So, on FB, my polling center of the generic American thinker, I asked a question:
“Why, in its fundamental public expression, has the church chosen to adhere to a secular model then attempted to adapt the Biblical model to it rather than adhere to the Biblical model and adapt a secular model to fulfill legal requirements w/o compromising Biblical, foundational structure and responsibility?”
Now, I didn’t expect much of a response and, frankly, I wasn’t surprised by the responses I got.
Some atta’girls, which are always expected and some chirping of crickets from some family I love who couldn’t quite get the gist of what I was saying and even a comment from a very intelligent lady who is Very Catholic.
What struck me most was my aunt’s response, because, perhaps for the first time, I found I have an answer to why people stay in supremely unhealthy environments for inordinately long periods of time.
Aunt E wrote, “I CANT FOLLOW WHAT U R TRYING TO SAY!!! but thats ok…u r the one that can figure it out for yourself and it would probably make more sense to you when u do! im tooo simply-minded to get toooo deep! God’s blessings to u when u do!! but i’s ♥ ya anyways!!! oxox..♥”
It’s not really that she is mentally and physically incapable of following the conversation, she’s intelligent enough. It’s that it’s a thought process which is completely foreign to her.
Back in the early, zealous days of faith I read a verse that has become pivotal to almost every aspect of my life.
1 Thessalonians 5:21, I like NASB.
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;
That truth. That simple, clear truth rocked my world. It wasn’t just an option to ask questions and think critically. IT’S A REQUIREMENT!!!! And I was inspired and ashamed and convicted and repentant and determined.
That thought, that vers is followed closely by:
1 Corinthians 14:29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment.
And, we can’t forget,
And, my question about Church, Inc. aside, what the HECK happened to us?
One guy up front… No body thinks… Everybody gives… Then we all smile, shake hands and wander off into our comfy little apathetic worlds.
Is it an indicator of how little we care about the Body? About those around us? Are we really as simple that as long as we have the comfort of our few friends, the sense of community (which is dwindling, y’know) the socialization which we believe so desperately that we need that we have lost our way? Are we just too lazy to ask? Too un-trained in the discipline of critical thought? Of logical progression? We know that 1+1=2 but we can’t seem to compute that immature + selfish = disaster or controlling + authority = dictatorship?
When did we quit testing each other? Challenging each other to work harder to build our faith, with fear and trembling. As we are commanded to do!
I met a man yesterday. He is near retirement age, gregarious, confident. He had a firm handshake and a broad smile. We engaged in a short conversation about life and liberty and family. We have friends in common.
He’s one of the people who came into That Place after we left. He is one of the three who took over the roles I had filled while I was there. And, frankly, I think I would have enjoyed getting to know him. He was successful in a first, very demanding career and is now successful in a second. He’s educated. He’s… Well… There’s just no good reason that he should be so deeply integrated into a place that is, so obviously to anyone who will think critically, a cult. A cult with bits of truth deeply embedded into a controlling, embezzling, frighteningly duplicitous environment.
When did he quit questioning? What did he compromise to go there?
I look at us, all those years ago, and I have to soberly think about what we had to choose to ignore to continue.
The question I wrote at the beginning of this was a question I wrote in the fall of 2007. During a time when we were seeing misuse of communal funds, abuse of power and an almost pathological need to control others. An illogical need to lie about the simplest of things.
We had again been awakened to that truth… “Test all things. Hold FAST to all that is good.” And we were beginning to see the price we would have to pay for that truth to be lived out.
During the season of Teshuvah, of repentance, we have an opportunity to make things right between friends, enemies, families.
This is the third year I have prayed that the Lord would prompt them to make things right with us. Not because I have any desire to return to that fellowship. Heaven forbid!!!! But so they could be free from the bondage they are drowning in. I have already forgiven them. In my heart. In my actions. In my prayers.
I pity them. They are foolish, weak, blind and confused.
I have often wondered how much of the pain we observed, participated in and walked through was done because of the Business of a congregation that so completely served itself that it defiled the service of G_d’s people. And I am humbled and sobered when I think of how much less I would have contributed to that very machine had I the sense to remember the WOrd and obey the Truth I know. The Truth I knew.
That the Body is a living, breathing organism which needs to grow, to change, to be refined and to be led. And while we are privileged to be a part of that process in whatever manner the Lord chooses? It’s His Body, not mine to lead. It’s His to direct, not mine to control. And if the restrictions the world and the IRS would try to impose are at odds with the clearly stated definitions of order and structure found within the Word?
Then, we work diligently to be at peace but never compromise who we are.
Followers of Christ.