Thursday, November 12, 2009

..and some He named "travelling salesmen" (on their mother's side)

All Christian leaders must flirt with the reality they are
part seducer,
part deceiver
part liar,
occasionally "about as deep as a wet spot on the pavement,"
and (today's topic) kind of a
travelling salesperson..

As is often the case, "secular sources" can come up with the most intriguing insights re: church questions. Take Mental Floss Magazine (emphasis mine):

Q:Disciples vs. Apostles: What's the Difference?
The Dilemma: You’re vaguely worried about a pop quiz at the Pearly Gates.
People You Can Impress: well, Jesus, obviously
The Quick Trick: Unless Jesus Christ himself has named you an apostle, discipleship is really the best you can hope for.
The Explanation:
The words are often used interchangeably, but they don’t quite share a meaning. All Christians are (or at least ought to be) disciples of Christ, because they follow his teachings. (Disciple comes from the Latin discipulus, which means “pupil.”) But very, very few Christians have ever been full-on apostles, because “apostle” is a title that only Jesus himself could give someone. If a disciple is a pupil, then an apostle is something of a traveling salesman (its Greek
root word technically means “delegate,” but “traveling salesman” is funnier). The 12 disciples officially became Jesus’ delegates when he personally sent them out into the world to preach and heal.
Over the years, many people have claimed that Jesus named them apostles (see, for instance, David Koresh), and many evangelicalChristian groups believe that all their members are apostles who’ve been dispatched by Jesus—which is why they often show up on your doorstep..

-Mental Floss, link

On the travelling salesmen image, couldn't but help connect to the U2 song "Breathe,"
one interpretation of involving Jesus ringing the narrator's doorbell (Rev. 3:20 style), but the narrator has this concern:

16th of June, 9:05, door bell rings
Man at the door says if I want to stay alive a bit longer
There's a few things I need you to know
Coming from a long line of
Traveling salespeople on my mother's side
I wouldn't buy just anyone's cockatoo
So why would I invite a complete stranger into my home
Would you?..

By the end of the song, or by 9:09, he's convinced/converted:

9:09, St. John Divine, on the line, my pulse is fine..
The Roar that lies on the

other side of silence

The forest fire that is fear so deny it..
I've found grace inside a sound
I found grace, it's all that I found
So I can breathe..

Spirit, breathe..

Hope I don't come off like a cockatoo salesman, even if I am.

Oh, Geddy Lee asked it first, in a song which mentions not only the sounds of (on the other side of?) silence, but also "saaaaaaaaalesman"

As they often do (2112, "The Spirit of Radio"), the band RUSH cautions against the commercialization/communization of the music (read:church) system, especially as images dominate and mammon motivates. On a CD tellingly titled "Moving Pictures," they upgrade (in 1980) the Simon/Garfunkel lyric: "The words of the prophets are written on the studio walls..and echo with the sound of.. (the sarcastic punchline)...salesmen!"
Yeah..We need more more salesmen in the Body; especially those hawking images, ecclesiapornography, and an imagined Jesus.


  1. Hi Dave,

    Pedantry award required. As a fan of Rush's music I need to correct your quote of their lyrics. The line you misquote is from the song Spirit of Radio on the album Permanent Waves. It is:

    "The words of the prophets were written on the studio walls ... concert halls;
    Echo with the sound of salesmen."

    Another telling lyric from the same song is:

    "One likes to believe in the freedom of music,
    But glittering prizes and endless compromises shatter the illusion of integrity."

    Doesn't sound like the church in any way, does it?

  2. Hey Tony, been praying for you,

    Not positive what you mean.Yes, i put "are written" instead of "were"/
    I added an "and" before "echo,"
    and I was aware of leaving out "concert halls" bit (that's why I put the three dots). Is that what you meant? I will fix.

    I love that song and album..i bought it the week it came out..that's how old I am. (:

    Wow, you like Rush AND U2..what amazing taste you have.


  3. You can add Pink Floyd to the list of bands we both like. Back in the old days I bought Rush's "Grace Under Pressure" album on release day - the only time I've ever done that. I still have it ... on vinyl!! That's how old I am!


Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!