Sunday, August 03, 2008
Often the predictability that is offered in organizations especially within the religious ones is something that deeply appeals to our need for a sense of control in our lives, but is that living, or existing?
I’m putting together some thoughts on this matter taken from my friend Bill Landon that he has made available in his book, The Life That is Real Life.
And some of these thoughts are in my opinion tied in with and addressing some of the lengthy conversations taking place over at With Unveiled Face-I’m Still Lookin’…
In trying to keep things visually clear I will delineate what Bill has to say by italicizing his quotes and leave my thoughts in there original font.
One of my favorite sayings from the Scriptures is, “In Him we live, move and have our being”, the life of the Father is alive, active and it wants to fully animate us in ways we have yet to experience.
The life of God is active and moving. There is no way we can pin down God’s life or codify it in a static teaching. Just when we think we have God all mapped out and nailed down He disappears and pops up in another place and form. Organizations, as static entities simply do not have the flexibility or mobility to keep up with a living God. We must remember that organizations themselves are not living entities. However, they do take on a kind of life. The kind of life organizations have is a “dead life.” A dead life is an existence. Organizations exist but they do not grow and move moment by moment.
Most religious organizations are proud of how long they preserved their traditions. This in the end, is the purpose of religious denominations: To preserve a tradition, not to grow and spontaneously live.
I especially like these thoughts Bill shared; The most frightening thing about a living relationship with the Father is its spontaneous nature. After we clear the hurdle of experiencing God’s love firsthand we must confront this challenge. I know that God loves me and does not seek my destruction but rather my ultimate good. Unfortunately, I do not know what constitutes “ultimate good.” Only the Father knows the ultimate of anything. This makes my relationship with the Father unpredictable.
It is important to note here that the unpredictable nature of living relationship with the Father does not arise out of any changing nature of the Father. The Father is unchanging and this is the rock upon which we all stand. (Hebrews 13:8) The problem is that we know nothing of ultimate realities. In this, we must live by trusting the unfailing love of the Father. You cannot have a living relationship with the Father and at the same time demand to never be surprised. This is a result of both our limited knowledge and God’s sovereignty. We must accept a changing life condition because we are not yet completely made into the fullness God intends for us. (1John 3:2)
It is for the purpose of introducing predictability into our living that we establish religious organizations and the doctrines that define them. A doctrine sets bounds and parameters on life and our relationship with the Father. The reality, however, is that the Father is boundless. Our relationship with Him is also boundless. Any attempt to doctrinalize God or our relationship with Him is therefore doomed to failure. The Father’s desire for all of us is that we will live in boundless relationship with Him. It is only in this way that God can fully be God in our life. It is only in this way that we can fully experience the life that is real life.
On the flip side; people, in many cases cling to organizations because these institutions are predictable. The religious organizations of men offer a solid, unchanging, predictable routine. With an organization I know what is expected of me. I can plan out fifty weeks or fifty years ahead. Unfortunately, in life the only things that never change are God as the base of all life and the things that are dead. Not a plant or animal or any other thing in the living world remains the same—if it is alive. Life is a changing condition. We may not like this reality but we will have to come to some level of acceptance of it because it is true.