Following Where Others Have Gone Before, Part 1

27 12 2008

Over the past decade, many people have left institutional churches behind and have decided that creeds, buildings,  and doctrines are limiting factors that keep people from living like Jesus did as he walked the earth.

I have met deist ,a person who believes in God, but not in Jesus as Lord,  and feel that they act more like the Jesus that I’ve come to know from going outside of the faith tradition of what is now know as “Chruchianity Christianity”. 

Now the current IC really can be a place to get away, learn about the Bible and rest and be renewed, but what do you do then?  Most IC’s tend to have people show up, give money,  and don’t change anything unless the counsel and congregation say it can happen.  Don’t rock the boat.

I am grateful for my years with an IC, for if it weren’t for that tradition, I may have not turned back to Jesus as my leader, brother, and savior.   But for all the years I spent playing praise music, leading discussions, giving talks, I felt that there was something missing.

 I wondered , as Vger in the movie Star Trek: The Motion Picture communicated to Spock:  “Is this all I am, Is there nothing more?”

As a Christian, was it all just to give my life to God, give my 10% every week, even though my budget never let that much happen, and just shut my mouth to anything that I disagreed with when it came to doctrine.

I felt that there was more and that what I was doing really made God upset.  He wanted something different from me than what I had learned about the church.

I was done with learning from the church program and God really did guide me down a different path. So I started a self education program, namely what ever I could get my hands on that the church would not even consider reading material.

I love libraries, read alot of books and had read all the Max Lucado, and all those “lovey dovey” Christian books that make you feel good about yourself and your relationship with Jesus.  But I found that kind of Christianity to be like a bowl of sugary cereal.  Sweet, but not very filling or healthy for me. 

One day, a book jumped off the shelf that started the change of my view of what the word “Church” really means.

The book is called “Why Men Hate Going To Church” by David Morrow, and later on,his DVD companion video.  David points out that the church, as it is, wants men to leave their balls outside the door and be passive.  Worship Jesus as a boyfriend , and everything will be alright when He comes back.

WMHGTC is a good read that deals with one thing that is unbalanced in the Kingdom, which is that men are usually aliens within the congregation.  They have no idea who to follow.  Even the pastors that I have friendships with still attempt to do the “church growth” thing that has been over for many years now.  But David Morrow makes some great points and I recommend WMHGTC for those that are still in an IC and want to increase their flock of sheep. 

What this book really did for me was question WHAT the church really is, and extent ion of God, or just another non-profit corporation that is about the show and not the tell. 

But first God wanted me to know something else, and finally gave me someone who is walking the earth to learn from, to be a teacher in the flesh that would look more like Jesus.

While exploring the web site Church For Men.com, that was started by David Morrow, I found a list of books to read and found the man, teacher that I was needing.

His name is Paul Coughlin.  And he wrote a fantastic book called “No More Christian Nice Guy: When Being Nice Harms Men, Women and Children”

This book pointed me to a more rough image of Jesus, one that was not passive or had let the religious set castrate him of his masculinity.   The image most churches has of Jesus make him look like a bearded lady, not someone who would be able to spend days on end out in the desert. 

The Jesus that I was introduced to in the pages of NMCNG showed me that , as a “nice” guy, I let too many people walk all over me, and that it was not what God wanted me to be.  Yes, turn the other cheek, but don’t let people take your soul from you. 

The Jesus that I started following from Paul Coughlin started with reading Mark.  The more I read Mark, the more I started to understand why Jesus was put to death.  He had a very radical message that God was right here, right now and we are in his Kingdom, just because HE is here! 

That was not the Jesus I grew up with.  At first I was unsure if this was true, until I really started to understand Jesus’ Gospel, and not the four accounts. So much of the church teaching is that Jesus saves, but the church tends to ignor Jesus’ message that is accounted in four different views.  Most teach only John and all the “I am” things.  But what about what He said to do?  Not to many churches take that to heart, unless it can be done secretly, where as Jesus says “We are going public with this.”  The church tends to be in strict conflict with the words of Jesus.

 It took time for me to accept the truth of this, and yes, it is truth, that Jesus was really a man,  was full of God and Spirit, and that to be fully human again, I needed to become like him. 

And the only way to become like him was to ignore what I though I knew about him, start exploring a different path than the one that I was on and  do what Jesus told his original disciples, “Follow ME!”

What has encouraged me on this path is that there are others up the path before me, waiting on the side for me to catch up to them and learn further from them. 

Some people have problems with the image of others ahead of us on a path, but it is the only way I know how to express what I am experiencing. 

I am going where others have gone before, away from the IC and into the mystery that is life, liberty and love.   

Stay tuned for Part 2:  Truth Revealed about Constantine Church, Pagan Christianity, UnChristian, Emerging Church,

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