The Myth of Managed Spirituality

Crawling through recent emails, Wayne and Brad share and comment from other people's journeys and how they are being transformed in God's life. That brings up such recent podcast topics as how we view and treat women, spiritual authority, and our attempts to change others through preaching principles are destined to fail. For centuries our religious structures have endeavored to change people by giving them a set of principles to follow and motivating them to do it. When will we learn that "managed spirituality" is an oxymoron of the highest order that can never deliver what it promises?

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  1. This podcast was really helpful as was last week’s! I keep saying … yes, uh huh, head nodding, been there…felt that, heard that. Wow. I’m not alone. It’s good to know. The letter that Wayne and Brad talked about by a reader who is an introvert and is not content to stay at home with Father and her family really touched me. I can relate so well to what she said! I am a total introvert, although I can fake it sometimes, and if I am in a situation where I am comfortable people don’t realize that it still takes effort and too much socializing can be wearing. Way back, in certain churches I was in, the personality factor was not taken into consideration! I have since visited churches that attracted people more like me, but before….it really did seem that my spirituality was being judged according to my ability to be “out there” or not. And I wasn’t. I couldn’t. And now that I understand how God made me and that I do need a lot of alone time, and am a homebody type much of the time, I know not to let that be a negative thing because it doesn’t fit into some institutions definition of a devoted Christian. So I am free! And it’s okay. Wold have been easier to know this long ago, but learning just takes time and that’s okay too. Having computer problems and need to send this quick! Thanks Wayne and Brad and to all who post on here…the comments really help me.

  2. I have to say if “structure” could fit into Living Loved, I have found by experience that it looks more like “So you don’t want to go to church anymore”. Everyday I find myself in the middle of conversations all over the place talking about Jesus and enjoying living loved. People ask me all the time how can we get people to get on this path and I always respond, the same way you did, you had a conversation with someone who is LIVING it. Live it first forget about teaching preaching screeching a message about it. Especially to the younger generation. This week I found myself often encouraging a few of them (especially young females) to find the “inner voice” and listen and move according to that voice.
    And I found a passage of scripture in The Message that said exactly the same thing. So cool. I really liked Peters’ letter and this scripture addresses the two way street of how this mess happens. Which is don’t let anyone put you on that pedestal and don’t give your inner authority away. So Pastors and sheep all contribute to this mess. Let’s just stop the madness. One conversation at a time. We are all classmates with one teacher.
    Matthew 23

    Religious Fashion Shows

    1-3 Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. “The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer.
    4-7″Instead of giving you God’s Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn’t think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called ‘Doctor’ and ‘Reverend.’

    8-10″Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of ‘Father’; you have only one Father, and he’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.

    11-12″Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.

  3. Thanks for the LOL’s brothers. I was a blueprint making, three ring binder giving, sincerely stupid, (IC and house church) pie in the sky guy. 🙂

  4. Related to the comments about the “unpaid pastor’s wife” in a different kind of way.

    Imagine what it was like being unpaid “fully-committed” staff in a voluntary mission organisation! The goodwill abused by years of subtle demands to demonstrate commitment in “seeing the kingdom of God come” by following a leader’s agenda. In the frailty of my own insecurity I did “jump through all the hoops”, confusing sacrifice as something God was asking of me rather than just to live loved and following his lead. No wonder my brain is scattered, and heart was a bit shattered.

    Its a long road to recovery… I wish it could happen quicker!!!!!

  5. I love the analogy of the first date. While I had apprehension when I first met my wife, after getting to know her she was loving and warm and beautiful and all those things that make us fall in love. Is God really so scary that we need a set of rules to approach him? I have finally found the loving, warm and beautiful God that was missing when I tried to follow a scripted relationship with Him…

  6. As I listened I reviewed my last couple of years- which include being involved in a church intervention, the entire staff being fired, and launching a start-up restaurant- and some of the people that those events have brought into my life. Recently, I’ve come into contact with house church group of sorts that often talks of how the “institution” does things (which i resonate with) but talks of a “new structure” that they have set-up… of course it’s more “biblical” than the “institution’s”. I had, in the past weeks, really started to think about how to link up with this group and this discussion (along with a long time friend coming back into town) snapped me back into the reality of “managed spirituality” being the problem. As we try to manipulate others we end up manipulating ourselves and denying ourselves simple open and honest community.

    Coming out of the “Holiness Movement” I have observed that often when we wear religious masks we assume the worst about other’s motives because we know what we are hiding ourselves. This truth rots the very foundation on which we are trying to build or “new structures”. My wife and I are really trying to simply live in the community that God brings to us knowing that what we need and what we want in communities are often two very different things. Thanks for sharing your conversations with us.

  7. The comment from Andrea that Wayne read re: being more introverted and a homebody etc….. that’s been my experience, too (minus the children)! How encouraging and validating …. THANKS!!!

  8. Your comment “That you can, by principle, find your way into a real relationship with God” reminds me of a quote from G.K. Chesterton in “Heretics”, when talking about how we get stuck in thinking that life is just one mindlessly repetitive process (as he apparently objected to Mr. H.G. Wells comment that “life is a tissue of births”) , he rhetorically stated “It is as if a man asked “What is the use of a hammer?” and answered “to make hammers” and asked and of those hammers, “What is the use?” and answered “To make hammers again” Just as such a man would be perpetually putting off the question of the ultimate use of carpentry, so Mr. Wells and all the rest of us are by these phrases, successfully putting off the question of the ultimate value of human life”

  9. I needed to hear this podcast, I have a lot of trouble sometimes of believing I’m where I need to be. I keep thinking, ”I’m not DOING anything for you Papa”, or I’ll listen to a minister on TV say that God has a purpose for me and I need to find that purpose or passion He’s put in my life. I drive myself crazy because I can’t figure out what that passion is supposed to be. You’re given me peace to know my relationship with Him is more important than anything else. That I am okay not ”DOING” something for God. I love this website and all the people that are on this journey with me. Thank you all for our coments, they really help to know I’m not as crazy as I thought 🙂

  10. Thank you for recommending the book “Tattoos On The Heart”. My friend and fellow joueneyer
    gave me a copy and I finished reading it in a week ( for a very slow reader this was quite an accomplishnent). Having been taught most of my life concerning the restrictiveness of God’s holiness, my heart has been tattooed with what the author understands about the expansiveness of the Father’s love. It’s like seeing what we believe to be the edge of the cosmos through the use of the Hubble telescope realizing that there is infinitely more. Thanks again!

  11. random question: I see by the luciferian symbol in your logo you guys are hooked up with the masons or rosicrusians, how deeply are you involved with these groups? It could be coincidence but usually logos and public branding is a common way for these groups to anounce their allegences.

  12. Seriously, Derrick? That’s a compass in the ‘o’ if that’s what you’re talking about. We are not hooked up with or fans of either of the two organizations that you mention. Never heard that to be a symbol of such things…

  13. Yep, thats the symbol the masons use when refering to their god. the took it from the rosicrucians about 100yrs ago. I asked because the symbol references god(lucifer) in the occult. its meant to show his light.

    • r. elliott, thank you for the link to Adam McHugh’s blog re: Introverts in the Church!

  14. I really enjoyed this podcast! I loved the conversation about abiding..Over and over I keep seeing how much I get all worked up and concerned with “doing or not doing” etc.It is such a relief to know that I can just be a child and climb up on His lap and let Him be my Father! So many times it seems like it is just all too good to be true! How can a person NOT fall in love with a God like this.Thank-You Wayne and Brad for letting us all listen in on your conversations.I discovered this site a couple of months ago and it all brings much delight to my heart!

  15. Guess I can’t listen to anymore podcasts until you get rid of that masonic rosicrucian occultic luciferian compass. Please do it asap because I really like your podcasts and it will be a shame if I can’t listen anymore. lmbo

  16. Derrik- I did a Google search of Rosicrucian symbols and Masonic symbols and while I came up with an array of symbols by each, the compass rose symbol didn’t show up. The Masons use a bow compass symbol but that isn’t the same thing. All this isn’t to say that someone in either or both of these groups haven’t used the navigational symbol as part of their teaching. Then again, there are probably an equal number of Christian groups that have used the points of a compass as a symbol of spiritual navigation as well.

    Interesting observation but it is too far of a stretch in semiotic interpretation for me to suspect Wayne and Brad of hiding some devious undertones.

  17. The blog link regarding introverts was of great benefit to read.I liked how the writer summed it up by saying that no matter wick our personalities are as far as being introverted or extraverted what is important is, in our individual ways, showing kindness and being merciful to others.

  18. “….religion is a social experiment to see how many hoops someone will jump through before they go postal.” This is a quote from a little know yet brilliant philosopher,….my 15 year old son.

  19. I’m sure that symbol also probably means the two of you are members of the trilateral commission, bilderburgers,the illuminati, the council on foreign relations and are trying to bring about the new world order in the form of a world government.Just hope you don’t start selling scannable implants for our hands or foreheads. wish I’d of known this 2 yrs ago when I started listening to you. ROTFLMBO!!!!
    Guess you might be able to figure out which branch of the church I came out of. A little sorry for the sarcasm but couldn’t resist.

  20. This looks like a tale of two compasses, one is a technical drawing instrument (architect’s tool) that can be used for inscribing circles or arcs and the other is a navigational instrument that measures directions or points – north, south, east, and west.

    The former:
    “A compass or pair of compasses is a technical drawing instrument that can be used for inscribing circles or arcs.”:

    “The Square and Compasses (or, more correctly, a square and a set of compasses joined together) is the single most identifiable symbol of Freemasonry.”:

    The latter:
    “A compass is a navigational instrument that measures directions in a frame of reference that is stationary relative to the surface of the earth.”:

    “That’s a compass [navigational instrument] in the ‘o’ if that’s what you’re talking about.” Wayne Jacobsen

    Note: [added by me] for specific identification of the latter.

    My two cents worth is quite unnecessary (see Romans 14) but research is a hobby horse and I do enjoy riding/writing on it as long as I‘m using the latter compass. 🙂

  21. At best, the person may have reached a false conclusion based on inaccurate information. In all of my research over the course of many years, I have never found any symbolic use by Freemasonry of a compass (navigational instrument) inside a circle. But even if there were such a symbolic use, it would prove nothing and any association reference to (The God Journey) would possibly be a “Argumentum ad hominem“.

    “The phrase ad hominem argument (often called an ad hominem attack) comes from the Latin “at the person”. It also sometimes applies to any argument that centers on emotive (specifically irrelevant emotions) rather than rational or logical appeal. It occurs when people who are unable to attack the argument itself resort to attacking the person making it. As such arguments have nothing to do with the topic, they have no weight or validity against the argument.” Argumentum ad hominem at RationalWiki/dot/org

  22. Derrick, man o man, you made my day. I could not stop laughing, tears coming out of my eyes. Do I remember those days. It seems a distant past, another world, but none the less it was very real and scary then. I had to phone my brother and tell him and together we laughed and laughed. We saw the devil in everything back then. Eventually one gets so suspicious that there is nothing one can read, buy, join, etc. Man that becomes serious bondage. Thanks Derrick, laughing is seriously good medicine. ( Please do not read I am laughing at you, I get why you ask that question.)

  23. Well another great discussion. It was nice to meet you (Wayne) in NZ down here a little while ago. I do have a question about a book you mentioned on this PC – “A Captivated heart”? of something like that by a Jesuit Preist. Would you be able to please send us the details of it and wonder if its still in print? I would be good to know of other inspiring books you could recommend as well. Blessings from “The Land of the Long White Cloud” Millions of Sheep and just as many flavours of church you can “swing a cat” at!! ;D –
    Living Loved is the biggest sermon I have ever taken on board and finding the original version seems elusive at times amonsgt folk own here. I know they are there though… father has em in one of his many paddocks.
    Thank you Both for living it and “passing it on”.

  24. Lionhearted, it was called, “Tattoos on the Heart. You can read about it on my blog posting.

    The best place to find books I recommend are either in the blog archives, my recommended reading page at Lifestream, or past podcasts. I keep a pretty active conversation in these places about books I enjoy and are part of my journey.


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