June 1, 2006
I keep feeling we ought to "simplify" our lives, in many ways, to become more free to serve God. At home, and in the church, too. I've been reading a book about the crisis of the western Christian conscience, and it is so alarming. It makes me acutely aware of the shocking ways that we as Christians have "bought into" the western world's ideas of individualism and materialism - which leads to notions of sexual "freedom," tolerance for all religions (except Christianity, because it is inherently "intolerant" of other religions, of course...), etc. And being on the new email lists I joined, I am again reminded of how we readily accept the trappings - ad even curriculum (both official and hidden) and structure - of institutionalized schooling - and how it is totally reflected in our "Christian institutions" - churches, schools, colleges, even parachurch organizations. I have been thinking so much about how God really intends His church to function, not as a human hierarchical structure, but as God's kingdom with equality and respect and cooperation (agape love!) among its members - and a "servant" attitude among its leadership, who become role models, mentors, shepherds to be respected as they themselves grow in Christlikeness and reflect Christ.
I see a move among some Christians I know to great openness to follow the scriptural model, guidelines, principles... even to the point of feeling that our local church may not need a "senior pastor" in the traditional, hierarchical, Protestant sense. On the other hand, there are people who are ready to move on to another local church, if we don't hurry up and fill (plug!) the "senior pastor gap," preferably with someone who is a good preacher and "strong leader." Change is difficult for many people. I see that. They don't see it as "possibilities" or "adventure." They are not comfortable with "out of the box" thinking - even if it does come right out of scripture, I'm afraid. Even myself, while I love to "think" about such things, I'm not so good (in fact, in some cases, like reaching out to my neighbourhood in practical ways, I'm terrible) about stepping out and putting it into action. Yes, I'm not always sure I'm interpreting/ visioning/ thinking aright. And it is hard to step out and do things differently when people close to you do not share your ideas, longings, passions. But if it is God calling me, does not His authority come first? But what about submission to the human authorities He has set over me as a woman, wife, etc? Or are they really set over me by Him, or by the world's ideas, or even by themselves? or what? I see that I myself am caught by tradition to some degree. And by fear of the consequences of change. And by wanting to fit in to some degree.
But, oh Lord! I want to obey You!
I want Your purposes and plans!
Help me, please, Lord!