July 26, 2007

Progress. Bad. Huh?

God has me think often about progress. Remember when you couldn't: record a TV show, microwave a meal, listen to a CD, get satellite TV, drive a car with more than 150 HP, word process, talk on a cell phone, get money from an ATM, pay for gas at the pump. All of these have come in the last twenty-five years. AMAZING progress. Why so amazing? Because for thousands of years, ending around the turn of the century in the US, the yeast pot was a fixture in every household. "The yeast pot you say?" Yes the yeast pot I say. Every kitchen had one, or your bread did not rise. You could make no wine, or beer, or hard spirits. It was a pot that the cooks kept in their kitchens that had a live yeast culture in it. Yeast is a single celled living organism. So you had to keep feeding the little buggers, or they would die. If you were a farmer, you could go without good bread for a couple of weeks before you made it to a neighbors to borrow some of their yeast. Now we have 280 different kinds of identified yeast. Sold in little dry packets, not kept in a culture that smelled like the men's room corner in a bar.

From something so simple as making bread that was a complex and difficult thing to do, we have simplified it to something a machine can do if we just give it the right ingredients. How is progress made, by building on the knowledge and foundations of others. All of this progress is considered good for humanity by giving more time for people to do other things, like study the bible on their own, instead of allowing the clergy to do it for them, and telling them what to think about it. This is the crux of the problem for many of us that have chosen to leave organized religions. In our desire to learn more of God, we search the scriptures, and read books that offer many thoughts about God and religion, that have scriptural basis. Because of our own studies and books in the christian bookstores we find a wide range of thoughts and beliefs that differ from the teachings of our chosen churches. The knowledge contained in the bible and books sometimes lead us to differing points of belief than our pastors or reverends or priests. We are basically building on the knowledge of the past, to increase our understanding in the present. We are making progress because the knowledge of the past is finally available to all.

Finally available? What do you mean? Well, how many christian bookstores were around twenty-five years ago. Very few. How many now? More, though certainly not as many as secular bookstores. But even those secular bookstores carry books on religion. Our ability to learn has exponentially increased very recently in historical terms. This is causing a crisis of faith to many. As God speaks to people in their studies, they find verses that completely contradict what they have always been taught, the conviction of the truth of the thought, stays with them irrefutably. To keep things like this from happening, some faiths have forbidden reading to their congregations except for specifically authorized books. That is ridiculous you say, well the catholics started that practice long ago. Keep people stupid, and they will believe what is told from the pulpit.

The crisis of faith mentioned above, is then taken to the leader of the church, and talked about. The person you talk to shows you the same old tired drivel that you have seen many times before and is no help in solving the crisis. Why? Because of doctrine. Doctrines are basically a way of thinking about The God, but area accepted as complete, and in no need of revision. Since there is no need of revision, your spiritual leader, no longer studies or hides the word of God in their heart, and no longer matures in the faith. Because they learned all they needed to learn in seminary. More on this in "To Be A Servant" December 28, 2006. So if you truly desire God, and daily hide the word in your heart, you quickly, within 2 to 3 years, become more knowledgeable about the bible than you spiritual leader. Then he can no longer answer any of your questions, and becomes useless to you. That is when the decision to leave church for many is reached, because they receive no hope there. Not only that, but the pastor/reverend/priest (PRP) our of concern for you spiritual well being, talks to others in the church to try and help,"Guide you back to the path." This normally means pressure being put on you to take those irrefutable truths you have been guided to by God, and rejecting them. Knowing that if you do, you are rejecting God. Your love for God being much stronger than your love of the people that are pressuring and cajoling you, you leave. Becoming a servant of God, rather than someone of a christian faith.

The progress you have made as a follower of God, has or will make you an outcast of your church. Making progress bad in the eyes of the established doctrinal organizations. But does not God want you to grow? Does he not want you to move on to meat, rather than remain suckling at the breast? Of course he wants you to grow. But the growth process for a servant of God is not much different than it is for a small child. It goes in spurts. At the appropriate time, a child will have a growth spurt. Also for us servants, God will reveal truths to us at the appropriate time. Leaving many of us at different levels of growth, and differing paths, even though we study together. More on this at an old post "On Our Own" January 5th, 2007. So through our progress, we out grow our chosen places of faith, by being a servant, and obeying God by hiding the word in our hearts. Progressing in the faith is a good thing, but seen as bad by organized religion, because in their rigidity, they lose followers.

So what do you do now that you have no spiritual home. Create one. Learning lessons from the early church, "Where two or more are gathered together in my name, there I will be also." We have the ability to be together over huge distances. Cyberly this is possible. This is the charge God has laid on my heart, To gather together unto him, those who are his true servants, and have outgrown their earthly place of worship. To try to get them to connect and build a community on line so that they will have companionship, worship, fellowship, understanding and acceptance. That they can discuss the questions that they have without fear of reprisals from the other members of the sect. I have set up a blog called Just Wondering @justwonderingfaith.blogspot.com. Here you can comment on questions, get a question posted, or just read responses and form your own opinions. But where ever you are. Try to connect to one other person however you can, to strart. Then go on from there. Continue to progress in your faith, becasue it is a good thing.


Heather said...

Hi, Nate. Thanks for visiting me over at Deconstructed Christian.

It sounds like you've hit the place we did a couple of years ago. It's a strange journey, and you might feel a little disconnected from those who don't understand. But it's all worth it.

We finally found a group of believers who 'get it'. It's wonderful when a missional life becomes the norm among those you spend time with, when prayer and community is constant and expected rather than something tacked on to the end.


curious servant said...

I like the way you wrote this.

I like the way you think.

Thanks for dropping by my blog the other day and leaving such a kind comment.

Lexi said...

hey dad i'm on my blogger i'm gunna be working on it agian. so you chould come and check it out

Susan said...

My experience of church, though at times disappointing has not been as destructive as many others that I read about here and in other places. We have moved a lot but have always managed to find people within the organized church who have a heart for God. So to quote from a book I have just been reading, I feel inexplicably "bound to this church of his".

Nevertheless it is good to have blogs where there is freedom to discuss things that I also don't always feel comfortable discussing in a church setting.