So we can all agree that things aren’t perfect…right? If you think that they are, we can wait, because “things” change all the time. Your car is going to break down, you’re going to understand how to parent/correct your 3 year old son, and then he’ll turn 4, or (worse case scenario) nothing changes for you but it does for the world around you.
The Truth is we live in flux. We live in chaos. We live with shifting currents. We live with high tides and low tides. We live with seasons (of course, I live in Houston, so we have mild and “armpit” seasons).
I think that everyone who is anyone would be willing to accept that change, up until this point in our lives, is an Absolute. How you got here, or even the fact that you are here is not by your choice, but rather by choices. I would not have thought 5 years ago to be writing these words, and by default, you couldn’t known you’d be reading them.
We are both here, right here, because we are responding to something that is broken. If it wasn’t, we would spend our time and energy doing something else.
The “brokenness” is as much a positive as it is a negative. You might say it’s immoral because we were born into it, and we only perpetuate it because it is our nature. You weren’t looking for there to be a disconnect, it was already there and it creates a longing in you to “figure it out”.
But, alas, you will “figure it out”, only to realize that you have missed something, or you have received new data, or you have had a new experience, or it’s as simple as what worked yesterday only worked yesterday. It was a “shelf-lived” solution. It’s power to resolve is decaying and our inability to recognize it leads us to a very dark place.
This place is a bunker filled with boxes of “silver bullets” that we’ve been buying only to open up and illuminate that the silver coating was a facade. A mirage. An illusion of being God. We thought we knew it all and had the “cure” that the ailments of this world was looking for. So we stare at these boxes and have to make a choice.
Do we stay in the bunker?
Do we repaint them silver and repackage them?
Do we admit they aren’t working anymore?
Do we repent to the world?
Do we repent to God?
Do we just ignore the darkness that they are creating and brokenness they have created?
Do we just yell “wolf” and “heretic” at all of those that begin to ask questions?
It’s tough to understand why we are so ingrained. People will make the argument that “it’s because that how it’s always been”, but simply isn’t True. No form or structure has always been. The family unit and structure has shifted. The work environments have shifted. The controls and governmental process have shifted.
When we discuss changing church or ecclesiology, we are labeled heretics, stoned, burned at the stake, or worse.
The beautiful thing is the Bible isn’t nearly as concerned about form as it is the heart. Don’t misunderstand me, there are forms in Scripture, but there are also forms that get attacked by God, prophets, Jesus, and then Paul. The problem that arises is that we lay claim to structures/forms/bureaucracies to be essential, when they are not.
So many churches in the Church claim that elders must do and be this and that clergy must do and be that. Some which I’d personally agree with. Heck, most I agree with, but that doesn’t mean they are indivisible. And I would even push that there is a time and a context when some things are and were necessary, meaning they were absolutely needed to spread the Gospel. Although they were needed yesterday, and some are needed today, but that doesn’t mean they will be needed tomorrow. That logic might work with math or science, but not with a relational God and with His relational people.
We have tried to gain control with dogma and doctrine at times, and we will continue to do so in the future. To deny this is to simply deny the “fallenness” of you and I. We want to be God. We always have and we will continue to do so until we become completely aware of who He is. Why do we think our forms of church are void of this? Why do we believe that our idolatrous hearts wouldn’t be susceptible to this in the arenas of doctrine, orthodoxy, and ecclesiology?
My only guess is evil, but that’s a doctrine.
I see there is a desire to assume you and I have it right, because we would change if we thought we had it wrong. Right? So there is a protectionism that exists here. An Ephesian 6 quote would be yelled at me by this point, but I think Ephesians 6 has to be read in light of Ephesians 4 too. Maybe there is a need to protect our hearts from the evils of the world and the evils of false doctrine and religions. I think anyone that has children tries to do this. (or a large amount of possessions)
We want protection from the world.
Let’s put all the people that believe all the “correct doctrine” on an island for a month. I’m sure you’ll see very quickly that believing “correctly” and structuring “correctly” will not amount to much. Let’s extend that month out to 2100 years and you’ll see even more, that it breaks down exponentially. The protection isn’t just against heresy, legalism, idolatry, gnosticism, and the devil. It is also calling for protection against the deceitful desires of my heart, and yours. We have to surrender to God and ask for protection against our own thoughts, feelings, wants, and ego (psyche).
This is where we find ourselves today.
We are a people trying, and seeking, and messing it up constantly. When I write something that I believe is right, God knows when I’m wrong. I can’t get around this, but He still allows me to do so. I believe in a God that knows that you and I aren’t Him. I also believe that we need to be constantly reminded of this Fact as well. He is aware that we don’t know what we are doing, no matter how convinced we are that we are right.
But yet, He still goes to the cross.
(pause to regain humility)
So my simple proposal is that we break church.
We do it often and we do it with intentionality. We already knows it’s broken, and the piece-mealing and bandaging aren’t making it better. The world can easily point out the greed, pride, lust, gluttony and arrogance that manifests itself in the church. (see big building, security teams, etc) We know that we are struggling to hold on to what worked in the “good ole days” (note: God does call us the remember and to remind ourselves of these days too). The world sees untransformed, un-repentive people in the buildings we call church. while those of us in those churches yell to the world to change and repent.
We don’t tear down our “Babels” out of anger and malice, but out of submission to the One that builds in the first place. We prune and we allow seasons of pruning. We have the “keys to the Kingdom, not the Church”.
This isn’t a call to sacrifice Truth, but exactly the opposite. It’s a call to repent and return to Him.
We are lost.
This isn’t about leadership.
This isn’t about vision.
It’s actually about surrendering control. God doesn’t need you to hold on to the way you baptize or how/who you ordain, He wants you to hold on to Him.
I write this
…with repentance because I have seen where I’ve stood in the past and was wrong
…with humility because I know that this will lead me to repentance in the future
…and with an understanding that if we are right without love, we are nothing but a noisy gong.
May you be blessed with Shema, blessed with allowing God to redeem you more and more, and blessed with the understanding that God is always in front of us.