The Dream of God’s Community
Wayne fills Brad in on his time in Rome and what he learned about the Roman Empire and how its priorities actually became part of the church of that day as it got lost in its quest for power and significance. We still see the traces of it today in all kinds of religious institutions that are focused on personal power, buildings, and compelling others to act like they want. That leads to a wider discussion about the nature of worldly power and how it always gravitates to the same place of control and manipulation of others. Why does that always win out, even for people who begin with a desire to follow Jesus and be part of his life in the world? They talk about their dream of real community and honest collaboration and whether or not it is attainable or sustainable this side of eternity.
The books Wayne refers to in the podcast are:
A History of the Popes: From Peter to Present by John O'Malley
Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire by Simon Baker
The Ongoing Challenges in Kenya
I have realized over the years that even my own walk with Christ can be corrupted when I am in control. This has to be about losing that control, laying down our life, allowing the Holy Spirit to breath new life into us. I am so convinced at this point that this has to be a supernatural act of God. So much of that is missing in so many–it was foreign to me until God began to do a work in me. A lost and dying world will never be impressed by our humaness. Only when the supernatual transformation takes place can we be effective for God. Only then can we hear with spiritual ears and eyes to see what He is already doing and by His grace, get involved in what He is doing. Thanks, guys, for your perspective. This is a journey and I am glad you are on it with me.
Amen on collaboration leading to chaos!
Laurel – Well said! Neat to read about someone else who seems to be at a similar place in this journey as I am at. Thanks for sharing.
Brad, as to the question you were asking about Jacques’ assessment of power and does it have to end that way, here’s Jacques answering that.
“What constantly marked the life of Jesus was not nonviolence
but in every situation the choice not to use power. This is
Fear always leads humans to pick up power. Jesus never did.
To not use power is way more far reaching in its context working out in a human life than just what most think of as non violence
Laurel, you hit the nail on the head. It is all about letting God do His work in us, and not our controlling things.
The joy of the journey is simply responding to what He has already initiated, how deep do you want to go with Him……..information, formation, revelation…….this debt of love thing…..John the Baptist had the answer…..I must decrease and He must increase……chioce every day I make or don’t….keep the faith good words…….more so as we see the day approaching!!
I wish Wayne and Brad had a formula for how they are living this free life, but I guess I listen to them because they don’t… haha. I want to be free from my selfish life and the have tos and the ambitions to be this or that. I want to be free in Gods love… I pray God and soften my heart and open my eyes so I can live free in him. The hardest thing for me is what actions do I take, what am I responsible for? what does God expect from me???
if I don’t know then I sit around and do nothing all day… that isn’t freedom either.
Live the life God has given you to live and love people with God’s love and give them grace….you are not “expected” to do anything but you are free to use your heart, mind, soul, strength, time, energy to love….your family, your co-workers, your friends and neighbors, anyone and everyone…love and grace are your way of life……
Colt has expressed what many of us wrestle with. In personal terms as I continue to work through this “angst” or “I just have to do SOMETHING” I am having to continually bring this to Jesus. I appreciate Wayne’s phrase, “Keeping it in front of Him”. It’s more natural or a default position to go “either/or”. Either I’m responsible totally OR I lay in a hammock and God will do all of the work. I have found that “either/or” is a false dilemma for me. A formula simply will not work…there is no “one size fits all” and that’s wonderfully freeing and also at times incredibly frustrating : ) I’m thankful that slowly and slowly (like the unfolding of a flower) Jesus shows me where I need to slow down, sometimes simply stopping what I’m doing. My efforts have to be laid down. Then there are times when the Holy Spirit gives me energy and I can engage in a four hour spiritual conversation with somebody who’s struggling. I think what helps the most as we process this learning is that we are not alone. First we have Him walking alongside, taking us by the hand and secondly we see that other people are wrestling with the same thing…either internet “dialogue” or people physically brought across our path.
In thinking over Kent’s post, Jesus did use power….to teach, to heal, to raise the dead, to cast out demons, to change water to wine, to calm the storm, to prophecy, to know people’s hearts….He used His Father’s power, not earthly or human power, yet He often used earthly or human means.
I wonder though if there is a place for certain “formulas” or “programs” that might actually help rather than hinder. For instance, 12 step programs have helped millions of people over the years to have a relationship with God and to get their life back. I’ve seen many people in 12 step programs, utilizing the 12 steps and the fellowship that usually goes along with the program, living free, happy, and in love with their “Higher Power”.
I wonder if, like churches, there might be formulas that are destructive but there might also be formulas or programs that are helpful. Thoughts?
CH3CH2OH is a formula that works well for me.
That’s a very good question Erkki. I wonder if it’s simply “where I’m at” right now”…detoxing from some very painful religous performance “stuff” and when I see a “formula” or “Just do A and you will get result B” I want to scream and run for the hills! One dear friend was told by the institution, “Just stop drinking!!!! Just stop it!!!!!!” Alcoholics Anonymous basically saved his life, gave him mentors and he could call them day or night in his struggle. He made the comment, “Too bad we don’t have this in the church.” He never lost his relationship with God…he saw through some of the performance trappings and I’m so glad that for him it was a life saver. I wonder if the mentoring/sponsorship program has something to do with making these 12 step programs so helpful.
Hi, Sue. I totally hear you and feel the same way as you. I cannot go into a program right now no matter even if the fruit looked good. Any “program” turns me off immediately. Nonetheless, I wonder for someone who doesn’t share these experiences, if perhaps some programs might be helpful. I suppose to each his own as the Spirit guides.
I know also that A.A. and other groups have their own forms of legalism, and though they are leaderless, they too struggle with individuals wanting to take control. I agree with your observation about the relational aspect perhaps being the key to why they’re so helpful. There most definitely is a power in people who have been there helping people who are there.
I think a lot of it is equivalent to what we sometimes see here in the comments section, people shedding religion helping others who are shedding religion. It’s a judgement free zone with people just helping other people to see the Spirit of God working in all of our lives, but still allowing God to be God. In this, I would echo the comment of your friend, “Too bad we don’t have this in the church.”
In a sense, “Absolutely No Formulas” is also a formula…
You’re right Ken. I think Erkki mentioned that in some 12 step programs (even though they’re leader-less) they have people who try to “run” things. I wonder if whenever AA or “The God Journey” becomes a system then people are right back into imposing principles on their situation rather than following a Shepherd who can speak uniquely into each life. I’m still fairly newly coming out of institutional thinking and what I’ve slowly seen is that when I am holding things in tension such as my personal relp with Jesus AND the importance of community…the resolution for this tension is not to academically look for a “place” to fit this neatly into. Rather this tension b/t two points can be resting in this relationship with Him. When there are questions I have, I can have a dialogue with Him and slowly (very slowly) this relationship grows deeper and my confidence in Him also builds.
7/26/2011 at 5:08 am
CH3CH2OH is a formula that works well for me.
LOL! But isn’t that methanol? Missing a carbon atom if you meant ethanol. ;o)
I glad to see others detoxing from religion. I heard Beth Moore say this week, “You may go to a boring church, but you don’t serve a boring God.” I don’t do the boring church thing anymore, but I still seek the true Church. My eyes are opening to the fact that God is working still in a very exciting way, and there are opportunities every day to get involved with what He is doing. Nothing about me–I am not responsible for the prep, the process, or the outcome. My job is to stay connected to the Vine! Please feel free to share your God stories with me. I am always excited to see Papa at work!
I love this website where everyone can share their journey with Papa. Everyone has had wonderful comments and I’m on the same path with all of you. I’ve been struggling with not ”doing” something for God. I was always involved with projects at the church I used to attend, but since Papa lead me out of the church building, and into a personal relationship with him, I’m not ”doing” anything for him. II keep wondering if I’m missing something that he’s asked me to do. But yet I know he has ways of letting me know if there is something he wants me involved in. I’m starting to let go of having things my way instead of his way.