There has been a groundswell across denominations for the past 15 to 20 years, a de-numbing of faculties in the Body of Christ. Between those who left traditional churches when it was perceived as a sign of apostasy (also known as backsliding), and those who haven’t ever considered to, there is a world of misunderstanding. Despite having about 25 years of Internet archives about so many individual stories, and more recently dozens of books and blogs brilliantly addressing this exodus from the perspective of those doing the leaving – the good and the bad – there are no excuses left to stay ignorant.
Those who decide to go all frontal KJV on anyone expressing disgust or profound dissatisfaction with the way the family of Jesus is handling itself in the world today, usually have a very academic and static view of salvation and church, and they find comfort in it. Their first mistake is to expect every other Christian to agree with their particular doctrines and social views, including political, where WWJD usually refers to morality and patriotism.
But it’s too late – we’re not asking permission, we’re not feeling guilty, heck we actually miss church! But the compromise with our inner discovery of intimacy with God, and learning to love beyond expectation of performance or salvation scalps, was not negotiable anymore. And over the past few years, it has become evident that the Christian Hollywood of Evangelicalism, Prophetic Movement, Dominionism and Prosperity Hustlers are being shaken. People are asking too many questions, needing time to think them through in a conversation with God, and away from screaming banshees populating some of our pulpits and airwaves.
I see this shaking as healthy and full of promise of life and light for the world around believers who surrender to the pruning of sacred cows (now there’s a picture…).
But too many people DEMAND evidences of results from a journey not understood completely by its pilgrims, let alone its opponents. The best way to get answers is to do the leg work – read blogs, expose your understanding to ideas published, scour the Internet for blogs, videos, sermons, etc. where questions are considered and answered.
I would encourage all to realize what comes with a new journey: new perspective, new challenges, awareness of vulnerability, risky faith (BIG time), new paradigms, new tools of evaluation, new language, new understanding, etc.
Speaking for myself, MOST of the Lone Rangers I have met over 40 years of walk following Jesus, through various denominations, were in pulpits – not in the pews. And the very reasons you seem to uphold as “better reasons to stay in church” will solve themselves and often times exponentially so, as one undergoes transformation as a result of leaving the noisy pageantry that keeps diverting our attention from Christ to a GMO version of His Church.
Once we get a stronger sense of the Spirit of grace and truth in us, and learn to walk in more fluid agreement with His work in us and through us, including renewing our minds, the more we will find ourselves reaching over the Reformation to hold hands with the Early Church disciples, rather than the dis-incarnated “Rest Area” that has seen the explosion of modern anti-semitism, spiritual elitism, and the drifting away from the simplicity in Christ. I still have much to learn but I’m really excited, yet sobered by the voice of the Christian martyrs who fall under the sword in the Middle-East, the cradle of civilization and the birthplace of the Church.
The Spirit is speaking to the churches, imo, and I am not going to give up my calling to hear and discern, just to rely on someone else’s business-as-usual, or trendy, or regressive interpretation of what He is saying. This divine breath has to course through and awaken all the cells in the Body, if you will, so that we shine in the midst of a darkness that makes the world dizzy.
So let’s be kind and as humble as we can, showing respect to the pilgrim who is heading for a true spiritual journey, because we have already walked a few miles of it ourselves we can appreciate some of the trials to come, both individually and socially.
Grace and peace to all,