majority rules

Posted: November 2nd, 2011 | Filed under: life | Tags: | 21 Comments »

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. -Galatians 1:6-7

A woman was teaching a Bible study and had a pretty large following. She taught easy lessons that were relevant to mothers and wives and fellow girlfriends. She made the women feel connected to each other, to their femininity, and to their purpose as a homemaker. Everyone felt challenged when it came to being better at the business of doing better. They shared tips that work and offered grace to those who were having a hard time. Everything was great and they all got to a point of being satisfactorily productive.

Then the woman began teaching deeper Biblical truths about the Gospel. In her own personal studies, the Holy Spirit was leading her into a deeper understanding and was calling her out of the safe Christian bubble. She was drawn to those who weren’t in the bubble. Those who needed the community that she cultivated to branch out and show them what love, Godly love, was.

When she started planting the seeds within her group, they started to turn against her. It got too deep for most of them. It deviated from the safety of just loving the like-minded and they questioned her stand. These women wanted to be challenged to better at who they already were. They did not want someone to challenge them in grace for those who were different.

She responded to the harsh words and the ‘good-bye’ letters by backing away from the deeper truths and reaffirming her place in the feel-good cupcake world of perpetual insider affirmation. She started diluting the insight she received in her private time so that nobody would have to chew what she dished out. They were babies in their faith and fear pushed her to protect her followers from the pain of cutting their teeth. To her, majority rules. She abandoned the truth and perpetuated a distorted Gospel that was shaped by public approval.

The Gospel divides people. On one side, you have those who don’t want to think, they don’t want anything to change. They don’t think there is anything to change. On the other side you have people who are growing restless and want something more. Their gums are swollen and hurting and they just want something hard to bite down on. The reality is, those who are only after something to make them better ‘thems’ will bully anyone who reminds them that they’re not enough. They don’t like being reminded that the world doesn’t revolve around them. The self-inflated bullies outnumber the selfless wonderers.

The bullies appear to be stronger and carry more weight. The selfless wonderers appear to be weak and are often trampled.  If the one teaching and leading them is too afraid of not being liked, then she’ll starve the hungry and coddle the selfish.

You don’t get to pick what to cut out and what to leave in. The Gospel is not easy to swallow. You can cut your teeth on it.

There is a litmus test for the potency of the Gospel. It’s something I use all the time. When I am sitting among a group of ‘insiders’ and am listening to the message that is being taught, I ask myself, “Would this have saved my life when I fell?”

I’m aware of this because when I needed the life saving truth that Jesus died to give me, I couldn’t find it. I looked for it in Christian books, I listened to preachers, I listened to Christian music, but it took me a long, long time to find anything. It’s when I stopped looking for Him in flesh and blood that I found the answers. I studied the Bible like my life depended on it, because it did. That is why I do what I do, I write like someone’s life depends on it. And I don’t hold back. I don’t care what the ‘insiders’ think of me because I’m after the outsiders.

People often talk about the importance of being in a community. That’s fine unless your community dwarfs your spiritual growth. You may find that you’ve outgrown your community and you can either step up, given the opportunity, or you can slip out the door. It’s not a spiritual requirement to follow a pack. It’s actually a scriptural instruction to not ‘confer with flesh and blood.’ I read something recently that said, “If Moses listened to the people instead of God, there never would have been an exodus.”

Sometimes God calls you into a wilderness where you feel disconnected from everyone else. Don’t resist this. The biggest leaders in the Bible (Moses, John the Baptist, Jesus, etc.) spent a long time in the wilderness right before they were brought out to fulfill their calling. It’s a time of shedding everything that is bogging you down and leaving you freer to do what you’re meant to do. You might even look a little crazy to people when you emerge, but that just keeps them at enough distance from putting the shackles back on you.



21 Comments on “majority rules”

  1. 1 @BrookeWrites said at 11:21 am on November 2nd, 2011:

    I want to stand up and cheer! I'm tired of doing what everyone says I must to do succeed. I just want to follow God's leading and trust him with anything and everything else. I want to write like someone life depends on it myself. You encourage me to look beyond approval friend. There's only One approval I need.

  2. 2 serenawoods said at 11:31 am on November 2nd, 2011:

    Ah, yes! It's awesome, Brooke, as soon as you kind of resign yourself to the fact that you're an oddball, you find what you've been reaching for. And honestly, I know it's not approval that people want, it's validation. But you'll only get validation when you're doing what you specifically were called to do. It feels homey when you can relax and be yourself. We've already heard these words, but it only works when you get real.

  3. 3 Michelle Pendergrass said at 11:29 am on November 2nd, 2011:

    My message for some years now has been "Alone"
    My post after Relevant, titled, "Alone."

    The last paragraph of this post–spoken directly to me. Thank you for speaking this.

  4. 4 serenawoods said at 11:45 am on November 2nd, 2011:

    Michelle, I just read your post. Where in the heck were you? We would have had some great talks. 🙂

  5. 5 Michelle Pendergrass said at 8:34 am on November 6th, 2011:

    We'll just have to have some great talks from here forward!! ((hugs))

  6. 6 Amy said at 11:32 am on November 2nd, 2011:

    "I don’t care what the ‘insiders’ think of me because I’m after the outsiders." So true. I want the outsiders to have what I have. Heck, I want the "insiders" to have it too. I think there are so many Christians who just don't even get yet exactly how much God loves them! I'm after them too. It was so nice to meet you this weekend. 🙂 (For lack of a picture I sat by you at lunch on Saturday.)

    My recent post So there's a blog party tomorrow….

  7. 7 serenawoods said at 11:46 am on November 2nd, 2011:

    Awesome, Amy. 🙂

  8. 8 @BrookeWrites said at 11:34 am on November 2nd, 2011:

    I think maybe you're the queen of real 😉
    My recent post wouldn’t you want to praise Him?

  9. 9 @BrookeWrites said at 11:46 am on November 2nd, 2011:

    Forgive me for my 3rd comment 🙂 But I can't stop thinking about this. I've never really wanted to be a blogger/writer that reaches other bloggers. I want to reach people who don't have a clue what a blog is, but NEED Jesus to get in the mess with them as much as they need air to breathe. Bloggers/writers are people too 🙂 so I don't mind reaching them with a message…

    But I don't want to be known for who I know. I don't want to leave a comment just so I can be seen. I don't want to get to know someone so that I can find out what they can do for me. Some of the info we're given just doesn't make sense when you hold it against the light of the Word. Ok, I think I might be writing a blog post of my own now. No more comments from me 😉 Today.
    My recent post wouldn’t you want to praise Him?

  10. 10 serenawoods said at 11:56 am on November 2nd, 2011:

    You can comment all you want. 🙂 I'm easy. I love knowing there are others out there.

  11. 11 @BrookeWrites said at 11:46 am on November 2nd, 2011:

    Forgive me for my 3rd comment 🙂 But I can't stop thinking about this. I've never really wanted to be a blogger/writer that reaches other bloggers. I want to reach people who don't have a clue what a blog is, but NEED Jesus to get in the mess with them as much as they need air to breathe. Bloggers/writers are people too 🙂 so I don't mind reaching them with a message…

  12. 12 Heather said at 12:19 pm on November 2nd, 2011:

    This is so the season I am in. It's great to have the words on the page to match my heart. I have been in the Christian bubble for years. And that was a good place for me then. It provided me with a good foundation and a strong core. But there's lots of weeding that needs to be done. I don't belong in the cupcake mom world. I am being drawn out.

  13. 13 serenawoods said at 3:06 pm on November 2nd, 2011:

    The air in the bubble is stagnant after a while. 🙂

  14. 14 Elizabeth said at 2:42 pm on November 2nd, 2011:

    Very well said. Jesus says some incredibly difficult things, yet we try to dilute it all down so that it becomes sip-able rather than filling. I've been thinking a lot about what it really means to love Him so much that I hate my own family in comparison. What does it look like to love Him enough that I am truly okay with anything that He throws at me? How can I not just accept the suffering of those I love but welcome it with open arms, to ask for it if He thinks it best? It is much easier to simply drink milk (Heb. 5.12-14).
    My recent post What's Your Story?

  15. 15 serenawoods said at 3:07 pm on November 2nd, 2011:

    I love your thoughts. 🙂

  16. 16 Mickey said at 2:53 pm on November 2nd, 2011:

    Thanks for the encouragement. This is exactly where I am at in my life, The Wilderness. God is getting rid of everything that is bogging me down. We had to switch churches and that's exactly how the Pastor preaches every Sunday, he speaks a message that saved my life. We found a church that looks for and reaches out to the outsiders.

  17. 17 serenawoods said at 3:08 pm on November 2nd, 2011:

    That's awesome, Mickey. 🙂

  18. 18 brookeluby said at 8:28 am on November 3rd, 2011:

    "People often talk about the importance of being in a community. That’s fine unless your community dwarfs your spiritual growth."

    Wow thank you for this. Sometimes I struggle with feeling alone and think maybe I should just "suck it up" and join a church/group where I KNOW the message being preached is not the gospel… but honestly, I can't stomach it anymore. I visited a church the other day and literally had to walk out because I wanted to throw up after the preacher started putting conditions on the love of God. I can't handle it.

    It's when I read the writings of you and others embracing our brokenness and clinging to radical grace that I feel like I am in a community. Luckily God has put a handful of great people in my life that get it too.

    So thanks, a million times. 🙂
    My recent post Narcissistic Notes From My Seventeen-Year-Old Self

  19. 19 Tawni said at 10:53 am on November 3rd, 2011:

    I felt this for years and could not put a finger on it. It wasn't until I crashed and burned, walked around in the wilderness and came back to Christ and had to start my life over again, that I was able to see the religiosity that I was once a part of. I mourn at times still over my mistakes, but God has shown me so much through my mistakes that I would have never otherwise seen. I look at people differently, pray differently, and more frequently than I ever have in my life. Thanks again Serena.

  20. 20 Cara @ WhimsySmitten said at 10:25 pm on November 5th, 2011:

    Thank you for this: "I don’t care what the ‘insiders’ think of me because I’m after the outsiders."

    I haven't always felt connected to the Christian community. I sometimes wonder if we worship to make ourselves feel safer than to be willing to lay down safety for the Lord (and I am as guilty of this as anyone). Still, sometimes my understanding of gospel-love makes me nauseate comfy believers. Outsiders, though, I can usually resonate with, but I've always felt a tad "off" in this — a black sheep for Jesus, hah. The phrase you shared really, really encouraged me to realize that loving people is the only way they will see Jesus, and if it makes me unpopular with the "in crowd", well… then I'm in good company. Thanks for this and for the powerful words you shared at Relevant. You speak volumes to me about real faith, Serena.
    My recent post The Gift of Chronic Pain

  21. 21 Sisterlisa said at 8:54 pm on November 9th, 2011:

    and yet it's lonely out in the wilderness…and it gets tiring being rejected by the ones you love.

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