About two years before I left the Catholic Church, I won a writing contest in the diocesan newspaper. The article was selected over 1,000 other entries and read by over 90,000 people. It appeared in a special edition of the paper, as it was the 150th anniversary of the founding of the diocese. To a normal church, it would have been of considerable deal. To St. Mary’s Church, it was nothing.
Only four years earlier, one of the Kennedy boys had an essay selected as part of the same contest. The Kennedys were a very large and seemingly devout family within the church that, although laborers, were regarded highly within the community. When he won the contest, the parish priest was so immensely proud. He read his essay during the homily at all five masses in a given weekend. People patted him on the back and celebrated his victory. What he did was an achievement, a victory for the parish. What I did was relevant to no one.
When I realized this, I asked my mom why it was so irrelevant to everyone. Nobody congratulated me or even cared. My mother (who told me years later she was actually very angry about what happened…or should we say, didn’t happen) spoke words to me I will never forget: “You’re not a Kennedy.”
She’s right: I wasn’t a Kennedy. I wasn’t a boy. My parents were divorced. In hindsight, we weren’t all that devout as Catholics. We had questions. We had concerns. We didn’t have a lot of money.
However….even though I wasn’t a Kennedy, they seemed to have no problem using the gifts I did have to their advantage. Nobody said to me, “We’re not going to accept your volunteer work, you’re not a Kennedy!” Oh no. Then it was fine – it was fine to use what I had – but when push came to shove, I was “not a Kennedy.”
I had spent years in service to the Catholic Church, specifically St. Mary’s Church. I was one of the first girls who served on the altar after they opened it up to girls. I taught religion in their programs. I worked in their school. I worked as a peer educator. I received specialized training in leadership to become a youth representative. I sang in the choir, I read the readings and announcements in the Sunday services. I did Girl Scout volunteer, led groups, helped make palm crosses, assisted with hospitality and cleanup, and even more I am sure I am not recalling at the moment. I did things the adults weren’t even willing to volunteer to do.
There is no other way to put what I am about to say: the Catholic Church “usurped” my anointing. They wanted me around for whatever they wanted to use me for. They did not want me to excel, to advance, to be successful in what I did; they wanted me for their own purposes. Because I was not a Kennedy, they were extra eager for me to try extra hard to be acceptable to them, only to lose out in the end and remain “not a Kennedy.” It was an evil and sinister abuse that continues within Catholicism to this very day.
I think the thing that disturbs me as the Lord led me to write this is the reality that, while I have not been a Catholic for over 12 years and I have been a Christian for the majority of that time, I still have way too many days when I sit back and still hear my mother’s words to me: “You’re not a Kennedy.”
When you’re not a Kennedy, you have to be on your guard against being usurped. It’s not that you don’t have an anointing. It’s not that other people don’t recognize it. In your case, because you’re not the center of their circle, their own immediate celebrity rearing and representing their ideals and thoughts, your anointing is not respected, because you are not regarded as valuable to usurpers. It is something up for grabs, there to make them feel better about where they are, and they have absolutely no intention of ever raising up what God has placed within you to a place of honor.
The church today is selfish. I’m tired of feeling like that’s the one thing we’re not supposed to say. In defense of the selfishness, we’re supposed to pretend that it doesn’t exist or just overlook it in favor of not letting it “get us down.” Today we always tell the one who is wronged not to “feel” bad or question themselves. I am constantly told to be “encouraged” and not to give any thought to the way I am treated. My self-esteem is not in question. I have no doubts about my call as a minister. I also recognize that I wouldn’t be a very good leader if I just brushed all this off. The behavior needs to be challenged; it needs to be changed; it needs to be corrected. Just don’t feel bad? I wish it were that simple. I keep going, I keep persevering, and I keep meeting more people than not who are a complete waste of my time. If I encountered one selfish minister/Christian from time to time, I might say OK. Yet I look out and it’s not the selfish ones in the minority, it’s the true Kingdom people who are the minority. At every turn, I meet yet another person who is all about themselves, advancing their work, and hiding good, solid ministers on the side because they are too busy worrying about themselves. After all, what would everyone in their circle think if they brought in someone new? Nobody may come to hear the Kingdom preacher, let’s bring in this person we know everyone will love. And yes, large and small ministries are guilty of this alike – it is not just people prostituting themselves for big names that everyone knows, but also those who will whore themselves out to bring in everyone within their “circle.” The church circles want to raise up those who will best represent their ideals, their interests, and their thoughts…no matter how unbiblical, ungodly, or just ridiculous they may be.
The Bible tells us to kick the dust off of our feet as we go from place to place and deal with different people who do not accept us. I am all for that, but I think the Bible is teaching us something else in this statement. To kick the dust off one’s feet was considered an ancient sign of contempt. It was an ancient sign of dishonor. God wasn’t telling us to just be OK and keep going – He was establishing a pattern for us in that we don’t waste our time, money, affection, and yes, our words, our ministries, our gifts, and our anointing on those who want to treat it with such disregard.
There are so many ways people usurp the anointing, some of which we never even consider. The mere fact that we are classified according to people’s likes, dislikes, and interests rather than as leaders of God should say something to us immediately. I recognize the times we live in; I understand things are expensive and we are often stretched in our time. I also understand and know from my own experience that people just don’t make the effort to do as well as they should. We put the burden on leaders to be, do, and provide all, and we are expected to be OK with receiving nothing in return. What I am speaking of here is not about expecting compensation: it’s about expecting that we will all do unto one another in the body as we expect to be done to us. It is about honoring those who are leaders instead of taking advantage of things that are available. While the internet has given rise to false ministries, it has also given rise to true ones…and people seem especially eager to receive, thinking they don’t have to repay. If the Bible tells us our leaders are worthy of double honor, then all the things, time, and expectation you expect to receive should be returned to them financially, in prayer, in honor, and in respect…double!
Some examples of usurping that we never even consider:
Daily I have someone sending me a message, via email, FB, or another means, about how impoverished they are and how much help they need. They don’t ever stop to consider the fact that the work I do may have needs, we may have difficult times, or that maybe my giver is just plain given out. They want what they want. If they don’t get it, you don’t hear from them again.
There are the people who make their regular “run” around social networking sites just to give you a word that they give to everyone else (which makes them a false prophet – and nobody better dare come on here and comment against that because it is what it is according to the Word; I don’t want to hear about not judging and supporting brothers because if we support a false prophet we are supporting the brotherhood of Satan) just so you will give them a “word.” They don’t do it once, they don’t do it twice, they do it until you delete them or tell them off. They see something in you: they want to take advantage of it. They want what you have to benefit them, as if that is your only purpose in life.
Then we have those who want you to “minister” to them, whether it’s on the net, on the phone, or in person. They expect several hours of your time so you can listen to them whine about their problems. They don’t want the truth, they don’t want solutions, they want you to tell them that it’s not their fault and Satan is attacking them and they are just victims of spiritual circumstances. They don’t ever thank you, offer an offering, or even offer to pray for you. If you don’t have time at that second, or you don’t want to talk to them, or maybe you have a need at that moment and don’t feel like listening to them (we won’t even talk about what might happen if you tell them the truth), suddenly you are a bad leader and everyone in their “circle” gets to hear about how you “wronged” them and what a “false” leader you are. This will confirm your status as “not a Kennedy” among this circle.
Then there are those who just want you around so they can benefit from whatever spiritual gifts you may have, without ever formally having you as their speaker, never giving you an offering or offering to compensate in some way. They just want you around so they can usurp whatever God has placed on your life and it can benefit their spiritual atmosphere.
Then we have the numerous people who read things I write, follow the radio show, watch the YouTube videos, have heard me preach, and tell me how “encouraging” they find it, how much they love the teaching, etc. They find me so encouraging, so truthful, they want me to teach on certain things! Yet…They never have me preach in their events. I now have a book available on Amazon.com, in bookstores, etc. that they just never seem to buy, another coming soon, .mp3 downloads of teachings available all over the net at extremely affordable and reasonable prices that they find reasons not to seek out, and when we have events, they just are never able to come. They seem to be able to make the same trip and spend the same amount of money for someone in their circles, but they just can’t ever seem to be able to arrange my event in their schedule. No, what they want me to do is take my time and money and “support” what they are doing! What exactly are they doing? It’s hard to tell because they never do anything!
I can’t say this for everyone who is not a Kennedy, but I really hope that when people come around me and are just saying things because they want something from me, they do know that I know better. I have heard the generic messages so many times I can tell when someone is just “telling” me something, waiting for my turn to talk. I also hate it when people ask me “What has the Lord spoken to you about me, Apostle?” Like God has nothing else to do but speak words in my ear and tell me about YOU. Not only have I not asked God about this individual, nor heard anything about them, I am not the least bit interested in them or in giving them a “word.” As for those who are always telling me how much they “love me” or are “blessed” by my work, love is an action and you only have to say it a few times before I start to notice that you are not showing the love you supposedly have for me. What they want and they love is the anointing – and they want it to work for them, benefit them, and come at no cost. Dare I say the price I have had to pay to have this anointing – and let’s just say it ain’t for sale, nor is it up for grabs or give-away! You want to be anointed – go talk to God and get your own anointing – I’m not a Kennedy, remember?! If I’m not good enough to be raised up as a leader with honor, you don’t get any benefit of what God has placed within me!
Not too long ago I did a message: If You’re Not Anointed, I Don’t Want To Touch You ANYWAY! We all hear “touch not mine anointed” until we are ready to throw up, which tells me that we don’t have the first clue what it means to be anointed, have an anointing, or walk in an anointing. The anointing we all have comes at a high cost. It is something to be cherished, embraced, and never, ever compromised, not by anyone. Whether or not it is compromised depends on us. Jesus has given us all the information we need to guard the anointing and never compromise it. How is it compromised? Because we “touch” all the wrong people and things. We think our secret to advancing in ministry is through other people and by being in the right circles…by cozying up to the Kennedys of this world. As one who spent a number of years playing by all the “church rules” that are supposed to help one in ministry, I can testify they aren’t for this age. They don’t work today. And as one whose ministry vision is to do more than waste my time and money chasing after people who just want to use me, I can adamantly say I want to get somewhere in ministry. I am tired of being treated as if I am less than someone else because I’m not in the “circle.” It’s time to guard the anointing! If that’s the regard that one has for me, it’s time for a big dust-kicking: I will not be at your events, I will not be giving you any money, I will not be taking my time to support your work, I won’t be extending myself, I won’t listen to you, and I won’t waste my time while you try to suck what God gave me out for your own benefit. In chemistry there are certain atoms that form bonds by attaching themselves to one another. Some of them share the charge, but some of them steal it from one another. We live in a church full of atoms that keep trying to attach themselves to others, only to suck the very spiritual life and anointing from them. It’s time to guard the anointing! Move away from that atom, kick the dust off your feet, and connect yourself with people who truly have the Kingdom in their minds and God’s ministry in their lives.
The “circles” of the church continue, each with its own unique set of Kennedys, where people gather together to worship their own thoughts, ideals, and concepts. Idolatry is idolatry is idolatry, especially if we are just doing it so we don’t have to grow or think differently. The Kennedys of the church world seem to reign as the Pharisees did, even back in Biblical times. But as with the shifting paradigm that came in that day through John crying in the wilderness, the death of Christ and then the birth of the church and the ministry of the church, I recognize the same will happen, even now. You just wait. God raises up whom He chooses, not who we may necessarily like. John wasn’t liked. Jesus wasn’t liked. The Apostles weren’t liked. They were known, but not liked, and there is a marked difference between the two. If people flock to you under the guise of “liking you”…it’s time to figure out why.
No, I am not a Kennedy. I wasn’t a Kennedy in the Catholic Church, and I am still not one now that I am a Christian. I may never be popular within the “circles” that exist. But if God doesn’t play favorites, I realize in the end, It doesn’t matter. They Kennedys don’t really matter, and they aren’t that impressive. I won’t sacrifice my anointing to try and be a Kennedy or butter up to a Kennedy. The Kennedys of this world get up in the morning and put their underwear on the same way that I do.
(C) 2011 Lee Ann B. Marino. All rights reserved.