Take the Red Pill…Church

Morpheus: Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain–but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life. There’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there. Like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I am talking about?

Neo: The Matrix.

Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is?

Neo: Yes.

Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

Neo: What truth?

Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.

The Matrix, 1999

 

Maybe you, too, are here because you know something. Whether a leader or layperson, something is bothering you about church, about the system.

The emotionally manipulative song lists and endorphin inducing mini-concerts…

The threats of disaster or promises of blessing all depending on if you give or not…

The sermons catering to those who have the most influence or money…

The skirting around issues in order to protect the organization’s 501(c)3 non-profit status…

The “borrowing” of other pastor’s sermons…

The “spontaneous” baptisms…

The multiple “sermon series”…

The “five steps to Godliness” or “seven steps to answered prayers”…

The glazed eye look of most men in the church…

The pastor worship…

The lip service to the Cross…

The lip service to the Work of Christ…

The lip service to the “power of the Spirit”…

The pressure on teens and young adults to be “world changers” and “leaders”…

The obsession with Old Testament preaching…

The glossing over of the New…

When you have questions, you are told to get in line…

If you persist, you are divisive…

Deep down, you know of what I speak.

Deep down. You know.

 

Like Trinity speaking to Neo, there is a Question driving you to this place. You know the question, just as I did.

Is this it? Is there a better way? 

You are not alone.

A close friend of mine has been putting together something quite interesting. Something to give the “disenfranchised, disillusioned & ex-ministry leaders a roadmap for moving forward”. It’s going to cover a lot of ground and from speaking with him, it sounds like something that is needed. Yes, even I am interested in it.

I think it even has the potential to help those, like me, who are barely hanging on to their faith by a thread.

It might be just what you are looking for, too.

Take the Red Pill.

Easter Morning 

He sat looking out of his window on Easter morning. “Holy”days had began to come and go without notice and time had passed. He was older now, much older, spending the years trying to live a life worth living. Fighting, striving, pursuing, reaching, attaining and moving on to the next goal.After all these years of being unplugged, a small part of him ached for he old way. The show, the concert, the participants. Even if it was all it was, a show. 

Too late for that now.

The rain fell, meeting the ground below him. Raindrops occasionally having their trajectory changed by the wind met his windowpane with gentle taps. The house was quiet save for the rain.

He thought on death, as he found himself doing at least weekly.

“Is this all there really is?” 
“Is there more?”

He had acknowledged years before that, despite what faith he had, he could not see past his own death. Some, maybe more “faithful” than he, would say that they could see heaven or some other nonsense. But he couldn’t. It was just black.

Blackness.

Not of hell or torment. Just black.

Like a wall, barring him from seeing the other side.

He accepted this as it is. Mortals do not get to see beyond that wall. It defeats the purpose. You must accept death as inevitable and move ever closer to that wall day after day.

But what of The Man? His thoughts would always drift there. The Friend, The One. His heart could not let go of Him no matter how much he faced. This one that had so long ago broken back through the wall. Or at least that’s what the tales said.

That is what his heart had accepted long ago.

And that was his only link. His only lifeline that reconciled whatever was beyond the wall to his life now.

Most times he felt like that lifeline was as frail as a child’s kite string. But it held. Was he holding on to it, or was it fastened tight to him? He couldn’t tell. But it was the only thing anchoring him to The Friend. But it was there, as always. No matter where his thoughts and actions took him, the line was always there.

“Is it still true?”

The man bowed his head and spoke from deep within his heart, words barely audible. There was no great vision, no angels, no light from heaven. Just the rain and the words to his Friend.

He breathed in deep and let out a sigh as he stood from his chair and walked into his kitchen for a few moments. Coming back, he kneeled before the window and looked out at the beauty of the morning. In his right hand was a piece of bread, torn from a pre sliced loaf in his fridge. In his left was a cup of water.

In the quiet of the morning, before the rest of the household woke up. He kneeled there with his Friend and acknowledged Him once again.

“this is Your body, that was broken for me, I take this and remember You… This is your blood that was spilled for me, I take this and remember you…”

Hope deferred

Here’s the thing:
I want the King to come.
I want to go that glorious feast; the one that I am sure Jesus was thinking about with a smile on his lips and wink in his eye when he revealed his Glory at the Wedding in Cana.
I want to see that He really has prepared a special place, just for me and to know my True Name.
I want an end to the pain and hurt.

I want hearts fully restored, healed and glorified.

I want to see tears of joy as people are united with loved ones long since gone.

I want to see husbands and wives reunited.

I want to see children reunited with their parents.
I want to see the One who has held onto me more than I ever could to Him.
I want to see restoration, redemption, and reconciliation everywhere that I look.
I want that all to happen, in an instant.
As the book of Proverbs so aptly states: Hope deferred makes the heart sick.
We need to stop giving these people the time of day.
We need to borrow a lesson from the Babylonian captivity and go about our lives and look for the ways we are supposed to bring God’s Kingdom here…