Pastor Barry Crane has decided to adapt the schedule of his church to accommodate his culture. The Seattle Seahawks are in the playoffs and have shot at moving even higher for the first time in a long time. This story was printed in todays edition of The Seattle Times about Pastor Barry calling an audible for his church, making Barry Crane my favorite pastor.
Barry’s God is named Jesus. Jesus differentiated himself from all other “gods” by showing up as a baby and living 33 years in a human body. He spent the first 90% of his life (ages 0-30) appearing to do “nothing” – meaning for most of that time he was invisible, inefficient and well… human. He took on the form of a human and became a servant to those around him (this is how Paul describes it in Phil 2)
Those who follow Jesus are also called to hide themselves in humanity. Jesus told us to “lose our lives” for the sake of his Gospel. He also told us “unless a corn of wheat falls in the ground and dies it abides alone but if it dies it brings forth much fruit” – Essentially Jesus was the master of making himself invisible.
He did this so he could get closer to the object of his love – human beings. Like Pastor Barry, Jesus was constantly taking flak from “religioinists” who seem fixated on protecting God’s reputation (one wonders what their actual motives were) and hijacking Gods word so that it was turned against the very people it was supposed to be helping.
Here are a couple of more mundane reasons I admire Pastor Barry’s brilliant audible.
If you want to get heard you have to get a hearing – if you want to get a hearing you have to “locate your story inside their story” . This is just another reason Jesus came as a human being. He entered our story and captivated us with his story. We didn’t recognize him at first as John said “he moved into the neighborhood”. We thought he was just another guy but it turned out he was God. Barry has masterfully “located” the story of how he and his church think about God “inside” the local story of a football team- Who Knew that you could do that? Apparently Pastor Barry (and The Holy Spirit) did
Sun Tzu said – “when you are near make them think you are far away” Pastor Barry is getting closer and closer to the object of his God’s desire – the people Jesus misses most. Most of those missing people have no idea just how close Pastor Barry and his God are to them. They think – wow a pastor who likes football – how cool is that. If you think that’s really the end of Barry’s mission – he’s really got you fooled.