“What are you trying to tell me? That I can dodge bullets?”
“No, Neo. I’m trying to tell you that when you’re ready, you won’t have to.”
disclaimer: lots of rambling to follow...
something has happened to living by faith. to living by the spirit. it has been replaced with living by a code of conduct and beliefs. i understand why this code has come into place. people in places of seeming responsibility were looking for ways to keep people from sinking below a certain line as pertains their conduct. it is certainly useful for that, and i believe that can be a good thing. but there comes a time, it seems, in the lives of some, when the doctrines and belief structures are no longer holding them up, but rather holding them down & in. which, i do not believe is the intention, but it has happened and does happen nonetheless.
yet, i don't think that discarding all classical knowledge or structures is necessarily the answer. i think i needed that kind of structure to grow inside until the time was right. but there seems to be a certain type of stagnation that comes from our classical forms of church structure where the church leadership are the ones who "hear from god" and pass it on to you, the sheep. true growth towards self-controlseems elusive. learning how to "hear the spirit" on a moment to moment basis is not generally an emphasis, and if it is, it can be a little on the side of "this seems more crazy than genuine." more of a show for the sake of the show rather than a way to heal the world. and in either tradition, the layperson is left knowing that their faith is truly not their own and that they need to run their beliefs through the filter of doctrine for whatever their tradition is in order to be deemed acceptable.
which is fine, i guess. i'm not trying to say good, bad, right, or wrong... what i'm trying to say is that it does not end up being the faith that i see the earliest people involving themselves in. jews OR christians. the lives of the apostles seemed to be rooted in the "now." and they didn't run around talking to people outside their faith tradition saying things like "the bible says..." in order to convince them. they had real-life real-time examples of the life lived by the spirit and the accompanying power. which, now that i think about it, is truly my problem with traditional structures and forms of church and religious education. they are devoid of power. they are rooted in the past, about things god has done a long time ago. things that you need to believe in faith and somehow, magically, this faith will radically transform you into the kind of person that leadership says god wants you to be.
once again, that's all well and good for what it is. some people might really need that. but it didn't work for me. i can't tell you the numerous hours i spent worrying, wondering what was wrong with me. allowing "job's comforters" and some real-life "jON's comforters" to shred my inner being and confidence because the proclaimed boundaries and proscribed behaviors didn't produce the promised holiness and perfection and devout and disciplined life that they said they would.
and in the end, it simply turns out that what works for someone else does not necessarily work for everyone.
can i give you a scripture to proclaim this in true evangelical fashion? not one singular one, no. not even a doctrinal structure. i can simply point towards examples of the kind of life of which i'm speaking. the life where nothing else matters in light of the cross and we are free to follow the god anywhere she would ask us to go at any time without worrying whether or not a misstep will cause us to lose our "salvation". more often than not, this is simply a sick and twisted means of control. because at the end of the day, scripture doesn't say that we must obey it or even believe it in order to be saved. it simply says that we believe in jesus. and even then, that's not the only way that it says we may live...not according to jesus anyway.
and that is what i desire. life. it seems so strange that there are so many of us who at one time were the ones at the forefront of our respective "bodies" begging god for more of himself, asking god continually, sometimes for years, to lead us deeper, to give us more of himself, and to use us more, found ourselves in situations where we were at odds with the human leadership that was "in charge" or "our" church. painfully, violently, and suddenly we were outside and left nursing our wounds and wondering, "what just happened?" all over the globe, this scenario has played itself out in a myriad of different ways. yet, at the heart, it was always the same. for some reason, we needed to get out.
i believe god wanted us to get out. to get us to a place where we could hear and obey him and him alone. because no disrespect to human leadership in churches and the task set before them, but often times their teachings can cause one to disobey god because we have been told that god is "always this" and "never that." that god "doesn't ask people to do things like that." and on and on.
how often i feel like peter meditating on the roof and being given a vision. a vision and a command which horrifies my religious self. but the command comes all the same, and the rebuke at my religious horror comes with it as well. "don't call anything impure which god has made clean." it flies in the face of everything i have ever been taught. it flies in the face of everything i have been trying so hard to suppress and "deny myself" for so long. to find, at the end of it all that god is asking me to now go against all of those good and "godly" teachings... it leaves one a little punch-drunk.
what am i saying here? i'm not really sure. just talking out loud i guess. not really trying to convince anyone of anything. perhaps just trying to spark dialogue or find direction for what i really want to say. i don't know.
but i do know that something is vitally missing in what is called the "christian life." how different things would be if we were living with spiritual confidence and power. to be able to heal or feed a villiage or say "this is what the spirit says" and not be full of shit.
how does one find that? and how does one communicate that it has been found so that it can be recognized by those who say it can not and should not happen? and is this anything that can be reproduced by following steps? or is it up to the master to call whomever he will, as he will, when he will?
A two week break
9 hours ago