Getting Beyond the First Hurdle!

This is another one of those email exchanges, that I felt would also be of interest to many others… Someone has either swallowed or is about to swallow the red pill! They wanted to know if I could help!

OK, I am in trouble. I discovered you and read two of you books and started the 3rd just this week. Oh, how your writings resonate with something deep inside of me. I know what your saying is true—I just know it intuitively. My wife and I are weary of the institutional system of doing church. We so want to separate ourselves. We are tired of the professional class and lay separation, the need for enormous amounts of money to keep the machine operating with the appeal to tithe, trying to reconcile law and grace…

Our story is long and tangled, but the short of it is that I am running into resistance from leadership which I sense will be escalating, using the tactics that you are so very familiar with. I have already been ask, “how do you interpret the scriptures that tell us that we should submit to leadership and our “covering?”

Please help us get beyond this initial hurdle—it is a big one. Thank you, my new found friend and brother.

Thanks for writing. I certainly hear your heart and am grateful for the journey you’re on, even if it may get painful in days ahead. It sounds like you’re moving from the disillusionment of religion, into the reality of real relationship with him. I’d like to tell you that’s all glorious, and it will be in the end, but the process can be a bit disorienting and painful. That’s why many talk of it as ‘de-toxing’, because there is a bit of withdrawal involved from our dependence on religion. And, there’s the reaction of others that won’t understand what he’s doing in you and will make harsh judgments about you.

First, let me encourage you to take a deep breath and slow down. If this is all fairly new to you, you are probably far more ready to react than you are to simply respond to him. You don’t have to be in a hurry here. Let your desires draw you closer to him so that he becomes more real to you than those you fear. So many who first see these things react by attacking the ‘system’ or the ‘institution’, before they even understand how Father wants to work in them. They want everyone else to understand their new insights, and end up like the proverbial bull in the china shop, upsetting things God doesn’t want upset. If he asks you to leave, leave. Don’t try to drag others along. Don’t make a final stand affirming that you have the truth and they are all in error. Just, go quietly and let him lead you on. If he has others he wants you to talk to, he’ll arrange that.

How do you do this? One step at a time. Each day wake up and ask Father what he has for you, and follow him as best you see him. Walk in the integrity of your conscience, with humility and graciousness to everyone you meet. Always doing what is in your heart to do and take on whatever consequences result, whether it be the angry accusations of others, or the guilt for not doing what others expect of you. It is often those very consequences that show us next steps and open doors to what God has for us in days to come. But, yes, they are painful too!

Yes, people will try to get you back in line by claiming that Scripture teaches us to submit to our covering. Simply ask them where? The only covering in Scripture, that I know about other than the head-covering for women is the fig leaves in Genesis. I’m not sure covering there as a positive thing. They were trying to hide from God and each other, remember. Who needs a covering from God when we have all been washed in his forgiveness. We can boldly come before him now without any need for covering. But, there is no way to scripturally convince people there isn’t a call for covering who are convinced there is. Leadership is never viewed as a covering in the New Testament, and leadership ‘over’ was forbidden by Jesus to his followers in Mark 10:42-45. The only passage people point to is Hebrews 13 about submitting to our leaders, and which King Jimmy translated as to ‘those who are over you in the Lord.’ But that is not the correct translation or interpretation of this passage. The translators added it to embellish ‘church’ authority. This passage is simply about yielding to those who stand before you in the Lord and keep watch for you. That’s brothers and sisters who have your bests interests at heart, not obeying the systems managers of religious institutions.

The overwhelming weight of NT Scriptures talks about each one of us having an anointing to know truth and error, of not needing anyone to teach us, for all will know him. The glory of the new covenant is that we all get to know him and that Jesus makes himself known to each individual surrendered to him, not through any kind of leadership hierarchy. I know some worry that will lead to anarchy, but folks who are growing in relationship to Jesus and his Father will know how to treat others with love and know how to work with each other when he calls them together. But don’t expect those who have a vested interest in the power or money of authority positions to affirm that, and free people to live in it. It just doesn’t happen until God opens their eyes.

I’d just encourage you to walk graciously in the light God has given. Love people but never compromise your conscience to go along. Folks will not understand that and say horrible things about you to marginalize your life from ‘infecting others’, which is exactly how Jesus said they would treat us in Matthew 5 at the end of his blessed-are-you statements. So just keep following him. As graciously as you can explain to those who ask what you see God teaching you, but never try to convince them. By trying to, you’ll only make them defensive and push them deeper into the cave in which the are already hiding… And that just won’t be helpful.

In it all you will learn to depend on him in the rich joy of a love relationship, and that will carry you on to incredible expressions of life in him and body life with other believers, that you cannot even conceive at this point in the journey.

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12 Comments
  1. Richard December 3, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    I’d like to tell you that’s all glorious, and it will be in the end, but the process can be a bit disorienting and painful. That’s why many talk of it as ‘de-toxing’, because there is a bit of withdrawal involved from our dependence on religion.

    Is’t it wonderful seeing that only Love can truly define and fulfill what and why we were created for!

    A bit of ‘withdrawal’, wow, I had a good laugh at that one 🙂
    As if coming to know Him and being extricated from the Matrix is but merely running over a slight speed bump. As if this revelation of who He is in us as us, isn’t going to cost us everything, especially when it begins to address our reputation. Reputations we’ve derived apart from being defined in and of His love for us. Again I say, ‘A bit of withdrawal’, wow!

  2. Richard December 3, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    I’d like to tell you that’s all glorious, and it will be in the end, but the process can be a bit disorienting and painful. That’s why many talk of it as ‘de-toxing’, because there is a bit of withdrawal involved from our dependence on religion.

    Is’t it wonderful seeing that only Love can truly define and fulfill what and why we were created for!

    A bit of ‘withdrawal’, wow, I had a good laugh at that one 🙂
    As if coming to know Him and being extricated from the Matrix is but merely running over a slight speed bump. As if this revelation of who He is in us as us, isn’t going to cost us everything, especially when it begins to address our reputation. Reputations we’ve derived apart from being defined in and of His love for us. Again I say, ‘A bit of withdrawal’, wow!

  3. Bill Lollar December 4, 2007 at 6:26 am

    These last two posts have spoken deeply to my own situation, Wayne. Thanks for taking the time to share your response—and what a grace-filled word to this dear brother or sister—with the rest of us who find ourselves in the same struggle, just a various stages. I’m thinking, “How long do I have to be patient?” You have really messed with our heads, but in a wonderful way! The Jake book is like a one-man rescue team, going into the danger zone and plucking people out one at a time. My only regret is the years I feel have been wasted in the system.

  4. todd December 4, 2007 at 9:25 am

    Gracious Advice Wayne…..certainly enjoy your input…..and the encouragement to “take a deep breath and slow down” is golden in light of our tendency to be reactionary….you sound like you’ve been through this before 🙂

    todd

  5. Bill Lollar December 4, 2007 at 9:26 am

    These last two posts have spoken deeply to my own situation, Wayne. Thanks for taking the time to share your response—and what a grace-filled word to this dear brother or sister—with the rest of us who find ourselves in the same struggle, just a various stages. I’m thinking, “How long do I have to be patient?” You have really messed with our heads, but in a wonderful way! The Jake book is like a one-man rescue team, going into the danger zone and plucking people out one at a time. My only regret is the years I feel have been wasted in the system.

  6. todd December 4, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    Gracious Advice Wayne…..certainly enjoy your input…..and the encouragement to “take a deep breath and slow down” is golden in light of our tendency to be reactionary….you sound like you’ve been through this before 🙂

    todd

  7. Rich December 4, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    This exchange was EXACTLY what I needed to hear/read. After spending 28 years in the ‘congregation’ of my youth I’ve seen many ‘new programs/systems/church growth clinics, etc…’ I have been a part of some, but always have had reservations about them, you know, that uneasiness in the stomach and spirit. These past 2 years have been tormenting and ripping my heart as these ‘epiphanies’ from Dad have caused me to be very suspicious and distant from the ‘leaders’ I once felt obligated to trust (often to my own hurt). I have tried to remain in the system as I see many others at my local institution trying to change it from inside out, but I am concluding they are like the drug addict trying to kick the habit gradually on their own, always keeping the option open to go back to the drug.

    Thanks for the assurance that it is OK to slow down, not hyperventilate, not react and that I don’t need to justify myself by changing other people’s minds. Lifestream.org and several others have been a real friend during this process/journey.
    Rich

  8. Rich December 4, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    This exchange was EXACTLY what I needed to hear/read. After spending 28 years in the ‘congregation’ of my youth I’ve seen many ‘new programs/systems/church growth clinics, etc…’ I have been a part of some, but always have had reservations about them, you know, that uneasiness in the stomach and spirit. These past 2 years have been tormenting and ripping my heart as these ‘epiphanies’ from Dad have caused me to be very suspicious and distant from the ‘leaders’ I once felt obligated to trust (often to my own hurt). I have tried to remain in the system as I see many others at my local institution trying to change it from inside out, but I am concluding they are like the drug addict trying to kick the habit gradually on their own, always keeping the option open to go back to the drug.

    Thanks for the assurance that it is OK to slow down, not hyperventilate, not react and that I don’t need to justify myself by changing other people’s minds. Lifestream.org and several others have been a real friend during this process/journey.
    Rich

  9. Melissa December 14, 2007 at 8:13 am

    Slowing down is great advice. That is what I have done this past month and a half since I left the institutional church. I am not at a place where I feel like I need to get into another one! I’m crazy, right? I am fighting that “feeling.” It is hard, given that I want true fellowship and love amongst the brethren and I have pressure from what I had been taught about having to go to church, and what others are saying about me not going to church. It’s all a muddle.

    This post is really what I needed to read and I pray that the Lord will help me to stand and just commune with Him.

    The question and answer brought me to tears when I read them. It is so sad that there are so many who cannot find safety, separateness, community, and fellowship in the church because it has become corrupted and diseased.

    Thanks so much.

    Melissa

  10. Melissa December 14, 2007 at 11:13 am

    Slowing down is great advice. That is what I have done this past month and a half since I left the institutional church. I am not at a place where I feel like I need to get into another one! I’m crazy, right? I am fighting that “feeling.” It is hard, given that I want true fellowship and love amongst the brethren and I have pressure from what I had been taught about having to go to church, and what others are saying about me not going to church. It’s all a muddle.

    This post is really what I needed to read and I pray that the Lord will help me to stand and just commune with Him.

    The question and answer brought me to tears when I read them. It is so sad that there are so many who cannot find safety, separateness, community, and fellowship in the church because it has become corrupted and diseased.

    Thanks so much.

    Melissa

  11. David December 19, 2007 at 6:53 am

    I am who wrote the email to Wayne several weeks ago. My wife and I asked Wayne for help over the initial hurdle. Just so you know, we are doing fine following being three weeks removed from the institutional church. We are finding deeper dependency on Him alone, finding the need to personally seek intimacy with Him hour by hour, day by day. We are becoming more aware of Father and His incredible love for us as we disingage from the institution, its programs and its hold on us.

    We don’t feel the pressure of needing to explain God’s work in our lives to the point of others validating us and agreeing with us. We are learning to just love people without an agenda, without the need to have their stamp of approval on How God is leading us.

    And suprisingly, we are finding fellowship with some of our “old” friends from the “church” whose love for us goes deeper than our affiliation to the organization. I think, for us, the key has been the freedom to NOT have to convince others that what we are doing is what they should do or “we are right, so you must be wrong” stuff. We tell others that we cannot explain perfectly what God is doing in our lives, because we do NOT have a perfectly defined picture of it; however, we do know that the first step is to step away from the institutional church while not rejecting God’s people in the process.

    Thanks for all your comments to this blog, reading it has been helpful.

  12. David December 19, 2007 at 9:53 am

    I am who wrote the email to Wayne several weeks ago. My wife and I asked Wayne for help over the initial hurdle. Just so you know, we are doing fine following being three weeks removed from the institutional church. We are finding deeper dependency on Him alone, finding the need to personally seek intimacy with Him hour by hour, day by day. We are becoming more aware of Father and His incredible love for us as we disingage from the institution, its programs and its hold on us.

    We don’t feel the pressure of needing to explain God’s work in our lives to the point of others validating us and agreeing with us. We are learning to just love people without an agenda, without the need to have their stamp of approval on How God is leading us.

    And suprisingly, we are finding fellowship with some of our “old” friends from the “church” whose love for us goes deeper than our affiliation to the organization. I think, for us, the key has been the freedom to NOT have to convince others that what we are doing is what they should do or “we are right, so you must be wrong” stuff. We tell others that we cannot explain perfectly what God is doing in our lives, because we do NOT have a perfectly defined picture of it; however, we do know that the first step is to step away from the institutional church while not rejecting God’s people in the process.

    Thanks for all your comments to this blog, reading it has been helpful.

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