Friday, April 2, 2010

Lenten Series #38: Evrybody and Their Titles! Ugghh!

So there has been a topic that I have wanted to address, no, that I must address before this Lenten season is over. There is a phenomenon that has continued since last century that centers on everybody wanting titles. From being called Doctor to Bishop to Apostle to Praiseologist (YES, you read right, they 'exist'!!). People want to be recognized!

sidebar... Some people also change when they get a title in front of their names. For example, there are some who have earned doctorates and let it get to their heads, But to their defense there are many who have non-academically earned doctorates who let those titles get to their head as well (another area where you don’t want me to get started on).

It amazes me how many bishops and apostles we have in my hometown of Baltimore, (just found out that another Baptist minister has been named bishop, don’t get me started on this because I don’t know how one can be Baptist and call yourself bishop!). Furthermore, I get frustrated when we look at all these titles, yet folks are still hungry. We want to wear the glittery robes and sit in the places of prestige, yet people are losing their homes and families are being destroyed. And we have the nerve to laugh at the minister who is out on the streets with the people, calling out the injustices and having prayer vigils because he does not fit the norm of what we consider proper ministry.

Let me make this thing personal… I have grown up being in the center of attention when it comes to recognition. I was senior class president of my high school class. I was actively involved in my community, and everywhere I looked there were recognition of my achievement. I had to learn about humility early on. I don’t know if I shared this story before. There was a time when I was very active as youth leader of our teenage choir at church, the Determined Singers. I was the one initiating plans for events, conferences, responsible for attendance and keeping directory information. I took on a lot of responsibilities. One day my mom (who was also the director of the choir) and I were driving along getting ready for rehearsal. She and I got into a heated argument, and I must have said something along the line of, “I ain’t going to rehearsal and you can do the stuff yourself”. She then responded “God can use someone else to do what he has you doing”. I was still mad, can’t remember if I went to rehearsal or not, but I know that statement has been with me ever since. Why did I share this story? Because I recognize that desire for recognition and have found myself many times seeking such. Ever since then God has been working on my humility. I noticed that one of my fist blogs during this Lenten season centered around with humility. One thing I am learning as I journey through life is that humility is what God seeks after.

So, you don’t have to call me Reverend, just call me Michael/Mike! I know my credentials and don’t need to be reminded of them. Now, I do recognize and respect the tradition from which I have come. I honor my church for given me such at title, and pastors, mentors, and ancestors, who have all paved the way for me to be able to have such. And, I am reminded that with such title comes a stronger and deeper responsibility. So I am proud to be Rev. Michael A. Hunt. I am aware that titles open doors. I am grateful that when I say I am Reverend, people listen. But I also understand when I say I am Reverend, people open up and talk. I have seen to many with the Reverend/Bishop/Dr/Apostles still wanting people to listen but never stop talking in order to listen themselves to the people. With so many titles it can be hard to “regard others as better than yourselves.” In Philippians, Paul reminds us…
"If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited, but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross." Philippians 2:1-8 NRSV

If you are reading this and you are in a position of authority In any facet of life, I urge you to aim for the cross! I must admit, there were many times when I wanted my name to be called; I wanted my work to be recognized. But now I am at a place in my life where I just want to live for God and serve my fellow sisters and brothers. These titles will fade away. People will forget about you. When I get to the gates of heaven, I know my degrees will not matter, nor will the titles I hold. When Jesus asks me, “when did you serve me by serving and loving your neighbor?”

Aiming For The Cross,
-Mike (RevMAH)

P.S. RevMAH is a play on the initials of my name. When I was working at a summer camp in Virginia (MeadowkirkCamp) my coworkers nicknamed me RevMAH (pronounced “RevMawh”). It has grown on me and they continue to call me this to this day. I thought this particular blog entry would be the best time to acknowledge this.

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