Posts Tagged freedom

Outdated and Irrelevant

Some think we are living in terrible times. I tend to think we are living in incredibly exciting times.

There can be no argument that things are changing around us. There is a societal shift happening that rivals some of the greatest cultural revolutions in history, as big as the invention of the printing press or the industrial revolution.

In America, we are in the midst of a transition to a post-industrial society. We no longer live in an assembly line world where the powerful few are in charge, while the masses show up, shut up, and do as they are told. Today’s world is an outsourced, work from home, iPod, unlimited choice, internet-driven culture where the individual is more in charge of their own destiny than ever before.

It’s a scary and exciting time.

Christianity was never meant to be anything else. Think about it: Jesus showed up on the scene challenging the authority and criticizing the top-down leadership of His day. He condemned the powerful few who swayed the masses through control and domination.

Through His death, Jesus released us from the need for the spiritual middle-man. He gave us direct access to God Himself. In an instant Jesus created a spiritual climate very similar to what we see going on culturally right now.

Yet the entirety of church history has been one long story of men trying to re-establish that control in the name of God. Popes and pulpits, denominations and doctrines all designed to tell God’s people what to do and how to do it, what to think and how to think it.

Jesus fought against it. The reformers fought against it. Brave warriors like William Tyndale and others gave their lives for it. For twenty centuries the battle has raged for the control of God’s people.

And for most of history we have played along. We have allowed others to tell us what to believe and what to think. We’ve been content to show up and shut up because it’s more comfortable that way. It’s easier to get spoon fed than it is to do the work of seeking God for ourselves.

But no more!

The world has changed, and as the church has failed to change with it we have become increasingly outdated and irrelevant. We are operating an old model in a new age. Factories are closing all around us, yet we are still operating church like it’s an assembly line. People are working from home or from Starbucks, yet we still want them to show up at a building at 9:00 on Sunday morning. We think they’re not interested in church, but the fact is they’re just tired of us trying to jam square pegs in round holes.

It’s time to let go of the control. It’s time to stop thinking of church as a top down institution, but rather a bottom up community. That’s the model taught by Jesus. Groups of believers coming together organically, directing their time and resources to doing the work of the kingdom instead of feeding the organizational beast. Yeah, not as many pastors earn salaries in the new model of church. When we all become the church, there might not be a need for a full time guy running the show.

Now is the time to win the battle once and for all. Christ’s coming was meant to be a radical shift in human consciousness. It’s a shift away from the control of the intermediaries between God and man. The curtain was torn. We are all face to face with the Father Himself.

If you have felt that something is not right, it’s for good reason. Things are not right. They are not even close to what God intended. I’m not suggesting that we change church to follow culture. I’m simply proposing that we get back to what it was intended to be all along.

It’s a shame it took 2,000 years and a cultural revolution to get us here.

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Being disillusioned is a good thing

Usually we think of the word “disillusioned” in a negative context.  Someone who is disillusioned is a malcontent, a wild-eyed radical, a complainer.

I’d like to reframe that word, to put it in a different light.  Think about the word literally: it means to be freed from illusion.  Those who are disillusioned are those who have seen the truth.  And once the bright light of truth has shone in one’s heart, the illusion is no longer good enough.  The truth ruins you to the lie.

And is there a greater lie facing Christians today than the myth of “performance Christianity”?  The notion that Christians have a set of rules they live by, rules that make us good enough to be part of the club.  I’m not talking about our call to live a holy life.  I’m talking about the outward pressure of performance that leads us to exclude the screwed up, messy, broken people who can’t seem to get it together.

Here’s the truth:  It’s time for me to let down the façade and stop pretending that I’m something other than what I am: a failure.  It’s time, in fact, for all of us to admit that we don’t have it as “together” as we’ve led others to believe.  It’s this inability to open up and let others see who we really are that is at the root of much of the ineffectiveness and irrelevance going on in what is known as “Christianity” today.

Let go of the illusion…become disillusioned.  Refuse to let the false front of performance Christianity to rule your life with guilt any longer.  Lift the curtain and let others see what’s really there. Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” He gave His life to bring that freedom.

Do you have the courage to live in that glorious, disillusioned freedom?

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