I was encouraged Sunday when the preacher at church went on a rant about people and “their buddy Jesus”. His perspective was, we need the corporate experience of church and church functions instead of just saying “well, everything is cool with me and Jesus”. But he said something that made me think he sees the matter more than just one of getting people to come to church.
We have been at this church only since Easter, and are being careful about taking membership in any church that we eventually discover is another amateur pop psychology medium.
He said something to the effect that we need to experience problems together. It was not just that we needed to worship together, or sit under teaching together, or tithe together or volunteer together. It was that we needed to be shaped by trauma together. And it was a clear break from The Personal Jesus, if not a direct refutation of same. And it got me scribbling while he talked.
Think about shared trauma and how it shapes us into vessels that are better equipped to comfort others in trauma.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Compare that to the Personal Jesus created perspective where the person has some issue, they sort it out with their Personal Jesus, and how that equips that person to minister comfort to others. One way offers whatever you think you need. The other offers what you need.
One way creates growth in the churches of this age. Where believers go forth to pretty much tell folks I’m OK you’re OK. And rules? What rules? The Personal Jesus has my back and got me through X (where X is usually something born of an obviously sinful and should-have-been obviously bad decision) Those sharing trauma as believers are going to have a congruence problem if they bring their Personal Jesus to the group, even if its just one member of the group experiencing the issue. This is exactly what happens in women’s groups where The Personal Jesus is preached, and men go along either out of fear, ignorance, or they agree…..in that order. It is lots of men, altogether.
Most churches today need a road to Damascus experience. This would be something so profoundly traumatic that it would leave men no choice but to REALLY step up (and by step up I do not mean the gibberish that falls under that instruction now), or the church crumbles. Or, the church ceases to be a church, as in the bride of Christ. That is sadly the way most are going. To see the end point lets swerve into an example.
Once the church launches herself to cross the Rubicon that leads to her no longer being a church, who is on the other side waiting and cheering?
Here are a couple of the faces they will see.
It doesn’t matter who these women are. They are (used to be a church) leaders from the group that calls itself Episcopalian. They have lots of company. I chose them (that group) because its an easy example. From a piece specifically about the evolution of the Episcopalian church:
“The accelerating fragmentation of the strife-torn Episcopal Church USA,” writes Christian author Charlotte Allen. “ in which large parishes and entire dioceses are opting out of the church, isn’t simply about gay bishops, the blessing of same-sex unions or the election of a woman as presiding bishop. It is about the meltdown of liberal Christianity.
“Liberal Christianity has been hailed by its boosters for 40 years as the future of the Christian church. Instead, as all but a few die-hards now admit, the mainline churches that have blurred doctrine and softened moral precepts are declining and, in the case of the Episcopal Church, disintegrating.”
They took buildings away from individual churches in the denomination because they would not tow the tyrannical line of feminization the church hierarchy had embarked upon. Then, when they were nearly broke, they were forced to put their NY headquarters up for sale. Those particulars are not important, only illustrative. This should be traumatic.
David Murrow nailed it when he said:
“I’m not blaming women for the decline of the mainline. The men withdrew. The women stepped up.”
We can quibble about the term “step up” because it has been co-opted. But it’s true. Hence the need for a road to Damascus experience.
It gets more complicated.
Who is left on this side of the river? Well, a relatively small number of Christian men and women, some MGTOWs and some PUA’s, and some various other constituents that are too ignorant and/or apathetic to care that there even is a river. We make quite a group don’t we? We are left over here fighting over definitions and tossing Molotov cocktails at the other side.
The good news is that the road to Damascus runs on both sides of the river. The bad news is, it isn’t obvious which group on which side will have the conversion experience. To see that, you have to believe that the church, as she is today in the main, is not better off than the Episcopalians by much. We (as parts of her) are at some point along the continuum that ends with paganism and worship of the divine fem. This way also ends in tears.
Today, as the nation recognizes some equal pay act from 50 years ago, and celebrates the fact that 40% of homes are economically headed by a female wage, it looks more and more likely we may share a trauma, ALL of us, no matter who we are or which side of the river we are on. This trauma is like the slow cooked frog, so far. No conversion needed. But wait.