The issue we talked about today in our GyAK meeting was credibility. We are still working on character and the qualifications for people who carry more responsibility in the church. At first , I thought it was kind of strange that the issue was divided into two (maturity & credibility), but as I started working on it I saw something interesting. Maturity seems like the internal aspect of the character issue and credibility seems like the external aspect. Credibility seems connected to being above reproach and how other's view me based on my words, actions and relationships. Maturity seems to be my personal growth in these areas.
We looked at two scenes from Daniel's life (1:6-21 and 6:1-23) as well as revisiting 1 Tim 3:1-12. The passages in Daniel gave us some interesting thoughts to ponder. Shaun pointed out that there were probably quite a few years between the incidents, so we can see some things which really characterize Daniel's life over the long haul. I was impressed with how he stood up for his convictions. He didn’t endanger anyone else, but asked for a test so the steward could see the results before he was called to account for their appearance. He proposed a relatively safe way for the steward to allow him to live by his convictions. It was a display of his character in a way that was pleasing to someone who wasn't a believer.
One other aspect of this study that impressed me was that fact that my credibility doesn't rest with me. I can do all of the 'internal' things to be above reproach, but whether I am seen to be above reproach doesn't lie with me. Others hold that.
These passages (1 Tim 3 and Titus 1) don't offer a checklist of activities, but character traits. That is a difficult idea to keep hold of as you work through the aspects of one's character. Titus 1:6 is translated '…having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.' That comes across like a checklist. As I looked at it, there were other ways to translate it which I think are better. Not requiring of a man that which he can't do (make sure his children are believers), but focusing more on their behavior as a result of his parenting. That fits better with 1 Tim 3:4 passage, too. Sorry for the rabbit trail there. =]
The part about this material that I really appreciate is the last step (Take Action to Obey). What am I to do with what I just learned? My response to this week's discussion was to be intentional in finding a guy or group of guys here in Budapest practicing authentic community. I need a safe place where I can be vulnerable with some men who have entrance into my life to help me mature spiritually and hopefully grow in credibility. No easy task.