Thursday, November 09, 2006

Oh, Lord, It's Hard to Be Humble . . .

I read this on a blog:

There is nothing humble about a mega-church or a mega-pastor.


What do you think? What's humility look like when practiced in front of (and among) 10,000+ people? For that matter, what's a good working definition for humility in the context of a market-driven, celebrity culture? If character is who you are when no-one's looking, then does character even really exist?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I get tired of the whipping-boy "megachurch." People use the word to mean "church lite," or "watered-down-faith," whatever that means, not "a-church-of-many-thousands-of-members." It's a fighting word rather than a descriptive word.

And mega-pastor? What's that supposed to mean? Is it the pastor of a megachurch, or something else?

Moses was called "meek", even as he led an entire nation, and had earlier stared down Pharaoh.

In the same way, countless micropastors of microchurches are unhumble jerks. Humility has little to do with size of audience.

Humility also has little to do with vulnerability. Being able to cry on stage (see Bill Clinton) is not humility.

So what is humility? Your comment about character - very interesting. I'm going to have to think about that one. Put another way, you're asking if character exists only in relation to others.

David A. Zimmerman said...

Yeah, about that--I was in a hurry. I had a "if a tree falls in the woods and nobody's there to hear it" thing going through my head, and was playing around with that idea of the necessity of relationship versus the sheer autonomy of the individual.

I find it interesting that people say they are "humbled" when they experience broad acceptance, such as when elected officials thank the people who voted for them. "Humble" becomes more a verb than an adjective, without becoming viscerally negative.

I'm just rambling. I apologize.

Rick said...

I think Ted Haggard's been humbled. Haven't seen much of it from anyone else, frankly.

Wait - are we on the verb form?

Kami Rice said...

A few months ago a friend showed me this compelling quote from Richard Foster's Prayer: "Humility means to live as close to the truth as possible: the truth about ourselves, the truth about others, the truth about the world in which we live."

Perhaps we should add, "to the truth about who Jesus is"?

Macon said...

There is nothing humble about a mega-church or a mega-pastor.

Baloney. The implication is that humility is in direct proportion to public exposure.

If this were the case, then agraphobics must be the most humble people ever.

But of course, they are not. I am the most humble person ever.

David A. Zimmerman said...

I've met Macon. He is very humble. And not the least bit agraphobic.

How does humility play out in our social ethic? I've on more than one occasion left a megachurch with the exhortation to put others first--which may be the cliff's notes version of Kami's definition of humility--and then find myself stuck holding the door for 10,000+ people heading for the parking lot. If that's humility, I want nothing of it.

L.L. Barkat said...

Hey, saw you over at Christianne's... small world.

Humility is what comes from being edited, either in writing or in life. :)

Macon said...

Dave, I need to introduce you to a little friend of mine I like to call, "door-prop."

That way, you can get yourself out into the parking lot of that megachurch and spend your time in the car allowing those 10,000+ people to cut in front of you so they can leave the lot first.