Did Jesus of Nazareth Pass Notes?
“If you open your bulletin, you’ll find a communication card. If you’re new to the church or have questions or would like to sign up for a class, just fill out the card and drop it in the offering plate when it’s passed around later in the service.”
He cringed. He wanted to get more involved, he really did. He wanted to be a part of the group. He would love to spread the message that he knew to be valuable, yet he couldn’t complete this simple step. He had been burned so many times in in his life. He wondered, “Does the preacher actually think there is anyone in the congregation who hasn’t been bombarded-to-death with contact after they signaled interest to Gold’s Gym, or Subway, or a Time-share, or a Credit Card?” The list goes on and on. Yet, here he was in a place that offered…well, it offered hope; and he was being asked to formally display interest yet again. How could he not feel once bitten, twice shy? He knew he couldn’t be that different than others.
The contents of the offering plate seemed to prove he wasn’t.
The challenge then: Jesus of Nazareth was different. He was surely recruiting, but he was not starting a business. And he was surely not starting an organization. The picture painted by historical critical scholarship is that the man was intimate. He didn’t pull punches. He didn’t waste time.
“Being the more difficult course of action,” he thought, “this intimacy requirement only adds to the strength of his, Jesus’, argument.”
Standing in front of a crowd and asking them to perform the same ritual they’re asked to perform countless times throughout each day should be shameful. He wondered, “Would Jesus of Nazareth have ever passed notes?”
Jesus was definitely intimate in his ministry, as you say. However, it does not, therefore, follow that everyone seeking information about a church’s activities, history, volunteer opportunities, statements of faith, etc…must also be.
The practice you describe is but one of many methods that churches should use to make themselves available and accessible to the various types of people that attend on any given week. Filling a form out and dropping it in the basket may be preferable to someone who desires to remain more anonymous than a face-to-face communication allows. Furthermore, a form query allows one to provide as much or as little information (identity or contact) about themselves, as they choose. Others may wish to have a more personal experience as they express interest, perhaps speaking with a leader, volunteer, or the pastor himself.
Your analysis reflects your partiality for personal interactions and tendency to dive right in to uncover answers to a question. I, however, am one who would rather complete a “communication card” as my first step for getting connected or obtaining additional information. That one would chose one route over another makes no difference if it leads to the same destination – in this case, connection within the body of the church.
I am inclined to think that Jesus would not rebuff someone for choosing to “pass him a note.” He would insist that his message of hope be made accessible to all.
Valid point. We are not in disagreement about Jesus accepting a note or about people preferring to pass a note. This piece was meant to be a challenge to pastors and church leaders to take a more ground-level approach to reaching the community. Ground level versus an “I’m up here, you’re down there, fill out a communications card if you want me to come down there” approach.