Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Thanks to 'todrawneargod' for commenting on a previous post - "Church Visit #12"

I think the link will also show my response to her comments.  She asks the questions: Why the church visits?  What have you learned?  - Great questions!!

The church visits themselves took place over a period of about seven-eight months from July 2006 - March 2007.  In total, there were about thirty or so; i.e., separate visits to about thirty (30) different local churches (local to the Monterey Peninsula California area).

'todrawneargod''s questions have got me thinking about what I learned - or didn't learn - from those 'long since' visits.

So... this post is a bit of a teaser.  I'll be back with some ruminations about Lessons Learned.

Friday, March 11, 2011

I've been thinking about the antithesis of unity, which is of course division.  There is no debating the tragically divided condition of "The Church."  This is not a newly manifested thing.  The church began suffering division even in its earliest days, as demonstrated by many passages in Acts and the Epistles, and even the Gospel writers tell us of dissension among the Twelve while Yeshua was still physically with them, for that matter.

So, I'm certainly not going to try to argue that division amongst professing christians is new.  History abundantly and stubbornly belies that assertion.  Our human nature seems to compel us toward categorization and labelling.

However, in meditating on division and considering what the causes are and could be, I came to a very clear realization.  Not really startling or surprising in itself, but I was a bit surprised at myself for having overlooked it for so long.  Like many such realizations, it is something that is actually fairly obvious, but do we not often tend to look right past the obvious in favor of a less threatening alternative?

The realization is this: division is demonic.

Well, of course!  Who else has a vested interest in the debilitation, neutralization, indeed the complete annihilation, of the Body of Yeshua?

The more important realization is the corollary: If division is demonic, why are we not fighting it for all we are worth?  Why do we tolerate division?  Why do we, in fact, seem to CELEBRATE division?

For here is another related realization: "denomination" MEANS "division."  Well, it literally means "to be given a name," but the idea is to apply a unique NAME that will separate us from those with whom we disagree on even the smallest point of doctrinal interpretation and behavior.  When we "denominate" ourselves, we choose division over unity.

See, our determined construction of denominational walls is based on this: imposition of legalistic, narrow-minded codes of conduct structured around our stubborn adherence to worldly standards of interpretation of Yhvh's mitzvot.

I say "worldly standards of interpretation" because we are drawn to measurement and quantification and externally demonstrable evidences of our "holiness."  We want others to see us as pure, so we try to adopt behaviors that can be perceived as "godly"; and we impose our behavioral constructs on others - essentially to feed our own ego.  If they do not behave the way we expect them to behave, we deem them impure and unfit for inclusion in our version of righteousness.

Yhvh gave us one NAME to be called by.  His own.  I'm not advocating creation of yet another denomination that conjures up a moniker based on any particular version of "the name of God."  Plenty of those already around in any case.

I'm advocating brutal eschewance of any man-made NAMING convention.

I'm advocating repentance from our complacent, contented, delirious acceptance of our denominational status.

I'm advocating conscious removal and destruction of our denominational and other traditional baggage because it hinders us from pursuing an intimate relationship with Yhvh, which should be our chief desire.