Monday, March 21, 2005

Leadings

I've noticed as Christian life progresses, you get to a point where there is a lot less direct leading and more providential stuff, that requires more faith to see. Often we talk about getting God's direct leading on something but God also works around us to achieve His will in our lives. I have been going through some of this, complaining about not recieving enough direct leading, but I have to have faith that God is working in my life all the time in ways I can't readily see. His providence is just as big a part in His will for us as His leading.
Now this doesn't mean you live your life based on circumstances. The point is not to fret about where God is when it seems He doesn't give any leading.
There comes a place where God, I think, wants us to begin to use the wisdom He has given us in making decisions. It is sort of like growing up. At first, your parents helped you do stuff. Then, they merely told you how to do it. Becoming more mature, they don't have to say anything because now you know (hopefully) what needs to be done, and how to do it, and how solve more complex problems that arise.
There is another aspect to this "weaning," if you will. Since God is more hands-off in much of our lives, this causes us to desire His presence more. The relationship goes from a "professional" relationship (God is directing and laboring with me) to a more "personal" relationship (God cares for and encourages me). Of course, there remain the elements of the "professional" relationship (we labor together with Christ) but our walk becomes more about who He is rather than what needs to be done for Him. This transformation is important because we will come to times in our lives where we are discouraged about what is or is not happening, but our relationship with God now transcends that.
Our obedience, instead of becoming secondary, takes on a deeper meaning as it finds a firmer foundation on the worshipful adoration of God that is now the greater aspect of our relationship with Him.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Identity Groups

"While callings give purpose, they also remove the option of choosing your own path. Don't feel left out."

Profound. There is fellowship in a calling though. Any collective provides this, yet being the anarchist rebel I am I miss out on this, save for a few. However, the fellowship of a calling is a fellowship with God. Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you. There also exists this special fellowship with God in the consciousness of any collective attempting something for Him.
I am perhaps free from all of that but unified purpose drives relationships more than anything else. There is unity, disunity, and nonunity. A pure anarchist is disunified and promotes disunity, placing a greater value on the individual. A pragmatic anarchist practices nonunity recognizing the personal and collective danger in active breakup of unity. The first step in disposing of anything is to make it irrelevant.
The anarchist is, by definition, comparatively lonely. It therefore suits everyone to find an identity group to unify with without violating conscience. If conflict is a predominant characteristic of your social sphere you cannot maintain the outside connections that not only revitalize but draw out your unique personality and its gifts. A psychological feedback occurs which distorts your emotional makeup and makes you prone to various emotional disturbances.
The key point is that you find an identity group that does not violate your conscience. An anarchist must have a social sphere in which he need not be anarchistic that is also large enough to counterbalance the conflict in that sphere where he resists.
The identity group should provide for both friend and family relationships. The one who is resistant in his own household has a much greater burden than most can bear.
An identity group WILL ALWAYS shape morals and values. While an identity group is merely the circumstantial support for values, it is the most powerful. The letter of the law alone, be it a holy book or creed, is like an autumn leaf.
An identity group is often born and/or joined because of conflict. Conflict always splits existing indentities and alliances. Some join with others and some find no rest for their foot, so to speak.
The church is an identity group. Conflict splits this group and while some remain, some are lost and some join a group with non-Christian values. If it be true that Jehovah God is the source of all truth, conflict within the church is quite literally, a nightmare scenario- a scenario that causes many who were heretofore Christians to attach themselves to identity groups that do not support the same values. In time, these will no longer appear as what they were. Whether they are what they were, only God knows.
Understanding the church as an indentity group with the support of Godly values being the chief benefit to the Christian, and understanding the deadly danger of conflict within this body, it becomes apparent what we ought to fight against, and what not to fight against. It also would be beneficial for every church assembly to identify those who have been disillusioned by conflict and seek to maintain their identity with church by a through extending of the right hand of fellowship with grace and mercy that will not allow one to fall through the cracks.
Of course this type of thing should be the "modus operandi" of the church, and should go without mention. It needs to be mentioned because of the program-centered nature of today's churches.
Anyway, the price of liberation is loneliness. This is the lot of the soul who cannot trust. "I wish someone up there will find me/till then I walk alone..."
That Someone can only be seen by those who beleive that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. AKA faith, the evidence of God who is not seen. Yet while faith does not necessarily rest upon empirical fact, it must have a model. Faith requires a conception of that which must be believed. The model given by Christ was one of a Father, and also of a Friend, among others. The living model of Christ is His bride, the church, in the manifestation of the fruits of the Spirit. We see Christ because we see Him through others.
That Someone can only be seen by those who have a model to visualize Him on. This again highlights the critical nature of the Christian's personal identity with the church body. Inasmuch as faith requires a model, faith is based upon that model; and if that model is broken how can the faith stand? If the foundations are destroyed...? This also explains difficulties with Christians who have had less than admirable fathers. A father who neglects his duties destroys the strongest model of faith the next generation can have.
In closing, the Christian should have a church assembly as an identity group because this group supports obedience to Christ (values and morals) and models Christ (building faith). A Christian whose primary identity group is outside the church body risks neglecting Christ's commands and injuring their faith. The church body at large should avoid conflict that creates changes in identity and intensively care and completely accept those who are affected by conflict. If a Christian is not reintegrated and attempts to stay in it his lot will be loneliness and a continual questioning of faith.
I have had times where I have wanted to believe there is no God. Life would be easier. But I know better.