I thought you’d enjoy this little email exchange because I meet a lot of people that are wrestling with the same unfolding realities that this sister is. I also love how she responded to my comments! The heart can so easily grasp what the mind finds hard to believe.
I have no idea where to start this email except to say, “Wow!” I found your website through a yahoo group and almost wanted to cry. The whole “don’t go to church, BE the church” has been what has been going on in my head for so long now – but I have felt helpless. For the last year we have been visiting church after church after church—stuck here in the “Bible belt” and wondering where Jesus is. What we have encountered over and over and over again is the church pushing political or social agendas as well as programs—even in the tiniest of churches.
I also had a conversation on Friday with a good friend. I was telling her how Christianity has become an industry. For evidence of this fact, you can walk into any “Christian” bookstore – and plop down $15 and leave with a book on any of a million topics that will basically boil down to a well laid-out plan to manipulate God into performing the way you want Him to.
I am coming undone. Everything seems to be splintering apart. I feel better that I have a little clarity – and can see it as a farce – but what now? What happens on Sunday? What do we do now?
Here’s how I answered her:
Nothing! Wake up tomorrow and ask Father to lead you. Stop doing those things you think you ‘should’ do and simply do what he asks of you by putting things in your heart. You may not hear anything for a while. Don’t panic. He’s working out some things inside you. But at some point you’ll begin to hear how he feels about you and there will be things he’ll put on your heart, some of which will be incredibly simple, like doing some menial thing that will touch another. And it will just grow on. Eventually you’ll meet some folks who love the same Father you love and want to live with him relationally and share life with you, and community will grow out of your love for him. It is the fruit of our life in him, not the source of it. He is the only source of life.
So, enjoy the adventure. There will be lots he’ll sort out in you and through you. You’ll live in him without guilt or fear, simply responding to him instead of all the expectations of others. It may be painful for awhile, because you’ve worked to earn their approval in the past, and they will not approve of your new-found freedom. Embrace it anyway. Live on in him. This is a lovely journey…
Thanks so much. You’re right. Trust God to show up—without a formula, a format, a building, or a program. What a life changing philosophy, and so amazingly simple! It is almost hard to grasp.