Absolute Truth

There are some people who believe that truth is relative. That there is no absolute truth. I’ve thought about this a fair bit. Can’t quite wrap my head around it. For me, not believing in absolute truth is an impossibility. I believe without a doubt that there is such a thing as truth, and yes, right & wrong.

Recently however I have discovered that though I believe in absolute truth, I am INCREDIBLY wary of anyone who claims to know it.

Now, I still believe in the Bible and I still consider myself a Christian. I’ve just been feeling kind of unorthodox lately. It’s always bothered me that there are so many different denominations, and that they all seem to believe they have some sort of corner on the truth. It just doesn’t sit well with me.

Honestly, it almost feels like I’m experiencing a second crisis of faith. If you grew up with Christianity (or any religion I guess), you may be familiar with the fact that no matter what you were told when you were growing up, you reach a point in your life where you have to look at everything critically and decide whether this is something you are truly going to believe or not.

I experienced that as a teenager, and now it seems that I am experiencing it again… In a whole new way.

My father seems to think it’s because I’ve felt rejected and my response to that is to reject those I feel rejected by. I disagree, though I did consider it as a possibility.

More though, I feel like someone pointed out to me “Hey, maybe you don’t belong here” and it has helped me to see that maybe I DON’T. I feel like I am now in the position where I get to evaluate things that I have always accepted as truth but been uncomfortable with and say “Hey, I don’t think I agree with this!”

Who knows, maybe I’ll come around and end up embracing it all again, but at the moment it doesn’t seem like it.

I’m disillusioned with church, disillusioned with 95% of what is called “Christianity”. I am sick of what seems to be an incredibly self-centered, judgemental, and ineffectual club.

It seems that most often when someone enters a church they are offered a culture and list of rules instead of a powerful God.

Don’t get me wrong, I know there are some churches that are different. It just bothers me that I’ve seem more death than life in many of the churches I’ve been to. More judgment and gossip than love and wisdom.

So, right now, I’m on a quest for life. For wisdom, For Love, For more GOD than culture. I believe that Christianity should hold the key to powerful, change-bringing life… And have decided to leave the “box” that I’ve always known it to exist in… Because in the box, it’s seeming pretty dead.

I have a couple quotes that never leave my desktop. One, “Just do the next right thing” the other –

“As long as you, like Abraham, humbly seek, listen and obey God, He’ll take the responsibility to teach you the crucial details, point you towards his Words, and direct you to healthy communities of truth seekers. And slowly, most things will come into focus”

Unfortunately, I no longer remember where I got them from (I think the first is Michael Hyatt the second from the “Frequently Unasked Questions” blog, but I’m not sure).

However, I’m clinging to the truth of the second one. And I’ve definitely noticed that once I stopped limiting where I thought God would show up, he’s showed up in all sorts of places and spoken through all kinds of people. I like having a limitless God who talks through donkeys (Numbers 22) and Angels alike ūüôā

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Making it Happen

So… it’s pretty easy to talk about how we need to listen to God’s voice – to talk about how as churches, we need to figure out how to be the “body” how to focus on what each of us as individuals & units where made to do/be… (See Light & Easy parts 1-4)

But how do we start to implement it?

How do we change a system where the pastor is expected to do everything – preach, provide the vision, visit the sick, provide counselling, head up all the administrative work…

Where churches, no matter the size, feel the need to have a women’s program, men’s program, seniors program, kid’s program, a thriving worship program…

How do we do this when our very system seems to suggest that the very things that God has called you to be, the gifts that He has given you, aren’t enough? When you constantly feel that you have to do more, to BE more?

I believe in the power of the church. I believe that we are the bride of Christ… I believe that the BEAUTY of the bride is not in all that she does, but in who she is, who she was created to be, and the glow that resonates from her love of her groom.

A neurotic, overworked obsessed with perfection bride? Not quite as pretty.

I just don’t know how to implement this in my life, in my work… is there any way we can work within our current system, our “heavy” system and make it “lighter”?

I’m not even talking about a major revamp – not right off the bat, I’m all for slow change – but what’s the first step?

Let me know if you have any ideas.

Light & Easy (Part Four)

So, we are busy people. Very busy people. But why? How come so many of us feel like we have so many things to do and as we look around all we see is more that needs to be done, or more that we need to become?

Now, I’m warning you right now, I don’t have this all figured out. I think the problem we are all experiencing is much more complicated that what one little blog post can diagnose…

However, lately, as I’ve pondered this, 1 Corinthians 12 has been on my mind.

I was reading my NIV Application Commentary on 1 Corinthians, and, even though they were things that I already knew, the phrases that particularly stood out to me were the ones that suggested that not only are we all part of the body of Christ – not only are we all given gifts – but it is our responsibility to use them for each other.

For example: “Romans 12:3-8 suggests that determining and faithfully using one’s spiritual gifts is the next most important task in a Christian’s life after the fundamental… transformation that accompanies conversion” (p250)

In both 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 Paul uses the image of us all being part of the body of Christ – that we all have a part to play, that we are all different – that there is no part that is more important, we need them all… here is part of the clincher though, we NEED all the parts. We need to be able to appreciate all the parts – all the body parts need to be free to be able to do their “thing”‘s.

The way that churches are right now though – well, you know that saying, that we only use a small percentage of our brain (the insinuation being that if we could tap the rest of it, we would be able to achieve so much more?)? It seems that we are only tapping a very small percentage of our “body” in the body of Christ. Yes, there is SOME movement, but it seems to be a very small percentage. We are paralyzed in about 75% of our bodies, and it is hurting us, hindering us in so many ways, the entire body is feeling it. We are in pain, that 25% that is moving is feeling a crazy heavy burden of trying to carry the rest of the bodies weight, trying to do a whole bodies work. My friend Evan expressed frustration to that end in his own blog recently… but it’s not just those 25% that suffer because of the way things are.

Here’s the thing. I think we need to be able to discover our purposes – on personal and corporate levels. I think that the reality of us being family – being a body of different parts, with different personalities, different gifts… it needs to sink into our¬†consciousnesses.

We all need to be able to listen to God and ask Him what it is that He wants us to do.

We could ask Him what He wants us to be, but that doesn’t really work – sometimes it does, but the WHOLE point is that He is bringing each one of us on a journey with Him – sometimes He reveals to us where He is taking us, but more often than not, he simply directs us one step at a time.

We need to learn how to walk with Him and work with Him… and learn the unforced¬†rhythms¬†of grace.

We just don’t seem to be able to fully grasp the whole we-are-a-body-with-different-parts thing.

Sometimes, we seem to consider each different “church” to be it’s own¬†separate¬†body. ¬†We think that every church needs to have a head, arms, legs, feet, etc etc. Of course, for us, that translates to worship programs, a good speaker,¬†children’s¬†programs, etc etc.

We think that if we do not have all of those things, we are incomplete.

Does it need to be that way though?

I am concerned that because of what we THINK each of our churches need, what we think a church is supposed to look like, we harm ourselves. We have people who are dedicated to live for God doing so much because it “needs” to get done. They are getting overworked and overwhelmed – and start running out of space in their lives to give to God for His spontaneous direction – because of the idea we have of what needs to be done.

What am I trying to say? Do you need to get used to the idea that maybe your church is not supposed to have a “leg” because God has not called the people in your church to be legs? Do we need to get used to the idea that maybe the “arms” don’t work every Sunday because they need a rest?

That paragraph makes no sense – here is some examples to explain what I am trying to say. Are you having trouble in your church putting together a typical “Kids program?” maybe that is because God hasn’t ordained your church to BE that church, maybe He has called the church up the road to be the ones that are good with kids. They are a part of the body too.

Are you having trouble getting enough people to do the worship music every Sunday? Could it be that maybe, just maybe, you aren’t supposed to be having music every Sunday? Maybe just every other? If you didn’t have music every Sunday – would there be more “space” in your volunteers lives to follow the¬†spontaneous¬†leadings of God – and would there be more space in your services for others to follow God and move in their non-musical giftings?

Yeah, I know that sounds kindof crazy…. it’s just… my concern is that we are trying to fit our churches into the molds of what we think a “good churches” are, and all of us are trying to fit ourselves into the molds of what we think “good Christians” are instead of the much more organic – and, basic route – asking God what He wants us to do, and who He¬†wants¬†us to be.

In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.(Romans 12.4-6)

I think we can apply these words to ourselves individually, AND as churches. Why are we trying to be something we weren’t necessarily made to be? YES, others have been created to be those things, but we are not them. We need to be who WE were created to be. ¬†As individuals and as churches.