Agendas | Galatians 5:11-12
Ahhh, but now that voice is whispering about me. Is it insinuating that I secretly have a circumcision agenda myself and am just jealous of their success? Really? Listen, brothers, if I were interested in preaching a message of circumcision that dovetails with their religious system, then why am I being constantly hounded and labeled a heretic? If I were a flag-waving religious cutter like them, then everyone would be happy and any bad press because of the cross would evaporate. This so boils me. You know, I wish all the frenzied foreskin fascination of these troublemakers upending you would lead them to just cut off the whole thing. Then they wouldn’t have anything to point to, would they? Galatians 5:11-12 | MAV
“Agenda” is actually the plural of the Latin “agendum” meaning “what ought to be done.” Perhaps we can see in this the fact that no matter how simple our “agenda” might be, there are always potential layers of intention involved, whether the agenda is hidden or not. Have you noticed how those with the most layered, hidden agendas often talk the most about the agendas of others? This was definitely the case with the troublemakers among the Galatians. While presenting themselves as straightforward and sincere, they simply couldn’t stop speculating over Paul’s motives and his real agenda, their speculations always (surprise!) leading them to conclude that Paul was less than honest. Perhaps this is another huge indicator of hidden agendas lying below the surface: when someone’s “sales pitch” is constantly drawn to personalities (namely, trashing them) it’s just another indicator that the voice we are listening to is “off.” Perhaps that’s why we so rarely have names – or even a clear statement of exactly what opponents are saying – in these New Testament letters. While Paul certainly clarifies his intentions (which he usually feels is only pointing out the obvious) and makes his thoughts about his adversaries painfully clear (“I wish those who trouble you would castrate themselves!”), he seems to have better things to do than engage in trash-talking theology focused on personalities – which is just another example of bad business.
“Trash-talking theology focused on personalities.” Why do you think this can be such a popular “bad business” in the religious world? How should we respond when we are the targets of such “bad business”?
Lord, when you were insulted, you never hurled insults right back. And yet you also clearly called a spade a spade when it came down to it. Grace me with a heart inclined to bless and not curse – and that also knows how to weigh in appropriately hard when needed. Let my sole-driving agenda be to see your children walking free in the Truth. Through Jesus.
The whole text this week is Galatians 5:1-15. Read it daily in it’s entirety from a few different translations if possible.
For all of this week’s resources on Galatians including this week’s DG video on Galatians, check out the Vineyard website.