I got this email the other day. I love the journey this dear sister is on, even if it is a bit disorienting at the moment. Listen to her heartbeat. There are so many like her and I’m blessed that God is waking us up to find greater life and freedom in him, wherever he places us:
My parents gave me your book He Loves Me and I have been listening to your podcasts. My parents are currently finding a lot of freedom from guilt-based living after many years of service in a traditional church. Its exciting to see their passion for Christ reawakened after the burden of religion has been lifted.
For me, I am in a very wounded place, but I appreciate your message as it seems at its core it is simply the Gospel message. I have spent the last ten years in the organic church movement, thinking I had found somewhere where we were all passionate about the true message of Christ and were free from the religious abuse of programmatic church. Now I find that its simply religion without a building, another system, only it just doesn’t look like one.
I appreciate that you are advocating for Christ, for love, for simple Gospel message. I really thought that it is what we were about. I feel more wounded coming out of that setting than I ever felt in a traditional church setting. In fact, now I find myself back in the traditional church where I grew up, feeling guilty for participating in “religious church,” but realizing that i have a lot of friends there, a lot of relationships. I feel like I am always looking back and forth, wondering who is God, have I really lost the faith by returning to a traditional church, will I inevitably become a Pharisee by hanging out there, was I really one before? I don’t know.
I listen to your podcasts and you talk about living by God’s love and grace and I that is how it began with our little group, then it was about the movement, about the sacrifice, about the five fold leadership, and somewhere in there I lost that simple Christ message. But I see it everywhere; its in individual people, people in a Baptist churches, in Episcopal churches, in Orthodox churches, sometimes I even seem to see a glimmer of it in people who claim to be atheist. And religious striving… I find it everywhere too. I wasn’t half the Pharisee I was in a traditional church as I became trying to escape it. Oh, to return to that simple faith of a child… washed white as snow.
I loved this statement: I wasn’t half the Pharisee I was in a traditional church as I became trying to escape it.” I’ve seen people struggle with that same reality. Whenever we give ourselves to movements and look down on others who don’t share what we do, we are in danger of even being more captive to our hope for revival, than we were even to our religious obligation systems.
And I pray she finds real peace in him and lets go of the guilt and second-guessing. Then she can find the real joy and contentment wherever God chooses to place her to engage his people and his life with freedom.