Opinions on faith and life

Spiritual Klingons

2009-02-21

Been reading some more at A Wilderness Voice and found more “little things” that really clarify what’s wrong with Churchianity today. I used to advocate patience in giving the churched time to warm up to the idea of abandoning the status quo, but time is running out. Besides, how can worldly, flesh-stroking systems ever have been God’s will?

From I confer on you a kingdom, ch. 3

It is interesting that Jesus chose the most servile term in the Greek language to correspond to Kingdom greatness. Another definition of doulos is under rower. The lowest place of slavery in the Roman Empire was the second deck galley slave. To be a galley slave was to be chained to the oar of a Roman galleon for the rest of your life with no hope of deliverance or any kind of life of your own. Consider what it was like to be a galley slave on the lower deck with other men chained to their oars above you, defecating down through the grates above your head. This is the term that Jesus chose to define the greatest in His kingdom. Of this word Thayer wrote: “Noun, doulos: 1) a slave, bondman, man of servile condition. 1b) metaphorically, one who gives himself up to another’s will. . .1c) devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests. . . .Originally this was the lowest term in the scale of secular sertitude.”

Jesus was not tempted by the devil until after He was weak and starving. We need to pay attention, because Satan’s tactics have not changed. He will wait until we have been through the wilderness to make a tempting offer, such as of acceptance, position, money, fame, or influence. Who among those “under rowers” wouldn’t jump at the chance to rise up even one level? What kind of fool would stay down where your fellow servants, to put it bluntly, crap on your head all the time? From ch. 7:

It is one thing to be enticed by the enemy with all that the world can offer, but quite another to have your dearest friends counseling you to go against what you know is the way that Father has put before you--a way that even your flesh is crying out against. On the one hand you are offered prosperity and success. On the other you are offered nothing in this world but suffering and death. Only faith is left to carry you through to the heavenly goal. All hangs in the balance. Will we save our lives or lose them? Will we choose the Father’s purpose over our own comfort and say with Jesus, “But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” If we follow Jesus, we too will grow in our passion for the Father’s glory.

If we don’t embrace the Father’s purpose in the cross we will take up fleeing instead of following, saving ourselves instead of serving, avoidance rather than obedience. And our constant prayer will be, “Father, save me from this hour,” as we lose our lives through seeking them.

What’s all that got to do with “klingons”? I’m talking about people who “cling on” to power, position, and imagined divine rights. Whether it’s over other believers in a “church” or over the other half of the human race, pride is found in those who refuse to follow Jesus and enter His kingdom. They fight to be first in line, they demand the important seats, they rage against anyone who does not acknowledge their assumed preeminence. Show me someone who speaks of rule, authority, roles, offices, or high callings, and I’ll show you the least in the kingdom of heaven. A Christian who uses spiritual gifts as titles of authority has no idea what following Jesus to the lowest position is all about.

It’s time for us sheeple to stop following the hired hands!

5 Comments

Lin

What an interesting site. I have been reading over there and find it truly refreshing

Janice

Thanks for the link to "A Wilderness Voice". I’ve been reading, "The Great Eccesiastical Conspiracy" and in chapter 2 came across this:

the true church is relational, not institutional

On the way to the car today, after church, I told my husband how happy I am to be going there. The congregation is smallish; maybe 50 to 60 (including kids) turn up of a Sunday. We have a traditional Anglican prayer book service with Holy Communion almost every week - probably 48 weeks out of every 52. Down in Sydney diocese we only had Communion once a month. I didn’t realise how important it is to me to have Communion regularly, to be regularly reminded of the price our Lord Jesus Christ paid for my/our salvation, until we moved up here and learned how to do things differently.

The diocese ordains women and an ordained woman who works at the local theology college for indigenous folk (and runs an evening service for them every week) occasionally preaches for us in the mornings. She’s the first woman I’ve ever heard preach. The roof didn’t fall in and no lightning strikes fried us. She, on the other hand, has to put up with occasional rudenesses from certain people who are ideologically opposed to women being ordained. I presume it used to be regular rudenesses until her opposers moved to the next parish where there are no preaching women around to disturb their equanimity.

But the reason I’m so happy to be going to this church is that we are really like a family. There’s an honesty, ordinariness, friendliness and servant-heartedness about these people that is truly refreshing and encouraging. I remember reading years ago about shell-to-shell Christianity in which people erect barriers around themselves and you only ever bounce off each other’s shells. I don’t feel those shells in this place. I don’t get the sense that people belong to cliques and are jockeying for power or influence or a good reputation. There are no uber-Christians who project a holier-than-thou image.

Anyway, my husband agreed. This is the best church we’ve ever gone to and, for me, that’s after 30 years of being a Christian.

Too bad. Our minister is retiring soon. He’s a lovely, lovely fellow but he has been preceded by someone referred to as "Roger the Wrecker" (before my time) so who we pick as the next minister - or who gets imposed on us if we can’t decide - is crucial. I’m thinking of volunteering for parish council again. Urk! Been there, done that, came home covered in someone else’s metaphorical blood. But then, this is a different place and these are different people.

What I’m not sure about is what has made the difference. I suspect it could have something to do with the fact that we have Communion almost every week but it could just be that God has placed me among a group of people who truly love Him.

Paula Fether

I think most churches are institutional because the system itself fosters that kind of thing. So to see relational Christianity within it is truly rare. Even so, I still would ask why any believer would make a spiritual gift into a title or office. If the leaders are "under rowers", what good are titles anyway? I don’t mean that in a hostile way, just an honest question I’d ask those with titles. I think people can figure out who knows the scriptures and walks the walk, and that those are the ones whose teachings we should listen to.

You are blessed to find such a rare group of believers. Yet there is another step to be taken, and I’d be curious as to their reason for the titles and offices. Without "the system", there would be no reason to fear who the next office holder will be. According to the NT, the current elders should pick one among you to replace the retiring minister. (Speaking of which, how does one retire from being an under rower?)

Janice

Hi Paula,

I’ve been thinking about your response. I think you’re perfectly right that, "most churches are institutional because the system itself fosters that kind of thing," but that’s because the systems are (fallen) human systems aimed at working in this (fallen) world where (fallen) human beings are, all of them, on the road as opposed to being at the destination. So it’s mostly a mess and sometimes you get lucky and get a vague glimpse of what heaven might be like.

I’m not hugely aggrieved any more that I am working within this particular (fallen) human system because, for now (and due to the way things are in this world), at least this system has managed to cling (because of Scripturally based tradition) to certain important facets of spiritual life that newer manifestations of that life tend to miss out on.

One of several reasons that we went back to Anglicanism is that in the sort-of-house-churchish-place we were attending previously the prayer leaders routinely failed to pray for those who govern us. I see elements of that at the Anglican church I’m attending now but at least the form of how we should pray is written down there in the prayer book and there is always the possibility that, maybe next week, whoever is leading the prayers will be reminded (by the prayer book) to pray appropriately - not least by first giving thanks.

I’ve given up on hoping for heaven on earth before our Lord returns. Until He does I’ll just work, where I am, with what I’ve been given and what I now know. The last, of course, is sure to change as time passes.

Paula Fether

Good thoughts, Janice. And I do always try to get across the idea that people should never violate their conscience. Leaving for me didn’t come until I had been in the system for over 40 years, and even then I fought it for several. But I do believe I am charged with getting this message out, and there are others with this same commission. It takes time to warm up to this, so I don’t fault anyone for staying, and would only ask them to pray about it. In this way we will know it’s the Spirit’s work and not our own.

And you’re so right about not trying to make heaven on earth. That’s what the Dominionists have been doing, unwittingly (?) preparing the churches for the antichrist. We always hope for revival, but this movement wants to force it. In spite of what some may think when they hear us talk about the lateness of the hour and that these things must come to pass, we work all the harder to get the gospel out and get more people to come to salvation, because the timing of the Rapture is when the full number of the Gentiles comes in.