At some point, make-believe Christianity has to make room for the living spirit of God. Otherwise all we got is empty doctrine. And honestly, I really don’t think that mere mental assent has any power to save anyone. A parrot can be trained to recite the sinner’s prayer, but his heart won’t change.
When you graduate from your personal master-class with God, you will know with absolute clarity what your calling is. You won’t need any paperwork to ascertain your membership status. You won’t need anyone to lay their hands on you to commission and ordain you. If Jesus’ hand is not on you in a way that you know for sure, why waste your time gaining the approval and recognition of men anyway? That would be a path of wasted years and of lingering in the desert of one’s own making.
Being angry with religion is not the same as being of the same mind with Jesus. Religion is an impersonal system of control, part of the worldly matrix. It’s an illusion that seduces even the elect and keeps many captive through its empty promises. All you have to do to come out is to change your mindset. In the words of Morpheus – “free your mind”. As you take the red pill from the hand of Jesus, your eyes will open up, all the rest will simply follow out of that. You can’t stay angry at something that no longer has any power or control over you. We have to go through the personal, custom-made training from God. It’s initiated in the secret place with him, and then we follow that program until it takes over our lives permanently. That’s when our software gets rewritten. That’s a process, but it has an end to it.
Once we are trained, equipped, and commissioned by Jesus, we won’t need to worry about the platform, finances, and being known and reached out to. Those things are the by-product of the new you. Think Curry Blake, David Hogan, Pete Cabrera, Todd White, Dan Mohler, David Joseph (aka “Praying Medic”), and scores of others like them. They don’t seek out after people. Instead, people seek them out.
Many of us don’t come into the fullness of the new creation, trying to short-circuit the development and maturing process, substituting it with various attendances, memberships, and other involvements, all of which are rooted in our old selves. If you are naturally strong person, you can run on that charge for years. But eventually even that fizzles out. Sure, good things can come out even of that. But more often that not, what we end up birthing turns out to be just another Ishmael for the most part, which ends up getting banished to the desert right around the time when we run out of steam.
That’s the missing aspect of stewardship of our God-given talents in so many churches – pastors getting burnt out and quitting, power struggles fragmenting groups of believers, churches splitting. It’s much better to structure our faith lives in such a way that what we produce is born of God, is shepherded and taken care by God from the get-go, it doesn’t drain our strength and keep us awake at night. It may take years to develop that level of God-character, but the payoff is worth it. You want to be strong, joyful, and ready to go 5, 10, and 20 years down the road. Think Bill Johnson and the Bethel crew, Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley, and Brian Tome.
My goal is to have a sustainable, deeply personal, tangibly reciprocal relationship with God. I strive to build relationships with like-minded people, so that we can encourage each other in our pursuits.
I am no longer excited being part of organizations where all you do is look at the head of the person next to you for an hour or more, and listen to the same person week after week tell everyone what they have presumably received from God. There’s maybe nothing wrong with that per se, it just doesn’t do it for me anymore. Being a small circle on someone’s orgchart no longer holds any appeal to me.
That’s why I value being part of a family much more than I value being part of an organization. Usually with churches the two go hand-in-hand, but one of the two aspects usually prevails quite clearly. If you have to submit your relationship with God under someone’s purview, and if you lose your right of voice on an equal footing with everyone else, then this organizational membership can do more harm than good.
I believe in free sons and daughters of God coming alongside each other and fulfilling their calling, as they are called and led, without anyone pushing, prodding, goading, shaming, guilting, or a combination thereof. I don’t need anyone to make up my mind for me. That’s my role. I don’t need anyone in the position of doctrinaire-in-chief, either. That’s the role I am reserving for Jesus Christ.
Anyway, that’s how I view things at this point of my walk with God. Your walk with God, and your view may be different. But this is my story, and I’m sticking with it.