Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Religion Vs. 'Grace extremes'

Church loving – Church hating
Pastor loving – Pastor hating
Church praising – Church bashing
Giving 10% - Not giving at all
Control others using law – Ignore the lost
Not questioning anything – Questioning anything and everything
Showing off love – Suppressing love
Bashing sinners – Okaying sins
Evangelizing everybody – Not evangelizing anyone
Trying to convert people using law, guilt and fear – Ignoring the lost in the name of love.
Being active in church programs – Abandoning community life and fellowship
Being social – Being isolated
Bound but acting free - Free but no action
Showing off Bible knowledge – Not reading Bible at all
Being busy - Being idle
Acting holy - Acting unholy

Is it possible?

6 comments:

Joel Brueseke said...

I think you've hit on some great things here. I think the things on the right side aren't signs of someone who is truly walking in grace, but I think there are indeed many who view grace in that way.

I once corresponded with someone who had gotten a hold of me through a usenet forum. He had read some things that I had written, and he wrote to me saying, "Congratulations on your decision to 'do nothing for Jesus!'"

I don't know what I had written that he had read, but he had obviously missed the point! It's true that grace is a work of God in our lives, but in this email, this man went on to swear and tell how wonderful it was to just do whatever he wanted and not worry about if he was sinning anymore. The email was long, and that's just the gist of it, but it was clear to me that he was living in an extreme that really had nothing to do with grace.

I ran into an old friend of mine who has become a universalist, and she said it would be great to get together with some of our old church friends. In our conversation, she said, "isn't it great that we don't have to do anything!" Again, her point was that grace was essentially a matter of us sitting around, doing nothing.

And again, I agree that we don't "have to" do anything! But as you've beautifully implied in your extremes here, the point of grace is not an idle life. :)

Bino B. Manjasseril said...

'Doing' Vs. 'resting' seems to be a struggle. I desire to proclaim the truth of God's grace to many but then life gets in the way and I am sitting there thinking 'may be it's not the right time yet'. After all God has to initiate, right?
I lost a good community since I left the church which taught legalism and motivated fear through law. I shouldn't say I 'lost' because I don't regret it though I miss the people.
Sometimes its tough to take that kids have no friends to play with. I can sit isolated all day long and I am okay with it because I get more time for myself and I am not tired or burned out, but we lack a community.
I have to agree that the 'growing' part is awesome! He is really doing it. My perspectives changed, I judge less, love more, rest more, in peace, confident in Christ, feel loved and accepted... but for that I compromise many other things.

Joel Brueseke said...

Bino,

I can relate to the loss of community. There are many people in my church who I love dearly, but I've had to pull myself away from them, not due to a lack of love nor due to a self-righteous lack of respect for them as people, but because I've needed to get away from the subtle leaven of legalism so I could take some time to get myself more firmly established in grace.

In that sense, I feel isolated like you say you do. It's so hard, because it's intentional on my part, which makes me seem to be a stuck up grace-legalist, which I'm not (or at least I don't intend to be). I just need to be in fertile soil where I can truly grow, and I've found that I've been doing a lot of that since "leaving" my church (although my wife and kids still do go).

I think this is a season, and I don't know what future seasons hold, but I know that in my heart I'm moving farther and farther away from the 'established' church and more to a desire just to be able to be with other Christians who love each other and who don't depend upon a church system to get their fellowship needs met. I'm not explaining it well, but you probably get it. :)

Yep, I think I compromise things too, at least right now, but I think it's better in the big picture.

One of my myspace friends mentioned today how she is getting all of her exchanged-life fellowship online right now. That's really what I've been doing as well for the past three years, ever since coming to the grace walk forum. Again, I'm hoping this is only a season, because I do long to meet with people face to face, but for now Father has truly provided me with some great friends such as yourself and other fellow bloggers. :)

Bino B. Manjasseril said...

Yes Joel I too believe that it's a season and thats how I console myself these days. Truth is tough, error is easy. It wasn't my toughness that I made a decision to leave the church but it was the toughness of the truth. My tolerance towards error is lessening... and worrying that at some point I will have zero tolerance. Now, I don't know if everybody have a 'right' to be wrong. But I can see that God is tendering my heart towards those who are legalistic.

I would rather give up community and fellowship for growing in grace. Jesus never said its going to be easy. I wouldn't trade the freedom in Christ for anything.

Thank you for your encouragement, it means a lot. I value the fellowship I have over the blog sphere. When the 'church' is too busy with programs, fund raising, committees, worship practices (practice to worship?!), board meetings, we ('church-less idiots'!) can take a break and write 1 or 2 lines here :) Isn't that awesome?

Aida said...

I can really relate to what you two have said. I still go Sunday mornings but don't go to Sunday School or any of the evening meetings. Occasionally, I do go to a women's meeting but that's about it.

I'm sure they have a hard time understanding why I stay on the sideline but, like the two of you, I want to get more firmly established in grace.

I've been involved with a couple of online groups for about two years and just recently found all of you. I do have some friends locally but, like you, the friends I can share the life of grace with are all online. The woman that I think of as my best friend is an online friend that I've never met face to face.

When I do go on Sundays, for the most part, I'm able to not let what they do bother. Last week was different though. That service was a real downer for me and I left feeling somewhat depressed. However,I can tell that I've grown because it lifted later that day rather than hang around on me.

Like you two, I'm not sure what the next step will be. Right now, my husband and I go to be with my daughter and her family. That may change somewhere down the road but, either way, it's okay. I'm learning so much about Father and his grace that all of the uncertainty is worth it.

Aida

Bino B. Manjasseril said...

Aida,
When we are 'in' it it might be be difficult to put the pieces together, but once we are 'out' of it, we will be able to see how God amazingly led us and taught us. Thats is thing about Grace. There are lot of uncertainties, but as you said its well worth. And as I have noticed, establishing in grace is not an intentional act from our side, but it happens as we learn to rest in His sufficiency. There is something in us that don't want to rest. But it's a deliberate decision we make often that I am going to see what He is going to do, no matter what. Thats my attitude now. If Father wants me to have local fellowship, He will open door for it. May be I have a tendency to replace the Spirit of God for the 'fellowship' and depend on it for all the spiritual growth. Father knows it is bad and He will do what ever is necessary in due time. Till then, just keep on enjoying Him everyday for who He is :)