Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I can't go on until I talk to you about Ms. Spirituality


"With friends like these, who needs enemies?"

O.K. bible study friends. I am having a super hard time writing this post. And I know I am a week behind... but that is because I did not know where to begin. But I cannot move forward until I deal with this.

I have been chewing this in my mind... a lot! Chapter five in our study "Behind Those Eyes" by Lisa Whittle has me dead in the water. Ms. Spirituality... Ms. "Faux Spirituality"... has me all up in a tizzy.

And, to be honest, I can't stop thinking about her.

But it is maybe not in the way you think.

I have sooo many thoughts, and I would just love to blurt them all out, but instead: Jesus is whispering to me to calm down, and instead, record the very questions that He has been asking me to ask myself. So, I will try to be faithful to that task.

First, let me introduce you to Ms. Spirituality: Lisa writes, "...being spiritual is a full time job to Ms. Spirituality. She works hard at it, and she takes her job very seriously. Now don't get me wrong, some of the things that Ms. Spirituality does are worthy causes and are certainly pleasing to God. The point is not that Ms. Spirituality does these things, rather, why she does these things. Remember, it's all in the performance, not in the act itself. It's a role that is played when it is deemed necessary to impress someone, yet it holds no real depth whatsoever."

and,"we must remember that the goal of Ms. Spirituality is how her spiritual self looks to others, not how it may actually be."

O.K. Here goes...

Before I share my heart. Please know... I am not good at beating around the bush. Please forgive me for that. Also, please know, that I do not believe that this is where Lisa was going with this chapter... but nuggets of it fired up these thoughts in me. Lisa continues to do a wonderful job exhorting us to draw closer to God, be authentic to OURSELVES, and not concern ourselves with others judgements... just God's.

In general, this chapter made me fired up. It pushed a button that has been a pesky and sad one to me, and it is one that God has been really showing me a lot lately. And the button is this:
While Lisa was encouraging us to examine the Ms. Spirituality we might find in ourselves.... this chapter sparked a reminder in me of something that has been bothering me within our own Christian community. I fear that we are plagued with full-on judging of other's spiritual salvation... It is as we are caught in the trap of examining the question: "Are they Christian enough???"

As Christians in America, we are knee-deep in a "clique" mentality: We are convinced we can determine who is saved, and who is not. We are just itching to decide who is IN and who is OUT. And it is NOT our job. It is NOT our job. It belongs to God, and God alone to decide who is IN and who is OUT! Our job description can be found in Matthew 28-20. Yet, Somehow... we have made a profession out of deciding who is IN with God, and who is OUT with God. We seem to think we have other people's hearts all figured out, and we just know their "fruit."

I am going to proceed with the rest of this post in question format, because I too have been, and continue to be caught guilty of playing the Pharisetical role. So, here are some questions, bizarre but true, that God has been poking me with:

-There is no formula for being "saved." Am I acting like there is one?

-Am I acting like I know someone's heart for God? Because I don't. No matter what.

-Do I believe that, in order to be a true Christian, someone has to belong to a certain political party?

-Do I believe that most people in traditional churches do not have a heart for God?

-Do I believe that Ms. Spirituality holds "no real depth whatsoever?" How on earth would I know what she cries out to God at night??

-Do I believe that I can tell if someone is "saved" by his/her "fruit"? Is it possible, that since I am not God, I am not interpreting this "fruit" correctly/fully/with the whole story?

-Do I harbor hatred toward unbelievers? Athiests? Democrats? Republicans?(yes, I went there.)

-Do I believe that people who were baptised as babies, go to church every Sunday, and then don't talk about God all week are unsaved? It is one thing to exhort their relationship with God... it is another to judge their eternal place in heaven...

-Could it be possible, that the little old lady who comes to a traditional church, every Sunday, dressed to the nines, pursed lips, hates those 'big screens', loves only the old hymns, and is kinda cantankerous.... could it be possible that she LOVES Jesus Christ?

-Do you think you know who is IN and who is OUT??

Oh, Lord, have mercy on me.

Lisa shares a quote from Erwin McManus, and this part stood out to me: "It's easier to run a religion if you can standardize everything, including the people. Religion, after all, has become one of history's most powerful tools for controlling people."

Sad, but true, Jesus never meant it this way...

Sometimes, however, I fear that in our efforts to avoid this 'powerful tool for controlling people'- called Religion, we have swung the pendulum too far the other way....deeming all "religious" people as hiding behind a "stained-glass masquerade":

When I first heard the song by Casting Crowns, "Stained Glass Masquerade," it infuriated me. Yes. That is right. It made me so mad I could spit. .."Religion" is NOT a four letter word, people!!!! All I can think is this:

"With friends like this, who needs enemies?"

I have never actually met a "shiny, plastic person" who hides in a "stained-glass masquerade." I have never actually met "Ms. Spirituality". Why???? Because I don't really know who anyone truly is on the inside. Only God does... Only God knows the heart.

Folks, if we continue to judge, talk nasty about, pigeon-hole, and belittle the people who sit in the stained glass pews.... we are injuring our own team. Will we even need an enemy? Are we willing to build-up the people on our own team?? Are we one body in Christ? Or are we a high school clique??????????

The choice is ours

Am I IN or am I OUT?
Jesus knows.


against my better judgement, I am going to click "publish post" now.

6 friends had a thing or two to say...:

Tessa said...

Darlene,

If I "got you" on this post, I took away that we need to make sure that we are not being "Ms. Spirtuality" ... and at the same time, not concern ourselves with judging or even determining if someone else is. God will take care of that! For me, it is difficult to see someone who calls themselves a Christian, doing something that I totally disagree with .. and according to the Bible, so does Jesus. That is so hard! I have struggled with watching these things occur right before my eyes, and no one saying anything to the person. Whether it is greed, cohabitation, or outward selfishness ... I struggle with knowing that they are identifying themselves with Jesus and yet doing something that He totally disagrees with. However, as we have already established, it is not our job to deal with their "stuff" ... God has it covered.

Darlene said...

That is so true! and so well said, Tessa. God does have it covered, and he will take care of it.
I guess my main beef with judging Ms. Spirituality is the idea that somehow we can decifer someone's heart, or someone's journey... when that is only God's job. I often feel insinuations from the Christian community that somehow we should be able to decifer whether or not someone is "saved," when only God knows the heart.
And, my final frustration that I shared in the post has to do with the "slamming" of traditional religion as a whole, by a few of the more contemporary believers/churches/Christian bands, etc.
It is so hard to truly share your heart in a post, isn't it?
There is not enough time to explain all that you really mean!

nothingcanseparateme said...

Darlene,

Some great thoughts...no we shouldn't "judge" people as far as if they are saved but like Tessa said when they are doing things and living a life outside of God's word and commandments I become very cautious. This is hard because we are all sinners. I just try to love and encourage people where they are at and if the opportunity comes up to direct them to God's word on an issue I do.

I love your passion in this post!

blessings,
Kim

Wife to the Rockstar said...

Thanks for a great post. I am a huge Erwin McManus fan (have read all his books). His quote is so true.

Christine Lynn said...

I agree, none of us should judge, yet is it judging when we confront one aonther? I sometimes think that confrontation is confused with judgement. We are to hold one another accountable. Was Nathan judging King David, or confronting him? Because David was a man after God's own heart, he repented of his sin, when Nathan came to him. David went to the temple and fell on the floor and begged God's forgiviness. Nathan confronted David and God judged him and took the life of he and Bathshebas child. In some ways I think we do need to speak up if we see something in someone that may indeed be holding them back from heaven...I think the silence is something Satan would like us to be. But I am with you, no, we are not to judge others. Hope I made sense...you are so right, hard to type out!...lol

Mindy Mehaffey said...

I really appreciate your thoughts about the subject. I'm glad that you "went against your better judgement" and published this post. It has really helped me open my eyes examine my own (self-righteous) thoughts about people in my own Christian family. Thank you for the encouragement.