Friday, June 23, 2006

Live & Let Die:'Take Up Your Cross'

I have been reading a lot of blogs lately, from right-wing to left-wing, and basically I noticed a shift in the way we view the church. There is some people out there that are starting to see a new vision for the church, in that vision they challenge the current structure but they feel alone so they 'do' nothing (similar to Elijah, who hid, who still had 70 that never bowed a knee to Baal). It raised for me an interesting point, if there is like '70' of us out there with this vision, why do we leave church and take our talents and 'hide them away'?

Why? We didn't think God would ask this of us, still we seeked for the answers we got, we just never expected it to work out this way for us. This '70' likely left the church and developed their ideas in secret, away from prying eyes and the over-bearing structure of the church (similar to the prophets in the OT). There is however one remaining difference between those prophets and this '70', those prophets risked it all to change the religious structure of it's day. We do not risk a thing, except the fact we fail with what God has shown us.

Do I see this in the gospel at all? It is the gospel. Jesus, ironically enough, risked it all for the God he loved and in turn loved Him also. Funny thing about Jesus was he saw this coming still His faith challenged the religious order of the day and He was killed for it. What do you think He was teaching the whole time? Jesus went into the heart of the religious order, challenged it's ideals, ethics, and sincerity, and was then crucified for showing a God of love (whereas the religious judgment (blasphemy) had Him killed). This is the same person we call saviour.

What was Jesus saying to us? God's love/salvation is for everybody and no structure can be strong enough to bottle that up, if they do, then they must be challenged. Jesus didn't dismiss this would happen. In calling his disciples he said 'follow me'...or 'do as I do and follow right behind me'. He mentions in the beatitudes (Matt 5:10-12) persecution for your faith...from who? Atheists? Apparently, the religious order of the day since every disciple was 'persecuted' for their belief in the Christ, even killed. Jesus also further mentions 'take up your cross and follow me', now if that ain't obvious I can't make it any clearer. The cross came to signify 'death' not wearing it as comemerative decoration. Just so you do get it, you just might be killed for your faith in Christ...which in turn means defending justice, mercy, and faithfulness (Matt 23:23).

So the prophets of old and Jesus all followed this weird formula, challenging the religious order of the day when they saw 'hypocrisy'. But we don't see the need, we get this vision, leave church, develop our ideas of a God who loves us, and then we live happily ever after...wrong. The body of Christ needs you. Why would God show you something and ask nothing of you? Find me one person God gave answers to that did nothing with it? For this is the gospel. The reality of it all is the church doesn't like you and you don't like it. Why? Apparently, the church thinks it has the whole revelation of God when in fact that doesn't seem to be the case at all. I'll bet Israel in Elijah's days thought the same way. I'll bet Jeremiah was hated for being against Israel when in fact he was for them. I'll bet they killed Isaiah because his vision of God didn't line up with traditional views. I'll almost bet that Jesus was killed because they thought he was a 'blasphemer' and taught against the structure...what was his charge, oh yeah, that he will destroy the temple 'of God' and rebuild it in 3 days. Sounds eerily familar to some of the '70' in this modern context.

So you wanna follow Christ? But I don't want to go to church dear sir. But I don't want to be disliked for my views on God. I don't want to challenge their views, as archaic I find them to be. Then suit yourself, follow yourself. You have been given a gift from God and you refuse to follow through on your search. But can you say with me 'I do have fear'. Not a fear of God, no way, you know He is loving and accepting and all those wonderful things you have experienced. You have a fear of man. He is not so loving, accepting, and all those wonderful things you have learned of God. So what makes them right and you wrong, silence.

If you love your neighbor, then live amongst them and show them the love of God. Do you not know we are the leaders of tomorrow, something that we fail to forget. Something else we fail to forget is that if we leave the church in that state what of the next generation that is diluted by their mechanism, or your family, or your friends? Did you get this feeling sometimes that you used to bring people to church only to say 'you brought them like sheep to wolves'. Imagine how many more do the same. It is time. Time to see the structure changed from the inside-out.

I heard someone said they were 'crazy' for believing what they do. I think your crazy to have a great view of God and no one knows. I think it is crazy not to share that grace with many that need it. I think it is crazy to think God never picked you out. I heard 5 words from God once that changed my life, 'your words shall effect many'.


BruceD said...

I'm sorry I upset you so much. I'll try to be more careful. I'm also sorry you don't believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world. But, I certainly respect your perception of God. I just don't care to adopt it for myself. Please don't let that ruin our friendship. I promise to not confront you with the "good news" as I understand it. It doesn't bother me that we don't see eye to eye. I'm sure we have more in common than we differ on... being Christ.


SocietyVs said...

Oh Bruce, it's not that big of a deal, it's just dialogue for dialogue sake as far as I am concerned. I actually enjoy hearing and learning from other's opinions, helps me to redefine my perceptions and allows for the flow of conscience thought...If you think you are doing me a dis-favour you'd be sadly mistaken. I enjoy hearing every point of view I can, I am but an island.

BruceD said...

THanks for your kindness. I was afraid that I might have pushed you away, and I would regret that.

I look forward to getting to know you!

dorsey said...

I think it's interesting to note that Jesus challenged the religious system of the day, but that system would not bend for Him, and even killed Him, as you noted. His followers had little choice but to operate outside that system with a system of their own.

I feel that way about the church, sometimes. We've been inside and have challenged and questioned and sought to promote good sense and biblical priorities, but were patted on the head and ignored (or worse). I'm working for a solution that satisfies the requirement for fellowship, but without the baggage that the church straps to your back.

chris said...

Wow, I needed to read this post! God must have directed my path here. Thanks for posting. I'm gonna do my best to take up the cross.