I had the oddest dream-wake the other night. The fact it was a dream-wake means it is not biblical or prophetic. Just setting the context of where this next bit came from because usually the shower is where this kind of stuff happens.
The Garden of Eden. That was the setting.
We each get God at some point. Pure and simple. No strings attached. An outpouring of love both ways. It is what it is. Perfect. That was the parallel.
That tree. The serpent. Adam and Eve. God. Consequences. That was centre-stage.
How after getting God we get “stuff”. We get “church”. We get compromise. We get “study”. we get “knowledge”. We get “hierarchy”. We get shame. That was the parallel.
Then the dream-wake whispers …
How we read the bible and everything focuses on “sin”. We get “sin” and that changes everything. We get “knowledge” and that changes everything again. The simple joy of “getting God” is tarnished. And has nothing to do with sin. And everything to do with us. With church.
A church wherein the bible is used to defend or attack one ism or ology against another. Where tradition and change meet head to head. Where the bible is used daily to judge who is right and who is wrong. Used as the serpent did … sowing doubts and insurrection … hurling justification and supposition … gorging on right and wrong … feeding pride and more pride …
Where calling-out “the biblically incorrect” has become a noisy marketplace … where being biblically correct outweighs love every time … For that defends the church and God! Can you not see these as the false teachers they are (read your – biblically correct – bible).
I think more and more that we use sin as we use the bible because sin and the bible is useful. Sin distances us from “us”. Sin is not our fault. Means we rock-up to God in whatever way we choose and say sorry – and sin goes away (until it comes back again). And the bible says so!
And then this …
I was left with the clear sense that we do this to ourselves. We ARE the serpent whispering. We ARE the tree of knowledge. We create SHAME. We use SIN. We use the BIBLE. We put out the fire in ourselves and each other.
We each have this moment of pure love – and then we put out the fire – we all make each other doubt – we all seek The Garden … when WE are the reason we are not already and now “The Garden”.
My own personal faith – my own moment of undiluted and pure outflowing love … A moment so quickly dismissed – so soon became “silly”.
And I was a willing party to that …
I wanted to become a Mature Christian. I didn’t want to be an Immature Christian. I wanted to fit in and be heard. I wanted to change things for God but to do that I had to be able to change things in church. And church is like moving an elephant by the tail! Church has shareholders who expect a dividend on their expenditure. Those who tithe are protected and retained.
And church has the called. Those who have invested their lives and families and future in a career with benefits. Church cannot run on chaos. Church needs stability, control and predictability. That is how institutions are effective. That is the business model.
Which might be why Jesus came and went so quickly. Left the job undone. Left so many questions unanswered. I wonder why we spend a lifetime not seeming to make any difference at all. And I wonder if that is because we need to see a result, need to see closure. Except that wasn’t “the model” left by Jesus.
I think we like “models” – so long as they suit what we want. I think we like the bible – so long as it continues to provide ammunition for anything we think “Godly”.
But I just want one thing. I want that fire back. That simple pure fire of love. A love not interested in why. A love not contained by what. A love that was. And still is.
My dream-wake is not important.