I appreciate the way the Internet allows people to interact with things I write. Others add some great observations to this process. I’ve received some emails since the release of the new BodyLife and its lead article about Friends and Friends of Friends. It’s interesting that these both focused on fear and control as the reason we won’t trust Jesus to connect us the way he always desired to do.
This came from a long-time friend that has continued to look in a number of places to find some form of effective church life in a number of institutions:
I don’t know where to begin….was so impressed by what you had to say in the new newsletter. I have struggled with this issue for years and like you it was in front of us the whole time. Can’t tell you what a release I felt (and my wife as well). It is so hard to move away from the institution and the hold it can have on you. I recently watched a documentary on the Catholic Church in its attempts to deal with the sexuality of both male and female clergy, and the conclusion was simply that it was all done and justified on the basis of control, no matter what and that it will never change. It almost appears that the institution will do anything to keep people from fellowship with Jesus and with one another because of its fear of losing control even though lives will be destroyed. I can’t thank you enough for taking such a courageous stand.
And this came from a newer friend who has only recently left the institutional he served in for years. He was recently invited back to attend a ‘Defending the Faith’ class so he would know better how to “evangelize” young believers.
Why can’t we love people well enough that we just share our life with them in relationship instead of treating them as a project for coercion? You know why? It is because of fear. We are afraid we won’t know what to say. We are afraid that our not having an answer to their question will render them to eternal damnation. We are afraid we will say something wrong which make them walk away from Christ and they won’t ever pass that way again. We are afraid that a lot of their salvation is based on what I do.
But perfect love cast out all fear. If it really was about loving the people that Father puts in front of us each day, there is no fear of what to say, or what the results will be. I feel for those coercion projects that will soon be the victims of a new group of graduates from the “Defending the Faith” class. But then Father can make good of that too.
it’s amazing what Father uses. It really is! I’m grateful for how many times he’s used my immature ramblings to touch someone’s life and draw them closer to him. But like many of you, I’d much prefer Jesus flow out of my life because of how I’m responding to him, not in spite of it.