Numbers

Parking Lot Conversations

So Moses went out and told the people the words of the LORD; and he gathered seventy elders of the people, and placed them all around the tent. Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again.

Two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp.

And a young man ran and told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp."

And Joshua son of Nun, the assistant of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, "My lord Moses, stop them!"

But Moses said to him, "Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit on them!" And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp. (Numbers 11:24-30, NRSV)

Were they prophesying in the parking lot?

In the life of a local church, we often feel "we" have the monopoly on truth and "they" are totally off base, "we" and "they" sometimes meaning only the people we assume will not agree with us on something. "We" believe in doing a certain thing in a certain way, so "they," who disagreed with us last time, will naturally fight us to the death this time. Or "we" support the pastor, so naturally "they" will fight him or her.

I used to be part of the "we" that supported the staff in the large church where I was a member. I was completely sure, way back then, that anyone who didn't agree with the staff was bent on destruction. I've come to a more moderate viewpoint since then, at least I hope I have. Everyone worries about being believed and respected. Everyone needs a chance to be heard. And if we'll really listen to one another, well, there may be prophesying in camp.

4 thoughts on “Parking Lot Conversations”

  1. Anne Lamott writes that her friend Tom, who’s a Jesuit, said — that you can tell that you created God in your own image when (he) hates all the same people that you do, that we’ve created God in our own image when we think that God hates the same folk we do.
    That’s sort of what you were saying, right?

  2. yeah. I remember back to “church parking lot” days. Maybe if more people prophesied in the council meeting, there wouldn’t be so much “prophesying” in the parking lot!

  3. Hum. Interesting. Having recently joined the vestry for a three year term…I have moved from the we to the “sort of they” or the “THEY” depending on who’re hearing from.

  4. Yes, there are always different aspects to everything that happens, and we don’t always know about them right away.
    Changing the subject, a belated happy birthday! And you might want to take a look at the last three posts at http://itsmeelinor.blogspot.com, one especially would be interesting for people (like clergy) thinking about 20-somethings and church.

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