Saturday, June 28, 2014

Tendency toward Religion

Part of the nature of human beings is the tendency to move toward systems that make life simpler and easier. (I am, by no means, against simple and easy. I am a human being after all.) So, when there is a problem, one develops a policy and a procedure. That way, when one encounters this problem, one automatically knows what to do and how to do it. There is no thinking, no evaluation, no fuss, no muss, no bother.

Also, there are no nuances. No consideration of mitigating factors. No need for grace or wisdom.

In the world of spirituality, this is the process of moving from relationship to religion. Religion can be characterized as a systematic, formalized way to interact with God.

Some churches are obvious in this. What happens at each meeting is intended to be the same .. with almost clock-like precision.

Some churches claim to be led by the Spirit in all that they do. If that's the case, how come the Spirit never says "Look! This issue is really important, so I want you to scratch the normal agenda and spend the entire meeting in prayer." I doubt that this have ever happened.

We do need to realize that God created the human nature to form habits. God designed people this way, so the habit making process is good. (Do not confuse this all habits are good ... because that's not the case.) Groups of people make habits too. Group habits are called customs or traditions. If the process of making individual habits is good, then, maybe, the process of making group habits is good. But if individuals can make bad habits, then groups can make bad habits too.

Part of being led by the Spirit is knowing when to change from what is normally done to something different, and accepting that with enthusiastic, good will.

Part of being led by the Spirit is knowing this tendency toward formality, knowing God's desire to walk in relationship, and knowing that God-ordained stuff will happen will happen to shake things up and move his family further into relationship.

NOTE: God periodically enters into life with God-ordained stuff (some of which are called revivals, renewals, or awakenings) in a special way. Heaven seems close. God's presence is tangible. Life is wonderful. People are growing, getting saved, and everyone seems extremely excited for thew things of God. Then, it all kinda fades away. One would think that this is what God wants, so why does it fade.

  • Maybe people are not designed for such intense, sustained emotional outpouring. There comes a point where it cannot be sustained. There comes a point where it becomes detrimental.
  • Maybe God has achieved everything he is intending. Any further pursuit in this direction will not have the effect he is seeking.
  • Maybe people are no longer moving where God is leading. God wants his family to go to point "F". They have progressed from "A" to "B" to "C" ... and they are enjoying "C" so much they stop there and don't move on.
  • Maybe people have begun the process of formalizing this new experience in God, and it has turned into religion. So, it loses power and becomes just another activity.

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