Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Poisoned Perceptions

The saddest consequence of the effect of organization on Christians is that it poisons our perception of God's working in other peoples lives. We see this in the organizational church leadership's violent rejection of our decision to go on in growth with God. The leadership, of course, does not see the situation this way.The church leadership does not see our awakening as a work of God. The failure of the leaders to see their response as opposition to God is the result of their being poisoned by institutional thinking. The leadership sees our growth as inappropriate, because it does not fit within the bounds of conventional organizational church thinking. This is the same thing Jesus ran into (and illustrated) in healing on the Sabbath. (Mark 3:5)Here is a classic example of people limited by their organizational thinking. A miracle of healing has just occurred in the people's midst. A long period of suffering in a person's life has been relieved. But what is the response of the religious Establishment? The leadership looks for some way to kill Jesus (Mark 3:6).

We tend to think of "the world" as all the parts of our culture apart from the things we traditionally see as sacred, such as the institutional church. In the scriptures, however, we see that the institutional church is another world institution. As it turns out, the organizational church is the most intense opponent to the free expression of Christ as our daily life: (Matthew 12:14).It is quite understandable that the church's opposition to the Christ-life would have the most intense reaction of any of the world institutions. It is the church as an institution that is most threatened by the freedom in Christ.The lessons of the Pharisees and elders plotting to kill Christ has little to do with the first century Jewish religious establishment. This illustration is the more general lesson of the opposition of organized religion to the Christ-life.

We will do well to keep in mind the depth of the deception these first century religious leaders had fallen into. All the time they are discounting Jesus' miracles and trying to kill Him, they are proclaiming their total commitment to protecting God's traditions and honor.


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