In my life I like to reconsider where I am and what got me here. I am here because I left another time and another place, rather literally. I’ve known what it is to move around a little bit, live in a new house, new address, new town, and smile your way through it. Several years ago, I moved home to the land of my brothers. It was time to change my scenery again. Honestly I came “home” in broken up and confused internal state of being. I certainly didn’t hid it perfect well, my disappointments and failures were known, and those around me noticed it well enough to label me as non-Christian, or fallen, or such things. I didn’t really mind at the time. I wasn’t happy with the whole program anyways. I’d come from the disillusions of an exhausted Christianity that was found wanting still. I’d learn all there was to learn. I’d done ministry. I’d failed ministries. I been known; I’d been ignored. I’d been played by the synthetic church-systematized machine and left out in dumps to find my way home… whatever and wherever that was.
God and I were at difficult place. We still acknowledge each other (so the speak), but I wasn’t really sure about the true character of God …and church systems & programs made me less & less sure. I made the inglorious move of vacating the buildings. I caught some hell for it (and still do). But I couldn’t scour through the synthetic to find enough air of truth. It was suffocating and I was totally willing to take hell over artificial perfection, which was indigestible to my soul.
I was really upset about how Christian represented God, and I couldn’t come to grips of who God was. I severed our relationship down to understanding God as Creator. I severed prayers to midnight debates. I severed the scriptures down to minimalist the Gospels only. I was definitely waiting on God to prove something. I didn’t know what but something.
Slowly I went from God only being the Creator to understanding that any creator is an artistic and even personal being. Personal remind me that the Holy Spirit is consider to be our counselor and friend, and I wasn’t going to deny that… we had some good times together in our past. Then Jesus… this was difficult. I mean, if someone wants to be Christian, as opposed to being Jewish or something else, Jesus is a necessity, but all these people who were this title of Christian (as comes from the naming Jesus Christ) really just weren’t what seemed to express Jesus. As a matter of fact, most of these people couldn’t quote Jesus some much as 5 quotes from Jesus. I heard about what St. Paul said, but Jesus was a foreign to his own religion.
Nonetheless… if Jesus matters so much, he’d have to prove it. I absorbed myself solely in the Gospel books which held the accounts of Jesus’ life, teaching, and story. No one else got a say one what this “Christianity” thing was about. It was me and Jesus going toe to toe, eye to eye. If Jesus couldn’t provide a legitimate Christianity then I was done here.
It wasn’t an over night process. Really it felt like it took forever. I had always liked Jesus before, but this Christianity stuff is so synthetic, that I serious couldn’t tell opinion from truth from ignorance. So there we were 8 months in the Gospels, over & over & over again. It took a few months to read it without Christianity-evangelical-super-filter interfering with what the words & stories were actually trying to convey. …a few painful months.
Somewhere along the line, it started to come through. I remembered that familiar silhouette of the Good Shepherd I’d heard about as a little kid. The one who likes kids, who care about the little guy, who has time for those who don’t even get recognized as important, the Good Shepherd who goes out and finds that one little straggly sheep. I remembered him. I still liked him. We began a new sort of relationship.
I realized Christianity is a religious culture didn’t have a lot of Jesus to offer, just to be really honest. To spend so much time solely in the Gospel books and just continuous read about Jesus over and over and over again. I notice a lot of things that I really loved about Jesus. Things that were lost to the systematic machine that calls itself “church”. I realized by following the rules and regulations of man-made traditions I nearly lost an age-old friendship, and the devastation of all of this has never faded to this day.
After months in just the Gospel books of the Bible, I knew I’d eventually have to step out and test the rest of the waters. I knew if Jesus could be real in the Gospels, then he’d have to be everywhere. They God that Jesus teaches of would have to be everywhere. I’d barely back to a reasonable relationship with Jesus and I knew I’d have to keep putting this thing to the test. I tip toed to the Wisdom books for a brief wandering, and then a plunged straight into the Prophet books, and then the History books. I avoided the most of the New Testament scriptures for a year or better because of the irrational abuses which we derived from them. I fell in love with the Old Testament and I made it my new home.
People had lied to me. They told me the Old Testament was scary, and that God was mean & cranky in the Old Testament. But I did find that. Spending 8 months in the Gospel books only made the Old Testament books all the sweeter. It brought beautiful tears that healed many relationship issues I’d been having with God, and it continued to unburden me from the man-made church traditions. I found God, and he was beautiful.
After a year and half or two years, I finally read not just the New Testament again, but Paul. Poor sweet St Paul had been so misrepresented by the church that I didn’t want to read him ever again, but I had too. It took Peter giving his recommendation to Paul before I even considered it (2 Peter 3:14-18).
These saints in the Bible were like old friends to me. I’ve grown up with the stories and scriptures from the smallest age, but I lost most of that when I realized how synthetic the church system is. If I’d not been willing to know truth and dig, I would have lost it all. I wouldn’t have realized how abused the Bible is in the hands of well meaning moralist people.
Unfortunately I can’t ever just leave things be. I had to know truth. I was willing to take the cost and condemnation. Precious friendships don’t just get thrown away and forgotten forever. Truth doesn’t just get thrown away and forgotten forever. There is a compelling need for more than man-made traditions and good-on-paper doctrine. To sacrifice Jesus to the modern Christianity is way too much to pay for a little hope and sparse community. Give me Jesus and keep your religion to yourself.
I need truth.