Jesus vs the men behind the curtain
This post is my response, in it's entirety, to a very provocative and timely blog post recently penned by Kathleen Ward @ChurchInACircle titled '5 Reasons why young people are seeking old ways of doing church'
Thanks again Kathleen, for kick starting this very interesting question.
As you know, I haven't attended a bricks and mortar church, so I'm at a disadvantage to understand most folks context, and certainly to comment on much.
However :-) I have gathered with wonderful (and a few not so) believers most theological backgrounds for 40 plus years, and as such, have some understanding, although I hesitate to package and name it as any recognized skill set.
All that preamble to say this: From where I stand, it appears the deck chairs are being shifted, as it were, and not much new is happening.
In other words, the two solitude's in the denominational church (liberal vs conservative or right vs left?) continue to offer each new generation the same old tired choices of beans and rice or rice and beans. Both sides are the establishment, with official history, a name and a pedigree. Both exercise considerable influence in the civil life of western civilization and world affairs. Both camps have prisoner exchanges every few generations, which necessitates carving out new psycho-social territory and tweaking their respective political constitutions to garner bums in seats and votes in polls and elections.
But outside these hallowed temple walls, lie the great unwashed horde of sinners and publicans, tax collectors, lepers, Samaritans and the pagans. They may come in and join, but there is a price.They must submit to the loud and authoritative 'men' behind the curtain, who wield (usurp) the scepter(s) of God as (one RC) Vicar and (thousands of Protestant) wannabe Vicars, and they must choose one of two sides, or start another hybrid.
But in this cold war atmosphere, it seems fewer are doing so each generation in the west, while in the far east, many new eager believers are added daily to the church. It seems that millions are fed up with the hamster wheel circus and are abandoning the building edifice complex, for the wilderness.
I think the search for meaning and purpose in those who choose tradition and orthodoxy is similar to those who head for the hills of leaderless uncertainty and even un-orthodoxy. These un-churched and churchless are and will find each other in the wilderness. Like Davids motley crew of indebted malcontents fleeing Saul's threats, these homeless will eventually constitute a formidable army of peaceful outliers. Also like ancient Israel, the effect will be, and already is felt in the collection plate, and by extension, in the institutions governed by the men behind the curtains. Increasingly, these men are one faceless, corporate man, who can change hats to speak to whichever crowd needs motivating, but they all work for the same boss.
And almost mischievously, as if waiting for the right century to revolt, tens of millions have walked away from Oz, to home school, home business, home church and home grow many trade services, high end products and quality
food, just at a time when the many tentacles of the Industrial Complex octopus is finally within reach of controlling everything and everyone.
As the Net (of the men behind the curtain) spreads over the earth, many use it as assemble a new (or rather a re-newed) citizenship of pilgrims and aliens to the world.
Compare this to 1 Chronicles 12:38, when Davids wilderness gang had been welded into an army with one heart; a perfect heart, and the singular mission to make David the (only) King. No more Vicar (Saul) or vicars, or wilderness tabernacle, or division between the tribes. Instead of tearing down the old system, they built a new one; a better one, and let the people see the glory and justness of David, which then put into stark contrast how poor and beggarly was the system they had been conscripted into.
Its been a few millenniums since God's children had one perfect heart and the singular mission to crown Jesus as Lord and Savior over us together.
Could this exodus and upheaval be the beginning of our family reunion?
I'd like to think so.