The Contradiction of Freedom

Over $3500.00 has been sent in so far to help with relief in Kenya, from four or five different countries on three continents. Honestly, I’m overwhelmed at the generosity that has poured out of so many of you. We’re seeing God open some incredible doors to help brothers and sisters and they are so grateful that brothers and sisters from the outside have given such help.

Now I’ll let Dan do the rest of my work today. I got this email from him last week and I love what it says about freedom and how it impacts relationships:

I was adding a phone number this morning to my cell phone. The first day of the new year seemed like a good time to also clean out some phone numbers of people I have no recognition of who they are. As I was thumbing through the names, a few of the people I had not seen or heard
from since we started on this free range journey, I was wondering what happened to the relationship?

And that is just it!

There was no relationship. We were part of a big mega-church that stressed it’s many programs and offerings. In the mega-church mindset, programs give opportunity for relationship to happen, but don’t assure that it can be found there. The relationships lives inside of programs. Once the program is over, the relationship is over. Once we no longer were involved in those programs there was no longer any reason to maintain the relationship. They never called, they never wrote, they never checked in just to see how we were doing. That would have required a relationship outside of a program and who would officiate that? When would it begin? When would it end? Who would be in charge? Who had the authority to be over the other for accountability?

It is amazing how freedom in Christ does not often allow for freedom in relationships and freedom from expectations in those relationship. We have made a few attempts to touch base with some of them, but their lack of response made it clear they didn’t have room for relationships outside of the program they are a part of.

That is sad. They are good people. It is strange how something like freedom can be such a threat.

I think a lot of us have had the same struggle with relationships we had in the institutional format. They work as long as we’re on the task together, but once that ends, there isn’t a friendship that goes beyond it. Of course both parties bear responsibilities in that, especially if we’re waiting for the others to make the first move. I like that Dan has tried. I think we always try. I have wonderful friendships from almost every stage of my life on this journey. But to be honest, I’ve been the one that has instigated most of the contact. I don’t blame them for that. Most people are so busy just surviving the responsibilities of every day living, especially if they add to that heavy involvement in the life of a congregation, that they just don’t have the time or energy for relationships beyond it…

I hope we’re all learning to live a community that transcends whatever task we’re on or not on together. The connection of this family is not the meetings we attend, but the relationships we forge as God connects us to others. We all don’t need to pursue only people who are like-minded, but with all kinds of folks, believers and unbelievers as God leads us.

The simple question I ask regularly is, “Father who do you want me walking alongside at this season of my life.” And then I follow through on that. I realize most people find it difficult to initiate contact, but I consider that part of my life following him!

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4 Comments
  1. todd January 9, 2008 at 8:13 am

    I just want to say how much I enjoyed this sharing…..both from you Wayne…and Dan….
    tis a shame that sometimes the “programs” or “functions” are the only thing that hold God’s children together in fellowship……

    “I hope we’re all learning to live a community that transcends whatever task we’re on or not on together. The connection of this family is not the meetings we attend, but the relationships we forge as God connects us to others. We all don’t need to pursue only people who are like-minded, but with all kinds of folks, believers and unbelievers as God leads us.”

    this quote above is becoming “my hope” more and more as well….

    cheers,

    Todd

  2. Greg January 9, 2008 at 9:01 am

    Why is this so hard? I was talking with some friends who are getting back into “paid ministry” soon, and they were listing all the merits of live lived with believers that way, and to them, these events and programs are good because otherwise people wouldn’t be together. Why does it have to be that way???

    I do wish it wasn’t. Wayne, I am much like you in that I am definitely an initiator in probably 95% of our relationships. I don’t mind – I almost can’t help it. (I think that is one of my spiritual gifts, my “part” of the body in a way…) But I do often wish more of our friends just wanted to “do life” together, rather than do “church” (and I don’t mean the original definition of that word…)

    I do understand there are seasons to life, and friends and relationships may come and go, but it does seem that we believers, maybe we Americans are not very good at relating. (At least not without structures to “prop up” those relationships.) So sad. 🙁

  3. todd January 9, 2008 at 11:13 am

    I just want to say how much I enjoyed this sharing…..both from you Wayne…and Dan….
    tis a shame that sometimes the “programs” or “functions” are the only thing that hold God’s children together in fellowship……

    “I hope we’re all learning to live a community that transcends whatever task we’re on or not on together. The connection of this family is not the meetings we attend, but the relationships we forge as God connects us to others. We all don’t need to pursue only people who are like-minded, but with all kinds of folks, believers and unbelievers as God leads us.”

    this quote above is becoming “my hope” more and more as well….

    cheers,

    Todd

  4. Greg January 9, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Why is this so hard? I was talking with some friends who are getting back into “paid ministry” soon, and they were listing all the merits of live lived with believers that way, and to them, these events and programs are good because otherwise people wouldn’t be together. Why does it have to be that way???

    I do wish it wasn’t. Wayne, I am much like you in that I am definitely an initiator in probably 95% of our relationships. I don’t mind – I almost can’t help it. (I think that is one of my spiritual gifts, my “part” of the body in a way…) But I do often wish more of our friends just wanted to “do life” together, rather than do “church” (and I don’t mean the original definition of that word…)

    I do understand there are seasons to life, and friends and relationships may come and go, but it does seem that we believers, maybe we Americans are not very good at relating. (At least not without structures to “prop up” those relationships.) So sad. 🙁

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