How do I put out a fire? One way is with loads of water. Or perhaps loads on non-oxygen. Or perhaps loads of foam. Or perhaps bashing the flames to ever smaller bits until they flame no more. Or perhaps letting anything combustible burn until there is no more combustible to combust.
If we are indeed armies of war spiritually what might the strategies of the enemy be?
“How then shall we bring them to their knees?”
One strategy might be full frontal assault. Loads of hassle and dissent. Loads of trouble and tribulation. Assault on buildings, on morality, on finances, on membership. Massive press coverage of “guess what they really think … really do … really are (when they think no one is watching).”
Another might be to allow size of church to get ever bigger and bigger until there are no more to add. Because with size usually comes internal implosion. Seen in empires, in huge corporates, in government, and in church. Let the beast burn itself out.
Another might be to splinter bits and pieces into ever smaller fragments. To allow intimacy and proximity to cause bitterness and isolation. To encourage in-fighting. And out-walking. Another non-denomination denomination of decreasing numbers and resource.
“Now apply all three.”
I have seen number one. I have seen abuse enquiries and safeguarding scandals going back over decades. The church coming clean in exactly the same way as other secular organisations. And still tainted.
I have seen number two. Mega churches in the news and never for the best of reasons. Envy and “how do I get a piece of the action” from those watching. And then “woof” … implosion. Mega is not the answer.
Number three is my weakness. Getting close and personal only to find close and personal is a double-edged sword. The more I give the more I expect – if not back to me – then at least from others (who should agree with me). “AAAARGGHH!” (when no one is looking)
Is that really “spiritual warfare”?
Or might it be me and me alone that could be the cause? Not a case of sin and envy and all that “but what can I do – Adam and Eve left me this legacy” and more a case of “in this world and of it”. Maybe a case of “I volunteer, I come out week after week, I don’t ask for much – but even that you take from me.” Or a case of “I have been doing this for years and have accepted that this in not where I get fellowship and worship and fulfillment – and so should you.” And the perennial “shut up and carry your cross.” As I carry mine right out of there and find somewhere else to put it down.
Is that pride, and if so – whose pride? Is that anger – and whose anger (the one suppressed or the one un-suppressed)? Is that honesty (or suppressed dishonesty)? Is that love – and if so – how?
And why “when two to three gather together in my name” do I so often not make space for “the name” that (we all say) draws us together?
I am not sure I need an enemy.
Because if I am at war spiritually – who exactly am I at war with?