I think I have used this title before, a tag line from from one of my favorite preachers, Kermit the Frog.
It never has been easy, even in my childhood, growing up as a Pentecostal, with cottage prayer meetings in my parent's home!
Yet, I treasure the unexplainable moments in my life, the experiences and gifts missed by cessationist in other denominations.
As well, had my initial epiphany with Christ occurred only in a church, rather than unexpectedly in my dad's living room, all the current deconstructionists with whom I am in relationship, mostly younger "Nones" and the occasional "Done" my age, would likely have already taken me down.
I am intrigued by those in deep pursuit of escape from Christianity, particularly from among the more fundamentalist and evangelical sects.
Like I said yesterday, the political madness that has overtaken our nation, riding under the banner of the church is not helping. The Banner over us has never been about partisan politics, nor has any such empowerment proven itself beneficial to the church in the long term, thus my occasional mention of Constantine's impact on the Canon of scripture. We sometimes even clean up his image, speaking to the possibilities of a conversion. Uhmmm!
Don't be a 'hater' right here, hang with me, for as "mousy" as it may seem to some, our banner has always been the Love of God!
Those unlike me, who have stepped away from the church, some even with similar experiences to my own, and many better skilled at promoting themselves are garnering quite a following.
Some of their justification for the shift is too easily written off by denominatonal provocateurs as New Age, faux science or whatever.
An example would be the concept of "egrigores", an explanation offered up when it comes to the miraculous that sometimes happens in large groups, often after worship has been intense.
"It is said to arise from the collective thoughts and emotions of a distinct group of individuals."
That catches my attention as a possibility for some spiritual thrill seekers, but seems inadequate as an explanation of moments that have occurred in my life one on one. Beside one dying, raised up immediately, without the suspect of benefit from emotional arousal, after such large gatherings of praise and worship.
I actually enjoy the "Presence that inhabits our praise" but can also see the logic behind such explanations, when too often the lives of those professing such miraculous, offer little impact or true solutions for their community's challenges. I have actually constructed vision statements with implied intent of impact outside the typical purview of most churches narrow mission, using visionary language implying something different than their true community impact. Ouch!
Back to "being green", I can tell you that it is a struggle to keep posting counter cultural thoughts, myself often caught in the "trix and tween" of those I love who are a part of my faith orientation, as well as those I love equally outside of any faith! Both offer private feedback at times, as to the "why" behind my transparency.
It seems particularly difficult at my age, knowing how I must often be viewed as some "ole curmudgeon", particularly among those who are concerned both with their professional reputation and somewhat defensive of their particular doctrinal alignment.
Fortunately, I am beyond the need for all that, though I do know that I can get a little edgy at times. Remenber, you gotta love me!
I actually would like to stop writing, but each morning I hear, "Just write!"
That takes me back to the minor prophets and my current journey through Zechariah. Chapter 4 speaks of two olive trees that provide oil for seven candlesticks. If one still buys the mystery of the Book and I do, it likely correlates with the seven churches of John's Revelation, which I believe today speaks to the diversity in the Body of Christ.
I am told that seven bespeaks a number that implies perfection and completion. Perhaps the Creator finds satisfaction with the diversity within the Body of Christ, as reflected by its array of churches and denominational approaches.
Though we do tend to be quite competitive, rather than uniting around the Good News. Otherwise, why the scores of churches in each city, almost on every corner?
I know, there is some justification for the numerous new plants, some even I have supported, for "if everyone showed up on a Sunday, there would not be enough churches to hold them!"
The reality, it is more probable in most cases, that we just can't get along sufficient to work together while transforming our cities. Hopefully, one day! Thus my continued engagement with the plethora of church initiated nonprofits.
My tightly scribbled marginal notes in Zechariah remind me this morning that this ancient prophet may have unknowingly been speaking of the future Body of Christ with all her diverse opinions and doctrine, the two anointed ones foretelling the Christ and a day when full alignment with the Trinity would be possible by way of the Holy Spirit. That's holds powerful potential!
It is highly unlikely that either concept had been fully thought out in Zechariah's time, though intentionally leaked by inspiration of the prophets.
With my repeated attempts at brevity in order to grow my readership, I will close with that. Though I am struggling to write further about the mystery behind this Book, which I have studied for so long, a Book with deep cultural bias, yet continous in inspiring a progressive revelation over the centuries, often by way of daily spiritual "aHa's!" provided it's reader.
It's neither easy "being green" nor brief!
I still proclaim a "God breathed Word" knowing that the Canon itself was birthed out of Constantine's political necessity in 324 A.D.. History tells us that he "began receiving reports that the bishops and churches in Egypt were in disarray. He had been told about the conflict between Alexander, and Arius, and recognized that a schism in the Christian church would be just one more destabilizing factor in his empire, and so he moved to solve the problem, and it is this that provoked the Council of Nicaea."
Hopefully you will be intrigued by these thoughts, as younger folk, many exiting Boomer church now have ready access to such historical data, which I had never heard of early in my spiritual journey! They for sure will inform themselves, and you should as well!
Like Isaiah said, "Come let us reason together!"