Following Where Others Have Gone Before, Part III

17 06 2009

I must apologize for taking so long to get to the final entry of this trilogy about my journey out of the institutional church.  But the journey has just started, and I’m not sure where Jesus is leading me.

Aside from Heaven.

Where was I?

When I left you in suspense, I was about to quit the IC….

Here is a danger I must warn you about leaving a group.  They will leave you also.  You may think that by saying, “Let’s keep in touch” you will.  But I have learned that only those who are in Christ will stay connected at all.  But that is for another story.

Back in November of 2008, I just could not take the go to church every week thing and so I had a discussion with my wife.  Our family was the only one with young children, we were running the “hip” music and children’s ministries, and had finally understood that, although there was a group of people who cared about us, we did not really know them.  We would see people from the group once or twice a week, but as for KNOWING them like family, that was not there.  Oh how I wish that I had ESP.  Many times we would invite some to the house to eat, but then they just wanted to do it at the church building because there was more ROOM!  Typical, no one wants to get to close or you might just get to know someone.

There is something very natural about wanting to be close to someone.  But we have been taught, by society and some of the IC’s that you are to “go it alone” in life.  Rely only on Jesus and you will be alright.  But the head can not survive with out the body, and if Jesus really is the head, there is some kind of wired life support going on.  From my perspective, the body has no mind, no brain, and is needing a transplant!   There is a need to have the body connected to the head otherwise we keep searching for “the right people” to be with.

“Perhaps there is no such thing as good friends, or bad friends.  Perhaps there are just friends”, to quote Stephen King from his novel “IT”.

But even so, you need to know them as well as you know your blood family.  And here lies one of the great lies of the IC, or any group, just because you are gathered together doesn’t mean you are family. Jesus said that those who do the will of His Father are his brothers, sisters and mothers.  (Notice that we have only ONE Father, sorry dads we are out of a job!  There will be a blog post about that too.)

I had found a book called “The Irresistible Revolution” by Shane Clairborne, who started a community called The Simple Way.  I cried as I read about how he left the IC’s ways and started to follow Jesus into the wilderness of the inner city.  I discovered that there was a different way to live, and Jesus shows us how to do it.  Not by his death on the cross, but by his obedience to go out to the people and teaching, healing, and living WITH those who are not accepted by the religious folks.  The street people and those who were hurting became Shane’s family. Shane grew up in the Methodist tradition too, so I know that he was on the path before me.  I have had many visions of a house where there is two families living together for the better of each.  There is child care for both, as the duty is shared between them.  When one grown up is having financial difficulties, the others do what needs to be done to help that person.  There is forgiveness on a daily basis.  There is enough for all to eat.  There is peace.  There is fun.  There is happiness and sadness. We share in Jesus’ work.

And it will happen, but only if I am willing to let Jesus’ Spirit work through me.

I have wanted this for quite a while now.  And now I am willing.

I have come to realize that is what I’ve have been called to now.  But how to go and get there…..I’m still learning from my master, Jesus.  Very few people, IMO, understand the real message of Jesus and what it takes to follow in his footsteps.  To learn what it means to be IN Christ as a new creation. Being a new creation, it’s now time for our Father to use me for His Glory, and I hope that the vision of a communal life, living together and sharing everything becomes true.  He’s giving me training by having a family, a wonderful, fearfully made wife and three daughters. For it’s on the job training and can’t really be learned from an instruction book.  It takes making mistakes, learning how to NOT make the same mistake, and trusting that our Father knows best.

This is another reason I’m obsessed with teaching men HOW to be a man like Jesus is.  I’m still learning HOW He acts, WHY He acts the way He does.  This is very freeing.

I have come to understand that not all people are ready to be set free of rules and IC thinking. Some people, like those who spend most of their lives in a real prison, are not prepared to be out in the world.  To those that would venture outside of the IC, WARNING!  Unless our Father has prepared you, you will not survive and may even die a needless spiritual death.   I nearly did.  Thanks be to the Father that He watched over me and had me connected to His Church.

I did have to “go it alone” for a while so I was emptied entirely and now His Spirit lives in me.  That does happen.  At times you will feel alone, thinking that it must be better back in those walls of passivity and safety.  My best advice is not to run away from these feelings, but to trust our Father to pull you through.

You are not going alone, and many others have been there before you.  Jesus did!

So here I am, a student of Jesus who has been told to go out and do as He did.  I am the only tool that I need.  But HOW do I do this?  Why can’t I just sit back and let other do the work?

Because that is not how our Father does things.

So now I continue on… a journey that is rooted in Heaven for a full life of daily change as I live out the rest of my days.   At the end of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, there is a title card that simply states “The Human Adventure Is Just Beginning”.

I leave you with this:




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