How have we missed what ‘Christianity’ is about? so far removed from living and relationships, from giving and being a friend, loving those in proximity to our daily living
Satan has done a job on us and we are unaware of His deceptions.
Jesus didn’t come to start a religion but a renewed relationship with the Father, in His Household as His Family, brother, sister! He sets the foundations not humans!
How is it holiness came to be a set of rules and regulations then when that didn’t work a lot of nonsensical diatribe allowing licentiousness and lust to run rampant under the guise freedom and supposed love. In other words a version of the Hippy culture of the sixties and seventies. I was there.
How is it church has come to mean attending a meeting, usually on a Sunday? Jesus meant life, His life
How is it we have reduced love and concern to referring it to a professional to handle the problems of others?
How is it ministry has come to mean the clergy who do their religious stuff, exempting personal living and giving from the arena of Life and Light? You know the person who has all the answers or who has all the gifts of the Spirit flying off their fingers, impressive and charismatic?
How is it giving has been reduced to tithing, a legal obligation?
How is it doctrine has come to mean ‘my doctrine what I believe’ or the denominations’ doctrine?
Christianity has come to mean obligation, manipulation, power, compliance,
Most who call themselves Christian have reduced Christianity to mean belief in certain ‘core’ doctrines then you are a verifiable believer who has crossed their ‘t’s and dotted their proverbial doctrinal ‘i’s; a good ‘Christian’ attends a meeting at least once a week on a Sunday morning, smiles in supposed victory regardless of the pain, the hurt or disillusionment within their soul – don’t ever express your weaknesses you will be ‘outed’ to the sin bin; live a clean holy life without imperfection, certainly don’t sin; share your faith that’s being a good evangelical especially if it’s Two Ways to Live or Four Spiritual Laws [don’t we like to box and categorize our beliefs].
While all this sounds good and proper such an expression of Faith in JESUS of Nazareth is a pale insipid shadow of what has been done for us in CHRIST JESUS and who we are to be. Then there is the foundational ‘key’ issue of how we fail to be who HE has called us to be to and with each other and the world at large. As a consequence of our failure we are less than HE intends us to be; to each other and to our world which is desperately crying out for hope.
Consider this quote:
‘Our churches are filled with people who outwardly look contented and at peace but inwardly are crying out for someone to love them…just as they are – confused, frustrated, often frightened, guilty, and often unable to communicate even within their own families. But the other people in the church look so happy and contented that one seldom has the courage to admit his own deep needs before such a self-sufficient group as the average church meeting appears to be.’ Keith Miller, The Taste of New Wine, Waco: Texas, 1965, p.22
The first century believers and followers of JESUS of Nazareth would hardly recognise our faith today.
The dynamics they experienced as normal turned their world upside down. Most were illiterate, there was no Bible as such and few had access to the writings of the Apostles etc.; they had no buildings, no wealth, no programmes or outreach events as such and not the mega abundance of resources we have at our finger tips today; they were uneducated men and women. Yet they in three centuries took over the mightiest empire of their day. Then, when the post Nicene Fathers deserted their ‘distinctives’ they in turn were taken over by the Empire they took over!
Beware do not depart from the ‘distinctives’ in CHRIST JESUS!
[I know I know I haven’t told you what ‘distinctives’ are – come on give me a break – I’m a poor writer who has limited ability and an even lesser ability to convey his ideas – that is why I’m writing – help me. Dialogue with me – don’t be typically Christian and pronounce the ideas either right or wrong then write me off. That is pathetic at best. At worst it is judgemental – I would encourage you not to go there. I know I haven’t got it all right so if you are a man or woman of GOD grace in dialogue is my heart’s desire. I’ll grow and hopefully you will too!]
Isn’t GOD amazing? The weak, the insipid, the poor and the outcasts HE uses to do mighty deeds of seemingly insignificance acts at the time. Yet when our doing comes from our ‘being’ close to HIM our doing takes upon it Kingdom power and purpose that sows the seeds of HIM in others lives. This takes our effort from the realm of the flesh into the realm of HIS Kingdom.
This gives me hope to know that wherever we HIS people are at this moment [whether you are of those who are weak and an insipid shadow or as strangers and pilgrims on the earth who seek for the Heavenly city whose foundation and Maker is GOD for those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.]. There is hope for those of us who turn to HIM, to hear HIS voice now and become those who abide in HIM, we have chosen the ‘better part’; HIM.
But they had something we lack. In their lack they possessed a wealth we can only dream or hope will come to pass in our day. Yet many of us do dream and we do hope because we know HE loves HIS people. The problem from the day of sin in the garden has been we enjoy being free of the restraint of HIM who has called us; we are so biased to do our thing, our way when we want.
Yet despite the many weaknesses and problems of the first and early church problems of apostasies and schisms and the lack they overcame. Love triumphed and it was said “Behold how they love one another!”
We have been created for love, to give love, to love and to dwell in LOVE HIMSELF. Love is our testimony and love is to be our lifestyle. Therefore let me ask this penetrating question. How is it our inability to love our brothers and sisters is acceptable to us today?
- How is it we don’t know when our brothers and sisters are hurting? Even if we do know we have a tried and true way of dismissing them and the inconveniences of their problems. Now I believe in prayer having had many powerful answers over 51 years. However when we say to our brothers and sisters when we do know their problems “Let me pray for you.” I believe prayer is not enough if the brother or sister needs what I have and I am able to give it before the LORD [James 2: 15 &16]. Unfortunately it is not cool to share your need, your problem or your doubt. Culturally it is not the done deal. How is it such an approach is acceptable that keeps the pain of the others at arms length? Rather than entering into their pain and suffering most avoid them such people. Do you think our GREAT SHEPHERD is happy with our dismissive culturally avoiding distancing approach that clearly expresses our lack of love for one another? That is about to change. There is an historical aspect as well as the cultural aspect to our lack of love.
- Community is a place where you are known for who you are. Community is about relationships. In community pretenses are revealed and relationships are tested. The sin of being you cannot be covered. A fearsome place for a person from a Western civilisation culture. No wonder we have enshrined individuality, independence, consumerism, privacy and relativism as sacred. God does not not find them sacred as our culture does. For each of these the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST contravenes each cultural norm. Yet the Church of our day accepts these cultural norms; most without question.The Nature of societies through the millenniums was communal. Community held societies together for all of human history until World War II. In Western Civilisation the breakdown in local communities began in the Industrial Revolution until today a communal awareness for every day life [not crisis] in Australia is virtually non-existent. The advent of technology gave us the ability to distance ourselves from each other by buying space; technology trinkets such as the TV, the motor car and the desktop computer
More to come, I’m tired and I’m going to bed. Peace and blessings