Saturday, January 30, 2010

Taking My Spiritual Temperature

I thought to check in since I've recently taken my spiritual temperature, which most of us do from time to time, especially at the beginning of each year, just to make sure we aren't straying from Jesus - 'examine yourself', the Bible encourages. But in taking my own temperature, I think it's only fair to wisely take stalk in what's going on around me - it's part of being prudent - because as we are all observing lately, the body of Christ isn't exemplifying what the Bible specifies in many areas. That has a bearing on what I decide about where I fit or don't fit etc. No one else is able to decide that for me. Not even a pastor.

(NOTE: As the writer of Detox Church Group I can only tell you where I'm at. My detox friends seem to be in a similar place, but it wouldn't be fair to speak for them since they each have the intelligence and writing gifts to speak for themselves.)

I still find I need to know Jesus is near, hear his voice, and am gladly open to the input of the Holy Spirit. I still find the Bible is a source of comfort, direction and strength, although there are some passages I have to put off for later when I'm ready. The Holy Spirit has a timing about reteaching what I learned from the old church and I've found if I wait till I'm ready, it's redone in such a thorough and profound way!

I find I'm still no closer to becoming involved in the Christian Culture than I was the last time I posted and still feel quite content to keep it at arms length. I know this must come across as anti-Christian which I'm not, but I am leary of many Christians. There are many reasons for that, which you have read about here on this blog.

I still like to listen to the Good Preacher speak at the Good Church, whether on local tv or in the foyer, but still feel no affinity to the Good Church itself as in taking ownership and doing stuff there. Because if I did stuff there it would only be out of obligatory christian expectation. That expectation doesn't seem to come from the pastor or his sweet wife, but the vibe is there in others. Still, I'm thrilled The Good Church exists and feel free to come and go. I'm still aware that no one misses me just like I don't miss them. The first few years I was there, I'd friend-request some of the worship team from the Good Church on MySpace, and later on Twitter, and I was virtually ignored every time. So, obviously the interest just isn't there. I thought "Ok, guess I'm not interested in you either!" Then I thought "How freeing is that?!" So, I guess I have learned, once again, what a closed door feels like, and it is closed (for me) at the Good Church. And I'm ok with that especially since the Lord has opened other musical doors for me outside the church. (Lest you think I'm merely too lazy to get involved at church, my time is taken with all it takes to do what I do. Otherwise, maybe God would have me do the work there. It's just not my path.)

As I check the spiritual temp of the Christian Culture from where I stand, locally and online, I still get the vibe that to be a spiritual person you must be 'plugged in' and involved at a church, must have a pastor you are under, and that speaking out or asking questions that beg to be asked still equates unforgiveness. I feel this even at The Good Church. Yet, I'm so impressed how this church reaches out to the lost, the addicted, and to the poor on a regular basis - it's amazing and commendable. But there is still a culture threshhold that one must cross to feel at home there. Like anywhere else, you must look and sound similar to what's going on there to 'fit in'. Maybe that is just group mentality no matter where you go, not just in churches. At least it's not controlling and legalistic like some places I know. So, since I have a choice, I'd just rather not have to fit in.

The hard part about taking the Bible at its word is you want to duplicate what it says, like about the kind of culture we should be, but that doesn't seem to exist here on earth. Even so, everybody seems to be looking for it. At least we know that in Heaven IT will be there and it will be what we were longing for on earth.

What is God doing with the body of Christ at large concerning this culture thing? This group mentality seems to be everywhere. Speaking, and acting on, the party line has never been so prevelant. But is God just leaving us to our own devices or is he in the process of intervening in a slow patient way? As it stands now, much of the church seems so separate from the rest of the world and is becoming more and more unrelateable?

If God wanted to sift the church from group think/group speak, how would he do it?

Does he desire to bring the culture down to a size we can fit in--like a bunch of little groups? Maybe we aren't supposed to even form little groups. Maybe just have friends who help each other without calling ourselves anything.

If you were God and trying to change a culture (without destroying the whole thing in one fatal sweep) that had morphed into something that no longer reflected your original goal, how would you dismantel it and how long would it take?

We've all observed how the Lord, in his mercy, seems to take a long time to do anything because he doesn't want to lose anyone in the process, so it wouldn't happen over night. Apart from the rapture which will happen overnight, so to speak, would you just call people out from the morphed failed project and start anew? I don't know, I'm just thinking, just wondering what HE thinks of all this. (I'm sure there are a bunch of prophetic types who think they know what he thinks, but I'm really only interested in what he thinks, not in what they think. That said, I am open to discussion - just not 'thus sayeth the Lord prophetic words' on the subject, if you get my drift! )

So, just checking in to say I'm still a Christian but still gun-shy of many who bear the name and have become very careful of my interactions and conversations with them. At the same time, I realize I have to be careful to remain open to each individual the Holy Spirit may bring my way and regard that person as valuable to the Lord and to myself. And to pray for patience and humility. . ."But for the grace of God go I." Because I was there on that merry-go-round at one time too.