Were we deep enough?

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?

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Were we deep enough?

  1. Kudos to you Darla for bringing this most obvious issue to light! I remember sitting through countless gospel meetings etc. and hearing the same dogma ad nasuem, ad infinitum. I can remember thinking so many times how the message just wasn’t that deep and they were so restricted by their own parameters. I have learned so much about Jesus since I have left the meetings and I really try to not blame anyone for the lack of objectivity that could help so many people. My intelligence was routinely insulted by routinely predigested information that was exclusively biased and intellectually stifling.

    I certainly had some issues myself and nowhere to go with them for help. Yes, I was caught up in the cycle of sin/anguish/repentance and do it all over again. It is a sick cycle of self/emotional abuse that I am sure haunts a lot more people than one might imagine.

    Occasionally, there would be a story or some scripture shared that would be earth shattering and could touch a person to the core and help define ones walk with a bit more clarity and then soon enough the cycle of dogmatic structure would override any spiritual growth.

    I could never understand how people could read scripture such as “Judge not, lest ye be judged….” and then twist it around so that they could actually feel good/righteous about judging others who weren’t exactly like them. I had several conversations with some family members about that very topic and was appalled at the depth of their insensitivity toward others and some who may actually be seeking the light. How can/could the meeting folks ever expect to bring new believers into the fold if all they were interested in was separating themselves from the “world” and alienating themselves from old contacts etc?

    On the subject of Christian authors, I remember very vividly hearing a brother worker speak at Saginaw one year how dangerous it is to read other ideas on the subject of Christianity and that an archaic translation of the scripture was the only acceptable text allowed for meeting and study (though I remember a few younger workers who actively read and shared passages from the NIV).My mother is an Episcopalian priest and I have had the good fortune to learn more things about the bible that we rarely, if ever heard shared at the meetings. I have also learned a great deal from our current minister at the UCC church in Corvallis. While I am not a regular attendee, I do like hearing about the gospel from a more intelligent perspective. I don’t care so much for their other machinations and basic liturgical form, but I guess I was raised to be just a tad bit biased. 🙂

    Not only did I enjoy (and still do) the KJV of the bible, but I like the previous version of the KJV with the Apocrypha, NKJ and perhaps reading in languages such as German (Luther Bibel) and Norwegian and Danish texts. I used to tell the local friends that just because we read English, does not mean that all other meeting people in the world do.

    I guess I ramble on, but thank you again for sharing your thoughts and again for being a beacon to the more discerning folks out in the world. I think the workers and friends ought to allow their minds to open up just a little so they can see that legalism is not the correct pathway to God and enlightenment .

    Bless you! Adam

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    • Adam,
      Once again the articulation of your thoughts is profound!! I hope you are a writer by trade because you most definitely have a gift. Your comments were wonderful and I could relate to all of them practically. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. You are a great encouragement to me to keep writing as well.

      Darla

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  2. I really love what both of you wrote! I am reading a book called “I, Jesus”. It’s a collection of the things Jesus said about Himself. So enlightening! I am so excited to explore the world of things written about spirituality now. I also love other versions of the Bible that are so helpful like the Amplified Version for example. I agree, Jesus is alive and when religion seems dead – run far away from it. It isn’t of Him. Thank you so much, Darla and Stephanie!

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  3. Yes! It’s super exciting! I can no longer sit under dull religion. God is Alive and moving!
    He is in the Christian books, commentaries, music, and other translations (we were not to touch). He constantly pursue’s us with His love and His grace (we were not encouraged to dwell on).
    He is the very essence of Love (1 John 4) and that Love and Grace within is as The Holy Spirit breaks us free of addictions, hurt, bitterness, anger and such. I mean it’s the real deall!!
    I’m reading a book now that says, “The Pharisees had brought God’s law down to a level that could be upheld through their own efforts, so that they could boast of their ability to keep the law. But Jesus brought the law to it’s purest form so that every man would come to the end of himself and see his need for the Savior.”
    Once we really understand the radical work done on the cross, we realize it’s all about what He did, not what we do. That’s life changing right there! Our life then begins to reflect our thankfulness to Him rather than us trying to meet a set of rules! Praise to our Abba ❤️ who loves us with BIG life changing Love!

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    • I’m experiencing the same wonderful things and I want so badly to share it with my family who are still in meetings! They just can’t or don’t even want to try to understand or hear what I would love to tell them . Someone said this week to me , just show them your joy and God in your life now more than ever before , what will they be able to say against that ? Loved your post !

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