April 5, 2014

“At that time I said to you, ‘I am not able to bear you by myself. The Lord your God has multiplied you, and behold, you are today as numerous as the stars of heave. May the Lord, the God of your fathers, make you a thousand times as many as you are and bless you, as he has promised you! How can I bear by myself the weight and burden of you and your strife? Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.’” Deuteronomy 1:9-13


…but what if it is your Circus?
…And what if they are your monkeys?

 I finished reading through the book of Numbers in my daily Bible reading plan. I would very much like to have seen the Israelites traveling through the wilderness. I would have liked to have stood beside Balaam at the top of a peak to see what a fraction of God’s people looked like.  However, I read the chronicles of the grumbling and intrigue of that people and wonder at what a circus it was. The faithful provisions of God, sustaining His people, delivering His people, guiding His people, did not stop all of the sinful drama.

Circus Smrikus TentYet, I know that the drama of the Israelites in the wilderness is matched by the drama of the Nation of Israel in the Promised Land, which was matched by the drama of the Pharisees and Sadducees. It was all a circus.

I also know that the redemption of God’s people by the saving work of Jesus Christ did not cure us from this circus of sinful drama. There was drama amongst the disciples; drama in the 1st Century church; drama in the Church of the Middle Ages; drama through the reformation; and drama to this day.

I was speaking with a co-worker who was explaining the chaos of a church split where he had previous attended – it was a circus.

If you have ever been a part of the leadership in a well-establish community Church – it is a circus of meeting needs and quelling the disgruntled.

If you have ever been a part of a Church plant – CIRCUS.

The functioning of God’s people has always been a circus. The Church is a circus because it is filled with monkeys. The Church breeds drama because we all are drama monkeys in one degree or another. No one is sin free. We are all progressing in our sanctification. Therefore, we all bring our sanctified selves and our drama monkey selves to whatever we do.  You don’t have to look hard to see the effects of Church monkeys.

The Donkey Kongs (Donkey Kong)
The Church monkeys who continually
puts obstacles and barricades in the way of others.

donkey kong

The Georges (Curious George)
The innocent and naïve Church monkeys who do not listen
to anyone and continually get themselves into trouble and danger.


The King Louies (Jungle Book)
The Church monkeys who live amongst blessings, but crave something
different and manipulate others through their discontentment.


The Clydes (Every Which Way but Loose)
The Church monkeys who are just ornery and
have a bad habit of hurting people.clyde

The Caesars (Rise of the Planet of the Apes – 2011)
The Church monkeys who covet position and prestige
through the instigation of rebellion and discord.


The Rafikis (The Lion King)
The Church monkeys who appear wise
but no one really understands anything they are saying.


The Church is filled with a variety of drama monkeys. I don’t want to be a drama monkey but I know that I am. I hope that I am less monkey than I used to be but I know there is still a drama monkey within me. Thankfully, God’s work in my life is not done. Yet, I am always disappointed when my drama monkey escapes to play in the sinful circus of relational drama. I am disappointed when that happens because I know that I have just played a role in making the Church the circus that it should not be. I hate that.

I long for the day when the Church will be drama free but I don’t expect to see it until Christ returns. I lament the fact that those outside the Church recognize the hypocritical nature of our chaos and strife ridden circus.  However, everything that sinful man touches turns into a circus – government, councils, civic clubs, unions, commissions, work groups, boards, sports teams, associates, …everything has the relational drama of a circus.  Every organization composed of people will be fraught with drama because we are drama monkeys.

We should not be surprised by the fact that our churches have drama. They contain people who are still progressing in their sanctification. Therefore, circuses are bound to occasionally break out due to unrestrained drama monkeys. Yet, I love the Church because it is the only place on Earth where the circus is being removed. It is not perfect and it is not complete but it is where God’s people come together and wherever God’s people come together, the Spirit is at work.  And wherever the Spirit is at work, God is sanctifying us from our drama monkeys.

That makes the Church the Greatest Circus on Earth. 

That makes it my Circus.
And all those drama monkeys, are my monkeys.
And I am theirs.  

PRAYER: Father, forgive me for making a circus out of your Church here on earth.  Forgive me for all of my monkey drama ways.  Continue your work in me.  Continue your work in your Church.  May you be glorified in our imperfect works and flawed attempts to live with one another.  Lord, may your Spirit abound amongst us.  Help us to look past the monkey drama of our brothers and sisters and love them as you do.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen



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  1. I’m presently part of a church plant. Indeed, circus. But, indeed, for me “it is the only place on Earth where the circus is being removed.” LORD, continue to make me less monkeylike.

    • Hey Bonnie – Church plants are a wonderful ministry and so worth all the struggle. I pray that God richly bless your service. JD

  2. That was GREAT!

  3. Reblogged this on A DEVOTED LIFE and commented:

    I am just praying for a peaceful Christmas with a little less drama from the monkeys.

  4. Your thoughts on the church and our role in it are very perceptive. We have some growing up to do — growing into the image of Christ.

  5. Many thanks for your Ministry and your support!

  6. Had to laugh at your nickname for us: drama monkeys! My laughter turned to “WOW!” as I read your comparisons of monkeys from literature and film to us in the church. I’ve seen some of those parallels over the years! With you I want to glorify God in my imperfect works and flawed attempts to live with the other monkeys! Thanks, JD, for a memorable post.

  7. This is freaking brilliant! Although my orthodoxy keeps from from some circus events, certainly monkeys abound except mine where really cool hats. Thank you for your mind – you’re a blessing to follow along. His Peace, Chris

    • Hey Chris – thanks for the encouragement.
      God Bless!

      • Shine on JD, shine on…

  8. Thanks JD. Reading your insightful blog posts is often uncomfortable for me because you put your finger right on sore places. Thank you for making me re-evaluate my Christian walk. God bless.
    PS I share some of your posts on two church Facebook pages, so your messages are blessing a lot more people.

    • Hey Ann Marie – so good to hear from you. Thanks for the encouragement. I hope all is well with you. Are you working on another book?
      God Bless!

  9. I enjoy entering a church when there is no service or people, praying comes much easier. [hate to say this, but the orangs that played with Eastwood had to be taken from their trainer because of abuse, starvation training techniques]

  10. “Yet, I am always disappointed when my drama monkey escapes to play in the sinful circus of relational drama. I am disappointed when that happens because I know that I have just played a role in making the Church the circus that it should not be. ” Oh, yes! I relate well to this lament. Blessings to you this week, JD!

  11. Love the humor with which you approach a real world, delicate topic. You gave me something to pray about as far as my own drama is concerned!

  12. Excellent comparison. It’s all about grace, isn’t it? Extending and receiving. All is grace.

  13. Reminds me of Paul in Corinthians when he was dealing with the spiritual and the carnal. 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

  14. Great post indeed, though one should use considerable caution with Polish Proverbs (chukle). 😜

  15. This is so good, JD! I loved the insight, but more than that I loved the perspective. When people talk or write about troubles in the Church, it’s usually done in a negative way, but this shows problems in the Church in their proper context. Thanks!

  16. It’s weird…I guess I’ve been lucky to have had relatively drama-free churches when it comes to individual congregations, but it can be really frustrating when you’re surrounded by all sorts of conflicting teachings and opinions you don’t quite know what to make of. Or if you discover somehow that something you thought was true simply wasn’t. How would you suggest a Christian make sense of it all and figure out what she believes among all the mess? Or *do* we have to have a belief about everything?

    Thanks so much for this post and to God for blessing you with such an amazing gift! Praise Jesus!

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