Being Done This is a link to a recent article about people like myself who are so close to being done with church.
“Religion knew the truth of metaphor and symbol for almost all of history until the past few hundred years, and especially until the wrongly named Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries. Then we started confusing rational and provable with real. We actually regressed and went backward. In trying to defend its ground in the face of rationalism and scientism, religion tried to become “rational” itself and lost its alternative consciousness, which many of us call contemplation. It’s as though we tried to deal with Mystery with the entirely wrong “software”. We lost access to the higher levels of consciousness, the transrational, the transpersonal, the transcendent itself. Most tragic, we lost most inner experience of our own outer belief systems. That is the heart of religion’s problem today, and it is indeed a deep and serious problem for upcoming generations. My generation took the symbols to literally, and now the following generation is just throwing them all out as useless. We are both losing. It might surprise you, but both religious fundamentalism and atheism are similar in that they are self-contained rational systems. Such a system works if you stay inside its chosen logic and territory.” ― Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self
My church, The Ann Arbor Vineyard is smoldering with the remnants of conflict, both internally among the pastors and externally with the National church leaders. I am not going to go into the history of the conflict, because to do so I will need to make statements that someone will choose to agree or disagree with, and that will prove my point. We have lost our way. Apologetics has unraveled what is really at stake here. There is a different paradigm, set forth before creation. Not written about in the bible but every bit as true. The reality of faith, undefinable or the ability to trust completely in an unseeable God, to care and watch over.
Dan lost his oldest child recently. He came about as close as loosing his faith and trust in God as anyone else I know. Yet despite all Dan continues to press into a God he can question. Over the past 30 or so years I lost my identity in my church. Then the crisis happened, while itwas going on I found the deeper reality, a greater truth, that doesn’t require my behavior. Which has a little irony because the issue surrounding the church involves peoples behavior. There are those that believe in this God, and those that he has made some sort of moral code that rules the behavior of even the most hardened atheist.
But delving into that defeats my purpose here.
“That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
It is the fruit of the wrong tree has which has fermented and intoxicated making us “right” so we can strive until He returns. The tree of life has become something we don’t earn until heaven. Or at worst it is left in the garden. Who needs it, when you have the written word of scripture to systematically theologize? We struggle to keep ourselves independent and separated from the inevitable reality. We call deviation dangerous and churches split. Both sides placing their stake in the ground. The idea of a good God is questioned and a God that is to wonderful to be true has caused, the question was asked of me, “Paul are you a gnostic?”
WTF- must we label what we don’t understand?
It makes no difference whether you keep the law to be saved, sanctified, or sanctimonious. Being faithful to the law is being unfaithful to Jesus. It’s walking by sight instead of faith. It’s walking after the old way of the flesh instead of the new and living way of the Spirit. Live by the law – any law – and you fall from grace. You set aside the cross and trample the Son of God underfoot”.- Paul Ellis- Escape to Reality
“For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”
“Not yet”, we say, “I have a family to care for, I have a ministry, I have a business, I need to earn money until I can save enough…”
Faith is about acknowledging that the kingdom works, not how to get it to work.
My life verses come from the interchange between Elijah and Elisha in 1Kings 19:19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother good-by,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”
“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”
1Kings 19:21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant.
Kill the ox, burn the equipment, feed the people and follow those who choose to eat from the Tree of Life.
Heb. 4:1 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. 3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’” And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5 And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”
Heb. 4:6 It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7 Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.