I’m reading a book called “Breathing Under Water” by Richard Rohr. He writes:
“Jesus himself always went where the pain was. Jesus was concerned about it now and its healing now. We tend to push it all off into a future reward system for those who were ‘worthy’. As if any of us are. Most of our garbage is buried in the unconscious. So it is absolutely essential that we find a spirituality that reaches to that hidden level. If not, nothing really changes. We’d rather keep doing over and over what isn’t working than allow God any win-win victory. Grace is always a humiliation for the ego (the flesh) it seems. At that level, organized religion is no longer good news for most people. So many people are leaving the church ( inserted the meetings for this context) perhaps because we failed to give them the good news they desired, needed and expected.”
I’m becoming increasingly aware of how shallow the teachings of the workers are, and I include myself in this as well. I know that sounds harsh but hear me out. I write that because we didn’t talk about the real good news people wanted. Yes, people definitely need to hear the good news about salvation, but even when someone did invite Jesus into their heart, we couldn’t give them the good news that they were indeed saved. Instead, it fell into that future reward system Rohr writes about above.
We also didn’t tell people about God’s help for their inner pain; their hurts, their fears, their doubts, struggles, addictions possibly. Instead, we lead people to believe that we simply shouldn’t have those issues. They don’t exist in the heart/mind/life of a professing person with real faith, right? And, if perchance they did/do, God isn’t interested in that part of our lives! HELP us all!
Rohr goes on to write about Christians and clergy and mistakes they make: (and it fits the meeting system as well)
“Their religion has never touched them or healed them at the unconscious level where all the real motivation, hurts, unforgiveness, anger, wounds and illusions are stored, hiding, and often fully operative. They never went to the ‘inner room’ where Jesus invited us, and where things hid ‘secretly’. Christians are usually sincere and well-intentioned people until you get to any real issues of ego (flesh), control, power, money, pleasure, and security. Then they tend to be pretty much like every body else. We often gave them a bogus version of the Gospel without any deep transformation of the self, and the result has been the spiritual disaster of ‘Christian’ countries that tend to be as consumer oriented, proud, warlike, racist, class conscious and addictive as anybody else.”
He wrote about people being Catholic because they were Italian, Spanish or Irish, not because they had any vital spiritual experience that changed their lives. Just like people go to meetings because their parents or grandparents did/do. “Gospel people need to do their honest inner work. THEN they are eating from the very rich and nutritious ‘marrow of the Gospel’.
One last quote on this subject:
“When religion does not give people a rich inner life or a real prayer life, it is missing its primary vocation. Many Christians whittle down the great Gospel to some moral issue over which they can feel totally triumphant and superior about, and which usually asks nothing of them personally.”
Isn’t that why the Exclusitivity Doctrine (you have to profess in order to go to heaven) is so popular? Or why they focus on the ministry and the meeting in the home so much, thus avoiding the weightier matters? Where are the real life tools that the Gospel definitely offers? Why weren’t those being openly talked about and promoted? Because you can’t promote/teach/endorse what you haven’t experienced yourself….at least not successfully. Because they were so set on only talking about “spiritual” issues and not “natural” issues, when in reality, the “natural” issues totally 100% affect your “spiritual” issues. In fact, they ARE your spiritual issues.
I know I never had that depth of experience while in the meetings. The argument will be that this was never meant to be an intellectual experience and not only for the wise, and I agree. However, the intellectual has a wealth to share with both the wise and the simple. God himself has a depth we will never be able to fathom but I sure want to do my best to try, knowing I will only tap the surface at best. People who have studied far deeper than I have and then share their studies with the world are extremely valuable. I prayed all the time in the beginning of my search for more truth that I would be discerning and if something was written or heard that wasn’t in line with God’s Word, that I would recognize that. Because that prayer was 100% sincere with no ill motive, I then chose to believe God would answer it and not let me be deceived.
When I was in the Work, we never had allowable access to Christian authors, Bible commentaries, or even other translations except for the KJV. I have often said that if I knew then what I know now about what is out there, it would have SO exciting to study for meetings! And there would have been an endless source of inspiration to share. Maybe some of the workers are using some of that information today….I hope so! I doubt they would be supported by most of the other workers for doing so, but they would be sharing NEW BREAD and FRESH BREAD.
So many people are leaving the meetings because they are longing for something real, something fresh, something RELEVANT. The workers need to look at that issue and look at what is no longer working. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, but we humans are ever learning and catching up, so, of course we will be evolving more and more. Understanding more and more. If we aren’t, something is wrong. The Holy Spirit is continually teaching us all hopefully. I don’t know why the workers and friends are so afraid of change because change is often GROWTH. The Good News IS Good News! There just may be more to the Good News than we ever dreamed possible. How exciting is that?