Saturday, January 19, 2008

the God journey

Since Christmas, when I got my fantastic new little iPod, I've been listening to the God Journey, a fantastic new little podcast! Just Kidding: because the God Journey is neither new nor little.

I followed the link from Molly's blog (yes! she's back!), and have been hooked ever since. These guys, Wayne & Brad, have gotten me to a place where I understand God in a whole new way. Profound in their simplicity, I am turning from my God-as-concept way of life back into a God-as-friend way of living.

One of their "taglines" is "thinking outside the box of organized religion." Am I anti-institution now? No. But I am beginning to see that the way some churches lord their authority over people is not healthy, nor biblical. I'm beginning to understand that performance-based living, shame-infused to boot, was never God's intention. As in the stories of the Samaritan woman at the well, and with the woman who was about to be stoned, Jesus did not cast condemnation on them, or shame them into better behavior. That was not His way, and it certainly doesn't need to be ours.

A year ago God began to show me that "church" as I knew it was not the end all be all. "Church" is not a building. It isn't your choice of people that you meet with on Sundays. The Church is the Bride of Christ: "where two or three are gathered..." The unhealthy church we finally left tried to convince me that church *was* the Sunday morning event- and you *had* to be a part of that ("if you want to be a good Christian, you go to church on Sundays, and Wednesdays, and..." performance based, anyone?). They had verses to back it up (of course), and thinking that I couldn't possibly hear from God on my own because I didn't have years & years of Bible training, I believed them.

Thanks to Wayne and Brad, for spending their time podcasting once a week for almost three years. I have come to acknowledge that "church," or (as they say) the Sunday morning event, is not what God is all about. We are called to live relationally, and to me, that is the highest calling: love God and love our neighbors. Easier said than done if you're honest...

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