Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Prophets at the local level

An aside: I was recently with a group of around forty or so fellow clergy, and we were asked to engage in an exercise. Having all completed an APEST profile (which weights your natural preference as primary, secondary, and three tertiaries) we were to set aside our ST scores, and get into groups according to our highest A, P or E score. Among us, only two (clergy, and another two facilitators) identified as prophet (note that this may be as primary, secondary, or even strongest tertiary gifting). This is not especially surprising: as a generalisation, prophets make poor ‘senior church leaders’ (I say that as a prophet). Nonetheless, there are more within the Body, and even more outside of the church, as artists, musicians, activists, eco-warriors, mystics…

I’m thinking of a friend of mine who is a prophet (if I were to hazard a guess, with evangelist secondary preference) married to a teacher (a lover of learning new things—if I were to hazard a guess, with apostle as secondary preference—and passing that learning on to others). They work well together. Her intelligence is prophetic, and this informs how she sees the world and makes decisions, in a wide range of interests or concerns. One such area would be environmental issues, eschewing ‘essential items’ such as private car ownership, a conventional refrigerator, and the use of plastic containers, and adapting life to embrace such inconvenience. This might easily be mistaken for middle-class eccentricity, but there is no affectation to it, nor short-term faddy-ness. I could easily continue to cite other areas of their lives.

Although it is possible for prophetic voices to be amplified until change reaches a tipping-point, it may be that the prophet simply inhabits the future as an advance guard, until the rest of us arrive there not by choice and need to learn how to live in this post-apocalypse (whatever the apocalypse in question might be).

That said, the church is a community within the community, and perfectly formed to allow the amplification of the prophetic voice (if we are prepared to listen), resulting in not only individuals but communities inhabiting the future, getting ready to invite others in.

Who is your prophet?

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