Road Kill on the Institutional Highway (#504)
Are you a Toto in the land of religious performance? You can't seem to leave well enough alone and keep asking the questions that make others uncomfortable. Brad and Wayne continue their conversation with Bob Scott, a friend of Brad's, whose website Compassionate Justice looks to cultivate resources to defend the innocent and the oppressed. Bob, like Wayne and Brad has spent significant time behind the curtain with those who manipulate the buttons and levers many use to impress the crowd and perpetuate an illusion of spirituality that trips up many. But challenging the status quo has a price to pay as well. How do we navigate all of that and come to a space where grace reigns in our hearts for ourselves and others?
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A deep Truth that we discovered and are discovering, but which nonetheless is still difficult to talk to other Christian Brethren about, and for them to understand. It continues to cause us some suffering, but oh the JOY of the Lord to see Him and His Kingdom. }:- ????
Living outside the systems of the IC evokes compassion for those that are still hoping that better practice of these systems will take away the emptiness of repeated failure which requires trying harder.
However, observing those that claim success in the practice of a system is results in an experience of revulsion. The thinly veiled egotism, pecking order ascension and pride lead to attempts to “market Jesus” with all the trappings of successful business practices.
It is all about what you get, not who you get to know. Getting stuff, or the promise of stuff and moving up the pecking order replace enjoying “God with us”, knowing him and living inside the big soul rather than the tight confines of our ego. The most prominent aspect of deception is that you don’t know it is happening.
I have been struck recently how difficult it is to talk about Jesus in groups of IC-ers in social situations. They prefer to talk about what they have done (accomplishments, trips, pleasures etc.), what they have and important people they know (even if it is just getting an autograph of someone that is famous). To talk about what God is doing, the riches in Christ Jesus and the knowing of God seems foreign and uncomfortable. It is taking me some time, but moving from trying to fix them to just loving them is becoming increasingly freeing.
Great thought provoking and heart cheering podcast.
Please don’t stop using the word ‘crap’. Some Brits may not be used to such profanity, but most of us can handle it.
If I remember rightly, it was Brad who used such words in the past. Great to have the ‘younger man’ back.
All three of you are a great inspiration.
There is a great statement in chapter 18 of Finding Church: “Surprisingly there is little written about how our understanding of leadership shifts inside the new creation, which doesn’t the same management schemes found in the old.” Not many people get this and yet this is what the New Testament is all about.
There is absolutely no ‘cash, credit and control” in the life of Jesus Christ. Most of what we see in ‘the church’ today ignores his way of life rather than revealing him as he really was and still is. In the resurrection what was thought to be ‘roadkill’ in reality became life!
Sorry this may be a little out of context here. Listening to the podcast recently has me thinking about my need to have God present. And that I don’t know he’s there. It’s the biggest struggle these days. “Where are You? Are you there? I can’t hear You. I need You so badly.” If there’s too much silence I just can’t stand the pain of it.
I used to turn on myself, and still do sometimes. I’m not trying hard enough. My attitude is all wrong. I need to have faith. Or patience.
Lately I get mad and just try to pull out of my relationship with God. It feels like such a depressing thing to try to connect with him and feel rejected.
I know this is part of my personal vulnerability, one I share with many others and one that effects my social life significantly too. I’d like to work my way through it somehow.
Great I didn’t post the whole message!
I wonder how this relates to the idea of “manipulating God”? Is that what I’m doing? Wanting Him to be here whenever I want it? (Which seems to go back to what I could do better to fix things!) Has anyone gone through this with God and made it out on the other side?
I heard Brad say recently on the podcast something like “Lord you’re just going to have to do something here because I sure can’t do it!” Might that be a step in the right direction for me too? Thanks for bearing with me here.
Hi Lisa…thx for sharing so openly what is on your heart. I did try to already send a post, it vanished into the ether…smile…pls excuse if you’re seeing this twice. My walking through similar pain has brought me…is bringing me…to a place where he invites me to lay down my hard work. He understands my default to struggle harder rather than rest. As I continue to to turn and return to him I have been astounded to see that he very slowly changes my own responses. During times of deep pain I have felt frustrated by the length of time he took but can now say that it’s worth the turning and returning to him. May he encourage you…there are many of us walking this journey out.
Lisa, loved what you shared. Many people I hear from get stuck there for a bit, caught between blaming God for abandoning them, or themselves for not being sensitive enough. I’d like to spend some time with your post in a future podcast. Helping people get over this hump in the road with neither of those options, but simply discovering that God is not silent, that he’s always reaching out to us and if we’re not seeing it, maybe we need not blame him or us, but simply realize we might be looking in the wrong place and he is redirecting our hearts to how he wants to work in us and if we can give him the space to do so that we can discover how he is engaging us. This takes time and patience on our part because discerning the transcendent God is something we haven’t been taught to do. Great letter. Great honesty, and perhaps we can help unravel that a bit when we get a chance…
Thanks Sue. I like the turn and return. I definitely turn away then return. Eventually. Being a part f an institutional church masked this. There was plenty of spiritual activity going on. Even just other people’s spiritual life that made me feel maybe vicarious spirituality. Now that the constant swirl of activity is gone, the troubles in my personal connection with God are obvious.
Wayne, I so have valued the podcast! Any input you can share I know will be helpful. I think the hardest thing is trying to orient oneself. Stumbling around confused is . . Well it’s a lot of unpleasant things. However I’ve been doing this thing with God for a long time so there’s no hurry. The weird thing is if I had a human relationship that was this troubling. I’d probably have let it go long ago.
I have felt the same way. About 5 years ago I was striving to hear God’s voice. I was fixated on that verse “Be still and know that I am God.” Every day for 6 months I would drop my kids at school, go for a walk, and just sit and wait…and wait….and wait. Nothing! 6 months had passed and still nothing. I was sitting in the car after my walk and I had given up. I was annoyed because I felt I had kept my side of the bargain. I was admiring the view not being “spiritual” at all when a strange thought came into my head. “You’re always looking for me out there. If I always spoke “audibly” to you, you would keep looking for me out there. I am with you, not out there. I am making you part of me.”
Now each day I make a cuppa and sit with Him for a short time. Just becoming aware that he is with me. Some days I feel it. Some days I don’t. I go over my plans for the day with him in my head because I know he is with me whether I feel it or not. I admire the view conscious of the fact that he sees it too because in some mystical way he is with me, actually part of me. Pilot and co-pilot as Wayne once put it. And when I feel his love I mentally send it out to all I know. Thoughts come to me that aren’t mine sometimes but then I go for long periods with nothing. It all remains a bit of a mystery but I have more peace. I am not telling you what to do Lisa, just reflecting on what I think are related parts of my journey. Sending love and light your way and hoping you find your way through your dark night of the soul.
Sharon, I have done things like this but never with your level of perseverance! Thanks for sharing your experience. I guess I’m struggling with old sensitivities I thought I got past. But here they are still. I keep thinking someone has to be wrong! Or seeing rejection as the only meaning in silence. It reminds me of a recent podcast discussion, that God is about restoration not grinding people down. That’s another human philosophy, “we gotta tear you down in order to build you up.” I feel that God has been in the midst of this conversation and I feel a renewed sense of hope! I think he just stood out in the middle of the road and flagged me down.
Lisa and Sharon,
Your hungry hearts are really evident, and reflects my own frustration at times in trying to figure out how I can “connect with God”. So much of it is based on my own expectations, which are based on what others have said or taught by people who really have no idea themselves on what a relationship with God looks like.
A few things i have learned are that God meets me personally and individually, in the way I am designed. That means it will not be a formula from a self help book or even prescribed spiritual disciplines. Overtime I have found that my best moments are with a cup of coffee and a journal and not too early in the morning, not on my knees or reading the BIble in a year. I find myself awestruck by the glorious colour of the fall and that He did this all and I tell Him so, but then I am an artist and so I notice this sort of thing. I like to read books that point to the Father, and then talk to Him about what I read, or journal key phrases to think about the next day.
I think that “seeking him with all your heart” has been translated into drastic, deeply self-sacrificing of hours of prayer and fasting, when “all of your heart” may very well be interacting with him out of the depth of who you are: the way you are made. If you are moved by certain things, why not use those as a starting point to connect with him? These are obviously places where your heart is vulnerable and open.
All I know is that no one but God really know my heart and the best way to connect. I have heard that the mansion he is creating for me is highly personal, so why do I expect anything but something highly personal here. He is especially fond of me.
Have so appreciated the thoughts and comments from different ppl. I seem to remember Lisa stating that she had a background in a more institutional setting. As this is also my processing, seems that such a setting will provide unique challenges when moving toward more quietness and greater intimacy wit Him. Seems like right now…I can offer the encouragement…we’re not alone in this.