING and reading His word everything else will fall into place.
Community watch is an interesting phrase. As I was younger with much extended family, I was watched by so many loves ones and neighbors that I, as a child, naively believed that I was cared for lovinlgly by my watchers. It was common to care and watch family and neighbors in varied ways. I was led by Grandparents, parents,aunts/uncles,etc. to watch and love these people. Not all of them were of my white skin, but I don’t remember the difference. I pray now that I show my love of people as I proceed each day. I am blessed w/Eastgate’s leading to do so each day. But as usual, it is a breath away w/ each moment and action. As Julie and others have said, we need to read the Word daily. You know, I hope this makes sense and not gibberish?! nan