Posted: February 28th, 2008 |
Filed under: God, life |
8 Comments »
I spend a lot of time thinking about the countless numbers of people who want to know more about God and desire a relationship with Jesus, but won’t go to church because of the people in it. It’s easy for people to brush them off as self seeking sinners and go on with church business as usual. However, one can’t completely ignore the thousands of people who have been turned off by their ‘Christian’ friends and turned away by inattentive pastors.
I read a blog written by a very intelligent and open minded young woman who attended a youth group as a teenager. She had a self described intense and passionate love for Jesus and was a fast friend for her fellow church attendees. As she was developing her faith system and undergoing the torturous, yet necessary, experimental stage of her adolescence, she had many controversial views on life and the liberties it accompanied. When she would share her life theories with the church leaders, her questions would be shut down and she would be steered in a direction of religious formulas and rules designed to eliminate the need for questions about the life of a Christian.
Although confused, she was not a bit deterred from the task of sorting out life philosophies, theology queries and the search for deeper spiritual understanding. She did learn rather quickly, however, to not ask the big boys at church the big questions. She wrote of learning that people who called themselves Christians had no idea how to hold a conversation about their faith, let alone have any room for or knowledge of gaps in the very faith system in which their lives were devoted.
The intelligent and inquisitive blog author is now a practicing witch under the Vodoun belief. She has, no doubt, forfeited a relationship with Jesus to seek another religion. I wonder, could she have been saved with love rather than with regulations? Rules are set up to control the individual inclination to act for ones’ self. Grace is set up to redeem the individual self to a position of upright standing even if the individual is a chronic head stander.
Many arguments can be made about her initial relationship with Jesus and the foundational setting in which she was brought up, but the fact remains that there is a world that is tired of the apparently thoughtless church that would rather have a group of soldiers that look the part than a diverse group of characters that can actually be the part.
The life of a believer is a process by which an individual of flesh and blood undergoes a life changing event with a supernatural occurrence of the Spirit of the Almighty entering the defiled shell of man, bringing his spirit to life. The old man is still there and has urges, twitches, questions and niches. In the life process, the old man is continually brought to a face to face confrontation with the new man and is repeatedly submitted and acquitted.
When you deal, on a day to day basis, with anybody in a flesh and blood condition, you are dealing with a half baked product. He is mushy, ill formed and unfit for consumption. If you are looking for a finished product to set on display as your own trophy of disciple making accomplishment then you are setting yourself up for a monumental temple bruising. The pedestal that any man can elevate to is a mirage. As soon as you rely on him to perform he will fall from the height and bash you on the way down.
If you are looking for a photo-op worthy performance then you will be inclined to discipline him severely and you may even remove your hand of friendship as a sign of dissociation for a badge earning display to your fellow achievement motivated bruisers. There is a thick blooded social club formed within the steeple topped walls and, little ‘g’, god forbid the fellow who defies the temperamental windmill powered spirit that leads the sign seeking devotees to their patch of unattainable immortal morality.
The challenge is as follows: What is wrong with an inquisitive mind that seeks the truth no matter what it may be? What if a person, heart after God, heads hell bent and long winded down the wrong path? Does your panic set in, or do you trust God to lead them down a path of personal discovery? Do you know that the most influential people on Earth are also the most unruly and somewhat scary in their wild ideas and unconventional formulas? If you trust God to care for His own sheep, then you can gently culminate a herd of well bread animals that, in the heartbreaking event they get lost, can rely on their unique and authentic Spiritual DNA to lead them back to the path that is illuminated in the light of unabashed grace.
Single mindedness is not the same as narrow mindedness. Having an open mind while maintaining the single focus of following Jesus and gathering Godly truth is what it’s all about. People learn more from their failures than they do by trying to avoid failing. You lose your need for Jesus when you spend all of your energy trying to cultivate a moral life.
I am someone who can provide bloody testimony supporting that fact. I have found myself lined up with scripture as a complete moral failure more so than as a rule following, formula abiding, peer pleasing marionette. I found authenticity in obscurity and Jesus in desolation. Death to self came in the experience of sin. Life and Truth came to replace reputation and self seeking inspiration.