True Christianity has no earthly boss, bosses, or layers of bureaucratic leadership. Rather, it has one, heavenly Head Who is made manifest corporately through the Word and the Spirit as each part functions as a body. This corporate identity of the Head, which is none other than the very person of Christ, is made manifest not with ceremonies, traditions, forms, models, services, buildings, programs, structures, rules, regulations, rites, creeds, star performers, or well-crafted speeches, but, rather, through self-sacrificing, obedient love. This is the essence of God, of His Christ, and of His Bride.
I am held captive by my imagination in Christ. As I read Scripture and move deeper into intimacy with Father, I am compelled to share more, pray more, and find myself broken over my own sin. I have posted the following quotes before, but thought they may be needed again…
I am not here attacking Christianity, but only the institutional mantle that cloaks it.
A truth’s initial commotion is directly proportional to how deeply the lie was believed. It wasn’t the world being round that agitated people, but that the world wasn’t flat. When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.
Experience supplies painful proof that traditions once called into being are first called useful, then they become necessary. At last they are too often made idols, and all must bow down to them or be punished.
J. C. Ryle
I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us. If the book we are reading doesn’t shake us awake like a blow on the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? . . . A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.
If Christianity is to receive a rejuvenation it must be by other means than any now being used. If the church in the second half of [the twentieth] century is to recover from the injuries she suffered in the first half, there must appear a new type of preacher. The proper, ruler-of-the-synagogue type will never do. Neither will the priestly type of man who carries out his duties, takes his pay and asks no questions, nor the smooth-talking pastoral type who knows how to make the Christian religion acceptable to everyone. All these have been tried and found wanting. Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the Throne. When he comes (and I pray God there will not be one but many) he will stand in flat contradiction to everything our smirking, smooth civilization holds dear. He will contradict, denounce and protest in the name of God and will earn the hatred and opposition of a large segment of Christendom.
Here it is, plain and unvarnished. Unless I am convinced of error by the testimony of Scripture or (since I put no trust in the unsupported authority of Pope or councils, since it is plain that they have often erred and often contradicted themselves) by manifest reasoning, I stand convinced by the Scriptures to which I have appealed, and my conscience is taken captive by God’s word. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us. On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.
These quotes haunt my imagination, and stir something deep within. They leave me very unsettled and unsatisfied with the status quo. They make me uncomfortable, and compel me to move out of the safety net and into the battle. While I appreciate and enjoy our gatherings, I know my life must be spent in the trenches of real life everyday, joining Father in His Kingdom agenda.
I’ll end with this stirring thought:
Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, NLT
I have noticed a significant spike in readers to my blog lately. So, with that, I say welcome. Please feel free to peruse my old posts and conversations over the last two years. You will notice several things:
- I have ruffled a few feathers.
- I have been set straight a few times.
- I am learning.
- I will contradict myself from time to time.
- I have grown in maturity and grace.
- I am still in much need of grace from Father and my friends.
You may also notice that there are some large gaps in my blogging history. I have no real reason for this. I just didn’t have anything to write or share during these times. Sometimes I was trying to wait out nay-sayers.
I do ask my readers and commentors to share a few “rules”:
- I don’t debate Bible versions. Ever. (You can add to that: style of clothing and music.)
- I don’t want to host arguments. That is what message boards are for.
- I want to read conversations that honor and respect one another.
- I ask that we try to include “smileys” when using sarcasm and/or tongue-in-cheek comments. It helps difuse hostility. 🙂
- I ask that everyone would try to point the rest of us to Jesus. He is the Head, the King, and Savior.
I will unapolegetically say: I left the institutional church for many reasons. It is what Father has for me and my family, and those we do life with today. We express our faith in different ways than what is traditionally understood. I have no use for titles, positions, articles of faith, creeds, traditions, bureaucracy, buildings, liturgies, “church services”, and many other structures within traditional/conventional/institutional churches. I am not saying these things are wrong or unuseful, they are just not for me. I will occasionally challenge some of these things, but I try to be respectful of the many friends and family I have that still serve our Savior in these structures. I also cherish some of the memories I have when I was a part of these systems. After all, it was in a very traditional church that I heard the Gospel and gave my life to Christ. It just happened to be outside of that setting that I finally began to learn how to fully know Him and be His disciple! 🙂
Anyway, I know I don’t have it all “figured” out. I am a learner. I don’t believe “house church” is the only way to “do it”. This life is about following the Way of Jesus. He is the One we are to follow. Jesus made that VERY clear in Scripture. The Holy Spirit is the One who leads ALL followers into the Truth, not people. This happens in real life everyday, not just in a house gathering or a once a week “church service”. The Father went to great lengths to have a personal relationship with His people where no person would have to be the “go-between”. This relationship is 24/7/365, and it happens everywhere we do life. This, my friends, is what I am passionate about; connecting people with Jesus.
Please interact with me on this journey. Be gentle when I say stupid things. Read carefully, though, because Father may use my journey to help encourage yours.
BTW, you can check out my beautiful family at: Rhodes Rules!