Explanations of the threshold – my heart


“Paul …
Please if you would help me to see where your heart is.
Much love Tom”.

An extract from a comment below “Observations of the threshold – I am”

For six decades I have been around God and Jesus and The Holy Spirit and churches of all shapes and sizes.  Some of my extended family are full-time clergy.  My mum and dad spent years bringing church-life home with them.  My dad was considered outspoken by a lot of church hierarchies.  So our family has a selection of beliefs both of belief and disbelief.

This blog has charted my journey with my God and Jesus – who became God Soft Hands Jesus.  Someone I cannot fear.  Someone I cannot worship.  Not in the church-sense of those words.  Because my God has donned Batman outfits.  My God has yelled at me.  My God has lounged and sprawled with me.  My God pitched His very basic bed next to mine.  My God speaks the intimate language both of those who have belief and disbelief.  My God seems to change despite it being me who changes.  My God is constant despite me being not.  My God is real.  My bible is real.  My faith is real.

The one constant other than my God?

Good people.  Honest people.  Caring people.  People who are journeying as I am.  As my mum and dad journeyed.  As those of belief and disbelief journey still.  But for those called Christians they journey with a bible that is central to that journey.  A bible that is a road map to the narrow gate.  A bible which is also the rule book.  A rule book that used to be mostly rules but is now a book of love.  But remains a book of love that needs rules.  Rules of who can be saved and who cannot.  Of faith that is never enough.  Not for your ordinary run-of-the-mill Christian.  A book of relationship.  The needs weekly affirmation.  Corporate affirmation.  Tithing affirmation.  Behaviour affirmation.  Institutional affirmation.

Along the way I keep meeting people of belief who say something is missing.  Who say we seem more focused on socialising than much else.  Who say we really enjoy church but it is very samey.  Who cannot imagine faith without church.  Who accept church.  Who put up with church.  Who go to church their whole lives and still feel outsiders.  Who work at church and find fellowship elsewhere.  Who talk with passion of fellowship.  But never with passion of church.  Other than what church could be – should be.

I keep meeting people who have “settled” for church.  Full-time shepherds no less than church volunteers.  Scratch the surface is to find how many “settle” for what church gives in response to what they (used to) have to offer.  I see a “settling” for religious-faith (which requires knowing where faith leads).  I see church(es) preaching inclusivity by excluding those they cannot agree should be included.  I see churches preaching love yet driven by selected fragments of Old Testament law because “the bible says so”.

Like slavery.  Like dietary restrictions,  Like sacrificial blood-letting.  Like all the rules we deem ourselves better than.  More humane than.  Yet we continue to keep tight hold of the ones we don’t want to dump.  And dump those we inclusively exclude in the name of love.

I have met people here who talk freely.  Who are accepted.  Yet I rarely met those people in church(es).  For as long as I can remember it seemed that the service of church required one to pretend.  To always be okay.  To be coping.  And I have always found that talking about a living and loving relationship with God Soft Hands Jesus makes church(es) uncomfortable.  My dad found the same four decades ago.

This threshold – this doorway – I see as an institutional reality.  When you settle for second-best, it is part of the package.  When you settle for faith that needs to know the answer, it is part of the same package.  And when that “package” results in a tradition of fear of intimacy (with the most benevolent being I know) – that makes me weep.

But challenging this settled-for tradition is always met with “don’t rock the boat”.  Along with a defensive counter-attack that this new style of church service has seen three new families … That this other style of new church service has this one chap who never comes to any other …  And that if I actually attended I would see for myself how much is changing.

Guilt and Fear.  Don’t rock the boat.

These are the same people who say they have settled for second best over the years.  Who can still feel an outsider after decades.  Who talk about the institution of church(es)  and the expected demise of the institution in years to come.

“Paul … Please if you would help me to see where your heart is.”

Tom, my heart struggles.  When I snuggle with the bride of Christ I feel like I am settling for second best.  When I voice that struggle I feel guilty for not being “loving enough”.  And all the time I keep meeting those of faith(s) or no faith(s) who live and love without all “the strings attached”.  Who love because that is who they are.  Not because that is what they have been told to be.  People who have faith that something or someone will “take care of the details” – who don’t need to have agreement before taking a first step.

But mostly my heart struggles because I believe that to follow my God is not about saving people.  I believe that talking and walking the walk is about love.  Of God and of me and of you no less than me.  Which brings me back to my dilemma with the bible.  And what we seem to have made the bible.  My own imagery?  A “religious taser”.

Which brings me full circle back to fear and yesterday’s post.

I believe that it should not be this way.  I now believe there is no doorway or threshold.  That the  spiritual world is not scary.  Not when you know GSHJ is stronger.  I believe that hearing God speak is not scary.  Not when you know GSHJ.  And I believe that giving my life to God is not a biggie.  Not when I know God Soft Hands Jesus like I know GSHJ.

I desire that we cease teaching those of belief and disbelief that those of belief serve a God of rules.  That we cease teaching that being rewarded is the reason why those of belief serve. And we cease teaching fear of the consequences of that serving.  For that is to teach a God that is to be feared.

A God equipped with a deadly taser.

 

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3 thoughts on “Explanations of the threshold – my heart

  1. I want try to respond to each thing you said Paul. Instead if you will allow I will share with you my thinking as the way the Lord has laid it on my heart. I will say to you I am a follower of Christ Jesus. I follow him and nothing else. Not man because if I follow man then I do him a injustice. I will always have expectations from man and after all since man is fallen and therefore broken he will disappoint ,offend, and hinder my journey with the Holy Spirit to be more like Jesus. Jesus is my mark. Nothing else is relevant to me. Not even me. If I take my eyes off of him even for a bit, because I am in a fallen world my vision of the world around me becomes out of focus and distorted. I will say up front. The Holy Bible is Gods ,Spirit inspired word and is the truth and my guide while I am here on this fallen and sin filled earth.

    God chose to redeem me and save my soul for eternity. I did not choose him. He found me and called me to him. Had he not. I would not have came to him and would have been lost or unsaved as you said for eternity. Instead I chose to hear his call to come to him and be saved. To me based on God’s word that means God wants to have not just a relationship with me but fellowship with me. That will require change in my life that I cannot achieve except by the Spirit of God. Remember my eyes are on him still, my heart is turned towards the Holy Spirit and what he reveals and say’s.

    Jesus as one objective with me and one only and only Jesus can or will get it done. That is to create in me his image. Jesus desires to change my flesh sin filled broken body into Himself fully and completely . The old man is dead and the new man has risen.

    In order for Jesus to do this He will work with the Holy Spirt actually they will ,The Father Son and Holy Spirit will all work together to bring about my transformation into Christ Jesus. When the grain on the wheat has reached full maturity I will put in my sickle and reap the harvest. My bride is ready to wed.

    Here is where some Christians get confused. God left the good wheat in the field with the bad weeds,(tares) not to disturb the good wheat but that they would grow up strong and a mature head of grain baring much fruit. we are the good wheat that has chosen to follow Jesus. He is our Gardner and is tending us, fertilizing us and nurturing us. He will not remove the weeds lest he damage us. But he will use them to make us like himself. For daily we will take up our crosses on this earth and follow Christ and experience all the brokenness and sin filled world that he did.

    The questions are will we follow him, will we remain broken and in need of him, will we be workable soil, will we mature into a spotless bride ready for that great reunion in the sky, will we mature and produce much fruit,will we take our cross daily and follow Jesus. For are not the ones in our congregations broken also and in need as we are. If they become to difficult for us to live the life of Christ in front of them and we cannot interned for them then how can we expect Jesus to intercede for us as he does 24-7 365 days a year forever and never grows weary or tired.

    Will we not stand in the gap for those Christian brothers and sisters who need our prayers and live the life of Christ before them that God has revealed to us in his word and spirit. If we cannot love and pray for the brother and sister how will we love the lost that does not know God.I it not our place to follow are we not sheep in need of a Shepard.

    When we lose our way we cannot hear his voice calling come us out of the world and come to me. The world does not know you. (I came to divide). I need to yield to the Holy Spirt of God and keep my eyes on him and my heart turned towards him lest I sin against him. Why would I do this? because He first loved me. How do I know that? Because He dwells within me.

    Where do I find Jesus? All around me. Where will I look? The broken and sick, the needy and downcast and undesirables . Yes even in the broken saints of God, the pastor, bishop,elder,deacon,choir director,sunday school teacher, usher, and greeter. All have need of God.

    Paul often these folks lose their way and cannot hear anymore. They have lost fellowship and only have a far off relationship. They are to busy. They move to fast for God to speak to them. Others have slowed down and God can speak to them. They are reading his Holy word and seeking him everywhere they go. They have their eyes and heart upon him. It is sad and challenging to live in a broken world where I am broken also and daily I take up my cross. Without Jesus and the Holy Spirit, I could never make it. I trust God Paul. I have a great faith in him to see me through, in spite of me. He has been faithful to me and promised he would always be there.

    I believe that is why some can live without doors and thresholds and rules. Why their eyes are on him instead of rules and thresholds. Why they can love and trust him and live. Its the countenance they have on their faces that comes from their hearts, from knowing Jesus and his love for them. I pray they share that love with all mankind for they have need of it. Even if they do not realize it.

    My prayer is my letter helped to encourage you to stay the course with Jesus. It’s tough, but he will equip and keep you. If it was easy he would have given it to the angels those fearsome beings. Instead he gave it to us broken men and women.I pray for wisdom, clarity and a even greater realization of the love God has for you. That the Holy Spirit would strengthen you and guide you and you would become even more of a fervent man of prayer and studier of God’s Holy word ,for there are all the keys to his heart. Lastly that the Lord will use you to reach many, many souls for him and that the kingdom of God would be manifested through you every single time you encounter someone.

    All my love Tom

    PS Thanks Paul for helping me to understand your heart.

    • Tom, thank you. From the heart, the head and the great connection of the soul. Thank you.

      You have reminded how wonderfully different we all are. How beautifully diverse. And how “the word” can mean one thing to one, and another to another one. And yet that causes a Babel even today. We are so different we see, hear and speak the same – but not the same.

      Reading your wonderful words I found myself nodding in agreement time after time. And yet I find myself swept along more and more into the “room I prepare for you” – a room that fist me perfectly. A room He is inviting me to inhabit way ahead of what I thought was “my time”. A time – I thought – after I take my last breath. A time of meeting Him in the heavenly garden. And yet …

      I am finding that was my own imposition. That was my own interpretation. I am finding that my room is already there and available – even whilst I remain here on earth. I am finding being of One less and less a struggle, and more and more like “home”.

      And then I try and describe it. Then I try and hear Him describe it. And I hear Him invite me to describe it. And the words make perfect sense to me. But not to others. To others I sound like I am leaving His embrace and walking on my own.

      Yet to me I am drawing every closer. To a place where what made sense yesterday doesn’t today. Where the foundation stones of my yesterday are simply the “hover pack rides” of today. Where the language of yesterday doesn’t “do it” today.

      And yet …

      Unless I am in the wrong house, unless I am hearing the wrong words, unless I have walked away from Him … I hear Him inviting me closer, inviting me to share the journey, to write with language that makes perfect sense to me. I hear Him inviting me to describe a place where religion does not exist. Where hate does not exist. Where mistakes can never happen. Where words are discretionary. Where living is in the moment but of the past and the future.

      And like riding a bike for the first time, like that freedom of the wheels spinning ever faster, like the joy of the wind I create … No one could ever have made me want to do that. No one would ever have got me on that bike for the first time. I remember being terrified. I remember not wanting to do it. I remember needing reassurance after reassurance. Until I was flying. And then I could not imagine NOT riding a bike! And now I find riding a bike is how many others – who also fly – don’t fly. My bike is not “it” for them. My bike is just one way.

      But … I see so many who have yet to “fly”. Who cannot ever imagine “flying”. Who have been taught that “this is as good as it gets”. Have been taught that “I go to prepare a room for you” comes after. After the grind of sticking with it. After the disappointment and struggles. After this life ceases.

      And I think He has in mind that I reflect that room back. That the smell of heaven is for now not then. That love without condition is within our grasp right now. It’s just I have had to shed so much “stuff” to get even here. So many beliefs. So many assumptions. So much “correct thinking”.

      I remember the headstone you carved and created. It is beautiful. It is beyond reason. The pictures described what words could not. Words were not necessary. The picture said it all. You said it all without one word. And you never knew then what anyone else would hear. Whether they would hear the words you felt.

      I think that is what He is trying to do with me right now. Just with words rather than pictures.

      And thank you for your gift.

      I wonder … did you just prompt some pictures I never knew He had available in me?

      Paul
      ((hugs))

  2. Jesus said his greatest desire was that we would become of one mind( Us followers of Christ) Some are getting close, others still have a way to go. Its amazing how they bring out the imperfection in us that are thinking I made it. I have arrived. Some of those folks are pastors and leaders in our congregations . Although you could never convince them. They have a education, knowledge of the mind, just no heart knowledge (application) . That is where those that are more like Christ his followers, those willing to intercede that have a fervent prayer life come in. Like Jesus they will intercede for those who need to come along more. I thank God for those that intercede and pray for me and encourage and place hope in my life. It is the Spirits job to bring about change not mine. I simply yield he does the work and gets the glory. No man could change me. If he did it wouldn’t last. Christ gives a lasting change. I look at this point. Peace my brother for the kingdom of God has drawn nigh to you today. That kingdom is manifested through us. If we allow. We are safe in the masters arms yet we must go out. We are compelled to do so.

    Blessings my friend

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