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March 16 2011 4 16 /03 /March /2011 12:53


I have come to see a truth about all these "spiritual movements" of late. I am stirred to investigation by some of the truths being propounded by the "Anti-Organized-Church" movement, the "Church Outside Walls" movement, and some other new and fresh approaches to evangelism and discipleship. And in the rumblings of these new ideas I sense a shaking, and perhaps a crumbling of some old wine-skins. However, I still think that the "old wine-skins", such as "Organized Church" still have both purpose and calling, and should be handled with care!


The trouble comes when we get it into our thinking there can be any one thing which is the only tool in God's hand. This is folly of the most arrogant sort. God is infinitely varied, as is His finest creation. He is unchangeable, at His core being, but among us He is constantly moving, and bringing us from glory to glory, and from faith to faith, inferring and requiring constant forward motion. So we need not stagnate on one form or method. And we must not judge the others!


Neither should we chuck out any of His tools simply because they are not needed in our particular tool belt! That is the other danger of new ideas. Yes, we do need "new wine-skins" for the new wine, but the older,and often the most valuable of wines need to housed and protected as well! They represent continuity, history,as a valued antiquity; and they contain the source from which the new must emerge, and are therefore worthy of honor! Thus, the organized church! And besides that, though its form may morph here and there attempting to adaptand relate to the cultural demands, it is still obviously needed, and thankfully, it is still in full use!


It is much like a nursery for young plants, a veritable green house! Young plants, newly planted seeds must be protected from the elements in the wild. They have a need to be managed, weeded, and fertilized! But once grown needs change, they then need to be transplanted in the garden, or the woods, or the mountains or the jungles, or whatever location is indicated by the Holy Spirit! Usually, somewhere outside of the greenhouse! This transplanting can be done by the greenhouse workers, but often gardeners take over, or THE husbandman Himself steps in, and the greenhouse workers need only let go.


The greenhouse must be staffed by those called to take care of the infant plants! There must be those called to that ministry of beginning discipleship! But the grown plants, on the other hand, who are not called to work in the greenhouse, must be allowed to transplant outside the greenhouse without being judged as renegade, or regarded as poisonous! And, they should not have to "shoot their way out" of the greenhouse! lol  It should not become a suffocating place of oppression and possession! We do not need to keep dwarfing people and making "bonsai", out of everyone, just so they will stay in the greenhouse!


As the authority, with which parents are entrusted to exercise over the children, ideally, gradually, transfers to the child as he or she matures - so, grown up disciples need to eventually come into a place of authority over his or her own life! This should be, but unfortunately is not necessarily, a given, in my limited experience!

It has, in fact, been heck trying to discern reality, since the doctrinal fury over that situation was so confusing and emotionally dysfunctional! There has been so much co-dependence being billed as "honor" or "respect for authority"! There has been so much false doctrine, and teaching on submission, and we do, of course, need to get those issues straightened out. A.S.A.P.!


But in the meantime, we who live in the glass house of transparency, called "Church", which despite titles, must have some form of "organization", should not be pitching stones at it! If we are a part of that Organism known as "The Church", that being defined by answering the questions - "Are we believers?" "Do we claim to be the "Body" or "Bride" of Christ?" "Are we the "Called out ones"? Etc. ( - jargon that we have come to understand as what constitutes "Church"). If we count ourselves to be part of that entity in any way, shape or form, then we should resist participating in those things that will cause division, strife, etc. within her! We should not be overly critical of one another!


We do need to ask pertinent questions, we do not need to be afraid of the light of careful examination. However, we need to examine the wine-skins without dumping out the wine! And though the "bath-water" of how organized Church operates may need changing from time to time, let's be sure we do not throw out the "baby" in the process!


Whatever is going on, concerning "Organized Church" or "Organized Religion", I have discovered some difficulties that need to be addressed. There really are some things that are being missed that seem more obvious, now that I am "out here". One thing is that maturing Redwoods, and greenhouses are not the best mix! Meaning simply that the micro-managing of grown up saints, will produce rebellion-like symptoms, at best, and full blown revolt at worst! It is like trying to force new wine to stop developing in older wine-skins that can not adapt to its growth, or trying to keep a fully grown Oak from outgrowing the roof of the greenhouse, it will never work. You are setting yourself up for an inevitable destruction.


With proper nourishment, mentally, emotionally, spiritually or physically, there must be an opportunity for growing up, and that eventually necessitates a letting go. There is no real reason to grow up if there is no where to grow to! This is why many churches are stuffed with overgrown spiritual babies as a result. And why the workers are over-worked, disgruntled, exhausted folks who are either fighting bitterness or have succumbed, becoming sour-faced mutterers! Frustrated and resentful, grumbling their way through endless duties that produce no fruit! Endlessly serving these overgrown ones, who suck up the nourishment meant for the real babies, the new ones to the faith, hindering that growth process as well!


I see it as a result of not releasing the proper authority when it is time. Few folks will take responsibility where the corresponding authority is not given. Few folks are willing to venture into things that are micro-managed. In fact, I will go so far as to say, that the only ones who will are those who are so dysfunctional that they don't know any better! But to me, the tragedy of organized religion/church, over the Organism that is supposed to be Church, is that there seems to be more who remain dysfunctional than those who are becoming fully functional. Dysfunction, in fact, seems to be exploited to keep the thing going! Ugh. This is a tragedy of epic proportions. But it might explain the growing numbers of logically thinking adults who wouldn't go near a church for a small fortune!


Where is the growth? Where is the fruit? Where are the trees? The forests of righteousness? Why are there so many "bonsai" Christians. You know, the ones who sort of look grown, but are dwarfed somehow, and rendered too delicate, too disabled to endure the rigors of life in the world, without becoming affected by it adversely?


If the "Organized Church" wants to defend itself, it should stop pridefully ignoring the issues and merely scoffing at its critics. It might try listening for a change.  Its best defense, in fact, would be to churn out fully matured, hardy "plants" that can stand on their own! And to quit managing things so that they are looking more like turkey farms, which are producing these babbling critters who are afraid of every shadow, and can't tell friend from foe!


It is time we all stopped fearing the forests and jungles that these greenhouses were built to produce! It is time we stopped or change whatever we are doing to dwarf their inhabitants! A Greenhouse/ Church-house should be a place of nurturing, or even a place of healing if one becomes damaged in some way, but it should never resemble a prison! It should be full of light that produces life, not darkness that stunts growth!


So far, my own experience with church has been like that Eagle's song, "Hotel California", "You can check in any time you like, but you can never leave". Well, you can, but not if you want to be regarded with any honor. It was sort of like getting  a "dishonorable discharge" from the army. As if I went a.w.o.l. or something! This is not how it should be! One may ask, "then why do you defend it, or support it, or still love it?".


You would have to know a bit of my history. My own mother was abusive to me from birth, in most ways imaginable. And yet, because of the Love of Christ, I am not only grateful to her - hello, I am here - but I hurt for what she missed in her insanity, and I am able to forgive what she subjected me to because of it. Though the issues I have fought my way through in my journey through, growing to maturity in,  "church" are much less dramatic on some levels, I feel the same way. Because of them, or in spite of them, whichever it is, I am here. And I forgive any insanity that they were subject to, and thereby subjected me to!


And, by the grace of God, I now have boundaries, and authority, and a responsibility to use those things as He would have me to. At first I sort of flailed in all directions, sorry about that. But now I am learning how to use these weapons more efficiently, andI have learned to aim them in the direction of the real enemy!


"I have seen the enemy, and it is (NOT) us"! lol The Holy Spirit is moving among His saints to produce unity! Let's examine the difficulties and be willing to humbly change what needs changing! But those in the forest criticizing the workers in the greenhouse, or those in the greenhouse criticizing the ones thriving in the jungle, must stop if we are ever to accomplish His fully matured Kingdom!


Really! We all need each other. We all have pieces of the overall puzzle, no one box could possibly contain all His pieces, and it is interminable arrogance to believe it ever could! Humility always precedes unity. It is time we all took a large dose! It is time we see the Greenhouse, and all the resulting "vegetation" in His light. The light of His magnanimous, unconditional, all prevailing, Agape' Love.



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  • Sandra Carlton Duncan
  • I am a devoted follower of Yeshua, the Messiah. I have been married to Gene Duncan II for 37  years, and counting. I have 7 children, 3 boys & 4 girls - all grown up. They have been home educated, K-12. I also write, hence the blog  (including, but not limited to: children's books, poems, and personal growth art. ) Please stay tuned as I share my personal journey through poems and writing.
  • I am a devoted follower of Yeshua, the Messiah. I have been married to Gene Duncan II for 37 years, and counting. I have 7 children, 3 boys & 4 girls - all grown up. They have been home educated, K-12. I also write, hence the blog (including, but not limited to: children's books, poems, and personal growth art. ) Please stay tuned as I share my personal journey through poems and writing.