You can live and do everything Jesus commanded and modeled without “church.”
With a steeple on nearly every corner, if churches are making such a positive difference in the world for Jesus, why do we see an increasingly far less positive world and why do we see increasingly far less of Jesus? “Church” doesn’t work, that’s why. Not with a “gospel” of belief-dependent salvation from a torturous god-designed hell. Not to mention, sin-management, conditional love, a codependent god, reaching the so-called “lost,” and converting and colonizing the so-called “world.” That’s a gospel that is no Gospel at all. It makes people worse, not better; more fearful, not at peace; more self-centered, not humanity-serving. In fact, it’s evil. Anti-Christ to the core.
The vast majority of Christianity… anti-Christ.
There, I said it.
Church was never the invention of Jesus, you are the invention of Jesus. You are the church. Each one of us, individually.
Where it’s believed that Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” The word for “church” is the Greek word, “kuriakon” which is the idea of “people loving people like Jesus loves.” It’s not the word “ekklesia.”
Where it’s believed that Jesus said, “Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am with them.” It’s not the idea of people gathered who believe in Jesus as the prerequisite to His presence. But rather, the reality that when people love people like Jesus loves, He is represented and dwells in the midst of that. Gathering in His name is about loving and serving humanity well, not believing a certain set of beliefs.
Again, “church” was never the invention of Jesus, you are the invention of Jesus. You are the church. Each one of us individually; a walking Trinity in skin.
The mind of Christ is within you. Enough Love to change the planet is within you. Everything of the Universe is within you. Yet, so often, “church” blinds, poisons, restricts, distorts, and kills this Light that is within all humanity. It becomes a black hole to all that is good, holy, and right. It exchanges individual, spiritual freedom for communal conformity; divine affirmation for organizational condemnation; and hope and peace for tribal shame, fear, control, and human abuse. More often than not, “church” is the disease, not the cure. And we wonder why the world doesn’t get any better, especially Christians.
You don’t need “church” to find “like-minded” people.
You don’t need “church” to validate or authenticate your faith.
You don’t need “church” for spiritual growth and maturity.
You don’t need “church” to maximize your impact through a “team.”
You don’t need “church” for accountability or support.
You don’t need “church” to find and live your life with joy, significance, and purpose.
If church is a place you go, a service you attend, a creed you follow, or a people you gather with, you’ll never get there, you’ll never find it, and you’ll never have it.
Instead, church is you; you loving neighbor, selflessly serving the world, feeding the hungry, freeing the captive, welcoming the stranger, mending the brokenhearted, defending the least-of-these, and proclaiming the unconditional divine favor, affirmation, equality, and inclusion of all into All.
It’s you taking care of the needs in front of you. It’s you resisting and undoing systems of injustice, violence, greed, and oppression. It’s you being you in ways that honor Love and authenticity. It’s you disconnecting from a self-esteem that’s shackled to personal performance and production. It’s you closing the Bible searching for a perfect thread, answer, defense, meaning, truth, or justification and, instead, opening the Light within you revealing the perfect One, Mind, Spirit, and Universe.
That’s the Church we need.
It’s you. You, and only you.
You are the renewal God is bringing to the earth.
The church we need can’t be contained in a building.
The church we need can’t be confined to a creed.
The church we need can’t be conformed by fear.
The church we need can’t be caged into the Bible.
The church we need can’t be compromised by racism, greed, power, and hate.
The church we need can’t be coerced into judgment, pride, supremacy, and ignorance.
The church we need can’t be controlled by leaders.
The church we need can’t be chaperoned by patriarchy.
The church we need can’t be converted through guilt.
The church we need can’t be calculated in numbers.
The church we need can’t be commissioned by vision.
It needs no defense.
It needs no pastor.
It needs no committee.
It needs no membership covenant.
It needs no budget.
It needs no conferences, books, or celebrity.
It needs no light systems, branding, or worship choruses.
It needs no gathering of the like-minded.
It needs no team-work to make the dream-work.
The church we need is… you.
You are the church: God is Love, the Gospel is the universal and unconditional inclusion of all into All, humanity is our community, earth is our sanctuary, and love is our worship.
Everything else is the “church” we don’t need. Everything else is the “church” that isn’t Church at all.
In fact, for far too many, “church” is the crutch and disguise that keeps them from actually following Jesus. It’s the spiritual pacifier of the spiritually restricted and resistant.
For what does most every church and church leader hate and fear the most? The revelation and reality that you don’t need “church” at all. That you can live and do everything Jesus commanded and modeled without “church.” In fact, often better. And very likely, not until you’ve walked away from all of it.
It’s true. You don’t need “church,” and neither does God.
Grace is brave. Be brave.
Check out Chris’ latest book, Stupid Shit Heard In Church available on Amazon (link below)…
What people are saying:
“After reading just a few chapters, I had to schedule an appointment with my therapist, it’s that good.”
I was a conservative Evangelical pastor of 20+ years.
Racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, Republican, hell-preaching, bible-weaponizing, hateful, and hurtful; that was me.
Until I came to a moment of suicide.
It all started with my collision with honesty. An honesty that wrecked me. Coming forth from within, it forced me to realize and admit that the conservative Evangelical faith simply doesn’t work. Not even close. Everything that I had devoted my life to revealed itself to be a scheme. I had memorized the Scriptures, prayed the right formulas, and performed all the to-do steps. Yet, faced with the Light of truth breaking free from within me, I was confronted with the reality that nothing in my life had become any better, only worse. My faith was a fraud. Fake, empty, and cruel. I had become a monster far removed from the example of Jesus.
At the height of those moments of devastating inner clarity, I told my wife to find a better husband and my children a better father. I was a broken down man. Beat to the pulp of my very core. Death, seeming to be the only way out. It was a darkness beyond darkness.
There was much that was uncertain back then, but I can certainly tell you this now, not a single “deconstruction” sage, book, or conference could have talked me off the ledge upon which I was standing. “Deconstruction” could never have rescued me, nor turned back my desire for the ending of me. It could never have given me a new beginning from what I thought was an inescapable tragedy.
And so, I’m here; alive, changed, progressive, affirming, inclusive, and empowered. But not by “deconstruction,” but rather by something far greater.
Please hear me well. I deeply love all my “deconstruction” friends. I love all “deconstruction” people, and I desire no conflict with you. We are all taking a journey of faith. Furthermore, I’m not writing to condemn “deconstruction” or those whose lives have benefited from it. I’m just telling my story, the lessons I’m learning, and what I’m discerning.
In reality, I have never been an intentional part of the “deconstruction” movement, though perhaps many would say that my writing has played a significant role in their “deconstruction.”
For that, I am truly honored and appreciative.
Yet, though I have no desire whatsoever to disconnect with anybody, I find it necessary to “walk away from deconstruction” in the sense that my path is increasingly moving in a different direction from what I see “deconstruction” increasingly becoming. And, here’s why.
First, in truth, there’s no such thing as “deconstruction.”
This is what I’m learning and this is what I’m discerning.
This whole faith “deconstruction” thing, it really isn’t about deconstructing at all.
In fact, there is no such thing as “deconstruction.” White, conservative Evangelicalism has already deconstructed all of us. There’s nothing left to deconstruct.
Piece by piece, they’ve taken all that was already holy, pure, beautiful, and divinely created about you and I and smashed into pieces.
We were perfect from the beginning, affirmed by the Universe, innocent from eternity. There was nothing wrong with us, yet they whispered such accusations into our ears and we believed them. And not just believed them, we believed them all the way
We bit the apple. Sucked in by the tractor beams of the white, conservative Evangelical Death Star. With Jesus as the hood ornament of their world bulldozer, they plowed over all that is good and of God with lies, manipulation, shame, guilt, and fear.
Seduced by their evil wizardry, we became less than human. Haters, judgers, bullies, and fakes. Nothing like Jesus.
See, we don’t deconstruct, we are the deconstructed.
They told us that we’re depraved, an evil blemish at birth.
They told us that we’re lost sinners in need of the salvation of a fire-breathing God who would joyfully drop-kick us into hell if we don’t repent in all the conservative Evangelical ways.
They told us that we’re not good enough, incapable of spiritual discernment, and that we need their guidance, discipleship, steps, formulas, discipline, and accountability to draw closer to God and keep Him there, lest we err and block the gleam of God’s eyes and summon the withdrawal of His favor.
They told us that if you are a woman, you’re hopelessly inferior to men and incapable of the same leadership, discernment, value, and authority as they.
They told us to prequalify people for love, abandon our LGBTQ children, and believe that they have the one and only true faith—a faith that God exclusively approves and ordains to take control of all of society, at any cost.
They told us that the Bible is the perfect Word of God, church is our home, the world is the enemy, they know all the answers, and we should never think or believe without them.
They told us that Jesus is a warrior, God is a Republican, progressives are going to hell, and racism is best served with “thoughts and prayers.”
They substituted trust with fear, Grace with conditions, inclusion with exclusion, divine affirmation with divine wrath, equality with privilege, social justice with selfish selfishness, peace with violence, integrity with hypocrisy, the Gospel with self-righteousness, and Jesus with the devil.
They deconstructed us all like Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd’s neck, spiritually policing the life out of us.
Make no mistake, everything that white, conservative Evangelicalism touches is deconstructed into ashes.
For we are the deconstructed.
We are the deconstructed.
I repeat, we are the deconstructed.
It’s not something we do or can do, it’s who we are.
That’s why there is no “deconstruction,” there can only be “resurrection.” And the difference between the two is cosmos-quaking and life changing.
It’s the moment, like Lazarus in the tomb, that we hear and respond to the call of Jesus screaming from within our soul to, “get the hell out of there!” “You’re alive, you’re good, you’re whole, you’re holy, you’re secure, you’re saved!” “Always have been, always will be!”
The moment that the Light within us breaks free and pushes away the stone, kicks over tables, and shakes the conservative Evangelical dust off our feet.
Yet, like Lazarus, there’s a holy and sacred process of being unwrapped from the conservative Evangelical burial clothes that long entombed us and covered from our eyes all that was and is good about God, ourselves, and the world around us.
It’s resurrection, not deconstruction.
One bandage, one shroud at a time. Unraveling the layers of brainwashing, condemnation, and hate that strangled us.
It’s resurrection, not deconstruction.
One lie, one half-truth, one fear at a time. Peeling away the twisted images we believed about God, ourselves, and all of humanity.
It’s resurrection, not deconstruction.
The revealing and reclaiming of our true self, the good that was already there and already enough.
Scales being resurrected away.
Learning to breathe anew, learning to believe anew.
Learning to love anew, learning to be loved anew.
Learning to know ourselves, love ourselves, and be ourselves anew.
It’s resurrection, not deconstruction.
We were always beautiful, always loved, always affirmed, always included, always secure, forever and forever.
It’s resurrection, not deconstruction.
For we once were the deconstructed.
But now, we are the resurrecting.
The difference is night and day, and that’s why I’m walking away.
Second, “deconstruction” is just another spiritual treadmill.
It’s hard to say, but I believe it to be true.
Please hear me well, yet again. I deeply love all my “deconstruction” friends. I love all “deconstruction” people, and I desire no conflict with you. We are all taking a journey of faith.
Yet, I can’t deny nor hide what I’m seeing. So much of “deconstruction” has largely become conservative Evangelicalism wrapped in shiny new “progressive” paper. It has all the Evangelical components. Do this, don’t do that. Study this, read that. Try this, try that. Attend this, pray for that. Quote this Scripture over here, use this commentary over there. Listen to this podcast here, go to this conference there. It’s all so Evangelicky.
Much of “deconstruction” isn’t about working out a God-driven “resurrection” from within that reveals and reclaims who we are, who God truly is, and seeing the world anew. Instead, it’s about a human-driven effort to “reconstruct” ourselves, “reconstruct” our faith, and “reconstruct” God. What is Jesus rolling away Evangelical stones from around our soul, “deconstruction” has turned into a human effort to tumble down walls through “better” exegesis and “better“ creeds.
It’s just conservative, Evangelical, performance-driven, behavior-management, belief-conforming religion with progressive make-up plastered on.
Truly, I mean no disrespect and desire no harm, but the term “deconstruction” reduces a holy, sacred, miraculous, and Spirit-driven process into a journey of human effort, steps, and measurements.
In fact, I have never had so many people reach out to me in tears when they began to see their journey away from conservative Evangelicalism as a sacred-centered “resurrection” and not just a human-centered “deconstruction.” For them the pressure was removed, the divine was revealed, the process was given room to breathe, and real, lasting change could emerge.
The difference is night and day, and that’s why I’m walking away.
Third, many progressive “deconstruction” voices have turned a holy, sacred, and miraculous process into a monetized program of profiting sages pimping their books, talks, conferences, and ministry empires.
It’s all so triggering. It’s like going backwards instead of moving forward. Not just going backwards, but even worse, it feels like a falling from Grace.
I’ve even heard the idea of starting a “deconstruction” worship service.
What’s next, a “deconstruction” Bible?
I’m reminded of Joshua’s “stones of remembrance” described in the Old Testament. It is said that God instructed that they be placed to remind the people of Israel entering into the Promised Land to never go back to the slavery of Egypt. God knew that some would actually not be satisfied with the Promised Land and would either want to return or try to have one foot in both worlds.
Sadly, I fear this is already happening. Much of “deconstruction” has taken on the empire-building, franchising, profiteering, legalism, churchiness, and religiosity of Egypt and brought them into the progressive Promised Land of “resurrection.”
The telling of “resurrection” stories has been polluted with ”deconstruction” to-do steps.
Listening to the mind of Christ within has been polluted with intellectualism, “new” biblical scholarship, “woke” exegesis, and the wisdom of wise “deconstruction” sages.
The self-revelation of “resurrection” has been polluted with the self-improvement of “deconstruction.”
Jesus’ statement, “You have heard it said, but I say unto you” has been polluted into a “deconstruction” call to somehow read the Bible in front of you better, instead of a call to read the mind of Christ within you better.
One reveals the real you through “resurrection” and the other tries to change you, through you, through your “deconstruction.”
For me, the difference is night and day, and that’s why I’m walking away.
Fourth, it’s easy for Evangelicals to dismiss and condemn “deconstruction.”
Why? Because it’s filled with human effort. And human effort always and eventually breaks down.
It’s so easily criticized, and perhaps, rightly so. Why? Because it all boils down to their opinion versus ours. Their interpretation versus ours. Their understanding versus ours. Their beliefs versus ours. Their mind, versus ours. Their scholarship versus ours..
Yet, how much more difficult is it to discount, disarm, and disqualify a person’s “resurrection?”
How much more difficult is it to discount, disarm, and disqualify a community’s “resurrection?”
A resurrection that begins and ends through and with the power of God alone.
A resurrection that is ”worked out,” and not “worked on.”
A resurrection that flows like a river welling up from within, not franchised like a business.
A resurrection that is an experience, not an exegesis.
It’s far more difficult, I would say.
Because the difference is night and day, and that’s why I’m walking away.
But not without leaving some suggestions for the “deconstruction” movement, if you would allow me…
1) Consider not calling it “deconstruction.”
2) No more steps, only stories. Tell your story, and let that be enough.
3) Refrain from enabling “deconstruction” consumerism, conformity, and gated community.
4) Take the needle out of your veins of becoming or being a “deconstruction” sage and building a ministry empire.
5) Be a team player. Value all voices, not just your own.
Deep within us all, God has embedded His Light, the faith of Christ within us—every human an equal recipient. We all possess the faith of Jesus, a faith that fully knows and trusts the true essence and heart of the Father. Yet, darkness always seeks a way to condemn and imprison the Light our soul has always possessed in hopes we never awaken to it. Soon, it becomes demonized, silenced, and even unrecognizable within us—many of us walking around unaware or the faith of Christ, His Light within us. Tragically, it’s all become so religiously deformed, twisted, covered over, trampled and christianized inside.
Adam and Eve embraced the Light, saw themselves as Light, and gave it all a cherished harbor within. In their faith understanding, God, themselves, and all of life was a beautiful Garden—forever whole, pure, free, and alive. The faith of Christ within them had become their faith within them—a perfect communion. Yet, in a moment of question, they bit the lie that the Light they held to be Truth was actually darkness—needing correction, deserving of condemnation, and requiring redemption from an angry God. In their minds, all the sudden God became untrustable, Love became conditional, we became condemnable, and the Garden became a hopeless game of God-fearing, God-chasing appeasement. Religion is always the result of the Light becoming something to us that God isn’t, we aren’t, and God never had in mind.
Grace is God pinging your soul in hopes of awakening you to the true Light you have always possessed and longed to believe. It’s the call of Jesus to be unwrapped from the burial clothes that bind your heart from embracing true Life. For religion rings true to the flesh, but Grace rings true to the soul. It’s the Deep calling to your depth. It’s the true faith of Christ within you crying out to become your faith within you. It’s the moment your religious, christianized understanding is overridden by your Spirit and though you can’t explain it and your mind can’t chart it, you taste the Light and your heart knows it to be True, even as it shakes you to your core. It’s breathing for the first time and realizing, all this time, you weren’t breathing at all. It’s Grace releasing, rekindling, and recalibrating the caverns of your soul to what it’s always known and your heart has longed to believe—all is Grace.
This is the message from God you’ve never heard, but your soul has always believed, and your heart is desperate for you to embrace.
God is Love- Whatever sense of condemnation, shame, disappointment, or lack you have towards yourself, it does not come from God—it can’t. Run from any message that puts any conditions, any hell, or any distance between you and Him—all these our constructs of religious projection.
Grace awakens our perceptions to the true nature of God and His affection for us. The purpose of Christ is not simply that we believe in Him, but that we believe in God like Him—His faith within us becomes our faith within us. Jesus knows no other nature, aspect, or trait of God other than pure, unconditional Love. His sinless life before God is our sinless life before God—His performance in life is our performance in life. Love is all, defines all, wins all, and conquers all—especially us. Jesus has no sense of God as being nor exuding anything but unyielding Love.
To the delight of our soul, when we allow ourselves to see God the way Jesus does, we discover there is no other message from God to and for our lives other than Love—no fine print, conditional clauses, trap doors, loop-holes or dropping axes. Love unhinges the tenets of the religious and reveals the evil forces behind their call to one-eyed open living, sin-managing, God-appeasing, self-improving, people-judging, and hell-fearing. Only the graceless, self-righteous, privileged, and judgmental ever feel the force of God’s displeasure as Grace confronts their religious, doubting, selfish, love-drained souls.
God is Love from top to bottom, beginning to end—inside and out. The expanse of God who is Love is boundless, limitless, unrestricted, and unrestrained. His actions and reactions to every molecule and movement of your life is always Love.
God is pedal-to-the-metal in love with you—always has been, always will be.
To Believe Is To Rest- Despite what many may hold to be true, faith is not a decision, choice, or invitational response. Faith is a gift from God welling up from within. It’s the awakening of our heart, mind, and soul to the Jesus that has always been within us, and the God whose arms have always been around us.
To believe is to rest in Grace and the illimitable goodness of God, trusting its full sufficiency for every aspect of our lives. Pursuing God, chasing after God, hungering for more God, and begging God to come, bless, and even forgive, though all seemingly spiritual pursuits, are actually confessions that He is not already here, His grace is not sufficient, and His choosing of us is somehow inadequate. A restless, appeasing, and fearing heart before Jesus is a disbelieving heart before Jesus.
Grace postures our entire being onto a foundation of rest—convinced we can never over-portray or over-characterize the goodness, love, and graciousness of God, nor can we ever believe too much in the exclusive, unsurpassed power of Grace to guide, change, and enable us in all things.
Believing in the unfathomable Love that is God and declaring His grace-singularity of heart, mind, and will is not a sign of human weakness, faith depravity, or theological waywardness. If anything, it is our under-believing, under-ascribing, under-estimating, and under-characterizing of His Love purity that reveals the x-ray of our religiously infected souls as in our doubts and flesh addiction, we live our lives restlessly turning outside of Jesus to find peace with God, peace with ourselves, and peace with people.
You Are The Relationship- The modern Christian idea that God wants a “relationship” with you is highly misleading and in fact, unfounded in scripture. Interestingly enough, there is not even a single mention in all the Bible of “inviting Jesus into your heart.” Rather, the concept of a personal relationship with Jesus has been projected back into the Bible and onto the Gospel by our fleshly, religious desire to have some level of human control and credit with God, and even a spiritual notch on our belt that distinguishes us as above others.
A “relationship” requires the performance, maintenance, and continual contributing desire of both parties. Thus, a relationship can have varying levels of closeness and even become completely broken. This is not what we have with Jesus nor what He has in mind with or for us. Instead, the Gospel proclaims our communion with God, established long before our earthly arrival and even before His.
Our union with God is of the same fabric as the Trinity. It is not a relationship, it is a singular entity based not on desire, performance, or the like, but is in fact a whole union. We are not in a relationship with Christ, we are Christ–He is us, we are Him. Jesus is not a person to invite into your life or heart, He is your life and heart, irrevocably.
This is the awakening, revealed by Grace, and manifested by Jesus. There is no “relationship” with Jesus, God, or the Holy Spirit to be had, for we ARE the relationship—different, but equally connected. Thus, in full union and communion.
The Gospel doesn’t become real the moment one invites Jesus into their heart, it becomes real the moment they realize He had been there all along.
The Bible Is The Beginning Not The End- If the writers of the Bible were infallible in their understanding of God and their interpretation of His actions among them, there would be no need for the infallible One, Jesus Christ.
If the writers of the Bible perfectly captured the desires of God and His every design for all of life and living, there would be no need for the Perfect One, Jesus Christ.
If the writers of the Bible captured the sum, conclusion, and depth of all that is truth, there would be no need for the One who is Truth to reveal it and His Spirit to guide us in it.
There’s a big difference between adding to the Bible and adding to our understanding of it. The Bible is not a case-closed, all-conclusive blueprint of God and all that relates to Him, but rather a catalyst towards our diving into stream upon stream of never ending, progressive revelation welling up from our awakening to Jesus and His Gospel of Grace.
The people who demand the infallibility of the Bible are often the ones demanding the infallibility of their understanding of the Bible—all for the purpose of creating a spiritual, self-righteous safe haven in which to turn off their brains, and from which to control and judge others.
Notice, the corner of America where there is often the most rampant manifestations of spiritual condemnation, bigotry, and hate aren’t called the Jesus-belt, or the Love-belt, but rather—the Bible-belt.
It’s Not About Improvement- So much of what is taught about spiritual growth and the Christian life is the idea that through spiritual disciplines, effort, and behavior modification, one is to strive to become something tomorrow that they aren’t today. Go to church, pray hard, bury your head in the Bible, press into Jesus, and get “radical” for Christ, and sanctification and spiritual maturity will soon follow. Sadly, nothing ever truly gets better upon the treadmill of sin-management, self-improvement, and spiritual striving—enough is never enough. It’s all a diabolical prescription pimped as a life of fulfillment that in fact leads to a life tragically wasted.
For no matter our greatest intentions or desires, nor even in our best moments of believing or behaving, our spiritual performance always breaks down. In the end, whether with God, ourselves, or others, the good that we know we should do is not what we do, and once again, our capacity to escape ourselves is found foolishly and drastically insufficient. All that’s left in the end is a life of pretending riddled with inner shame and guilt as we gloss tons of Christian lipstick onto the pig of our self-righteousness.
Thankfully, the Christian life isn’t a test, it’s a rest. It’s not about becoming something tomorrow you aren’t today through a hopeless life of back-breaking spiritual gymnastics. Rather, it’s about becoming more of the person you already are in Christ.
Jesus came, not to merely do something for you, but to do something to you. The cross is one and done—you are a completely finished masterpiece of the Master. You are whole, holy, pure, righteous, sanctified, justified, and lack no spiritual blessing—as is. There is nothing to improve about you, only everything to believe about you. That’s why the Holy Spirit is forever pursuing your heart, not to convict you of failure, but to convince you of your righteousness—knowing that the more you believe it, the more you will live it. For the Christian life is the beautiful process of awakening to who we truly are because of Jesus, that our actions might catch up to our true, divine identities.
Christians Are Often The Ones In Most Need Of Saving- In the scriptures centered around Jesus, the people who we would expect to know Him the best, in fact, turn out to truly know Him the least–the ones expected to know Him the least, turn out to truly know Him the best.
In the same way, perhaps the “world” and the “lost” that are often seen as the unbelieving, subhuman sinners of the planet, are in actuality, not the “world” and the “lost” at all.
Rather, maybe just maybe, it’s the self-righteous, spiritually elite, legalistic, Grace-withholding, religious ones that turn out to be those that are truly “lost” and of the “world.” For there is no greater form of being “lost” than believing you are so close to God while being so far away, and there is no greater form of “worldliness” than to turn to ones spiritual performance (flesh), religious pride, and the condemnation of others for your sense of righteousness, salvation, and spiritual purpose and satisfaction.
Maybe, just maybe, the “world” and the “lost” need far less saving than Christians would ever want nor dare to believe, and “Christians” need far more saving than the “world” and the “lost” would ever dream.
Maybe just maybe, the “Church” isn’t the believing ones who are convinced their “in,” and grasp this status with pride believing it’s the just reward of their faith, behavior, and do-gooding, but rather it’s the humble ones–the meek, who conclude they’re probably “out,” but nonetheless search, believe, and find rest in Love anyways, simply because it’s the best way to live and to reflect and give Life.
Maybe, just maybe, the bride of Christ isn’t the one adorned in beauty and white, concealing a religious darkness within, but rather the ugly, dirty one, who knows nothing of make-up and a lipstick ladened grin, whose Light is on the inside, emerging from within–whether they’re aware or not matters not, it’s there, and Jesus sees Himself, and smiles, “let the wedding begin.”
You Are God’s Perfect Will- The idea that God has a perfect will for your life and you need to make your life’s ardent pursuit the finding and fulfilling of it, is all highly misleading. The Americanized version of the Christian life would have us all believe that God has some “big” thing for us to do and become that will show ourselves to be genuine and faithful in following Jesus. I say, hogwash.
You are God’s perfect will, you are the big thing God is doing in the world. You, being fully you, and doing what you love to do in ways that honor God, love people, and serve humanity is far closer to His heart.
In fact, if any of your sense of worth, significance, and righteousness in life can be reduced, compromised, or questioned by your failure, mistakes, inadequacies, shortcomings, limits, or lack of production, then I can assure you that what you have is not a sense of your true Christ-righteousness and worth, but rather a self-righteousness and worth.
If you were to do nothing more with your life and instead fail and waste it in every way, you would be loved and lovable no differently and valued and valuable no less. For God’s perfect will for your life is not a plan charted, a path traveled, a series of accomplishments completed, or destinies discerned and fulfilled. Rather, God’s perfect will is a person, and that person is you, as is. You are a complete, whole, and finished work of Jesus that is irrevocably and irreversibly beautiful, whole, and pure.
What’s God’s perfect will? You, being fully you.
This is the message from God you’ve never heard, your soul knows to be True, and your heart pleads for you to embrace .
God is Love.
To believe is to rest.
You are the relationship.
The Bible is the beginning, not the end.
It’s not about improvement.
Christians are often the ones in most need of saving.
You are God’s perfect will.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” -Galatians 2:20
The root essence of every person that was, is, or will ever be… is goodness.
In the creation poem that opens its scroll at the front of the Christian Bible, God speaks the world into being. With hands coursing His artistic beard, He pauses between breathes to evaluate His living imagery. In rhythmic cadence, with each step He declares, “it is good.”
I love that God creates creation good, not perfect. It can go here, it can go there. Loaded with life force, the cosmic tapestry awaiting humanity’s weaving. Not without the capacity for hands to sew devilish patterns out of divine art. It’s good, remember, not perfect.
The Tempter in serpent form, exploited the Garden of its goodness. Playing his sole card of condemnation, the first human ones bit the bluff. Convinced they lacked in some way, unworthy of the worthiness etched into their being. What was natural became naked, and the yarns of shame and guilt slithered their coil through the threads of inherent goodness. It is a complex weave. And we, are a complex people in the arduous journey of trying to unravel from condemnation’s relentless entanglement.
This is the story of every human being, bobbing and weaving, wrestling to come out from under condemnation believed. It is the root of all sin. The catalyst of all that is religious. The genesis of all contortions, twisted personas, and justifications. Compelling us into the dance to heal or conceal a shamed heart. All of us have a life that tells a unique, complicated story and reveals a personal shaping from our quest to be released from the lie we swallow as truth… condemnation. Adopted perspectives, twitches, scars, blind spots, aversions and conclusions along the way. However beautiful or deplorable the verses we write, the views we take, the paths we travel. From this, the many layers and branches of our complexities are sprouted. Beliefs, attitudes, actions. The whole nest.
We are, complex people.
Yet, thousands of years later, chapters into humanity’s stumble-filled stewarding of life. A biblical writer Paul to a younger man Timothy, re-articulates the Spirit. Seeing underneath humanity’s blunder of intricate cuts, knots, and lose ends fabricated to mend the wounds of a soul believed to be shamed. God still deems our essence as… good. Always has been, always will be… good. After all the religious patches and patchwork, it is still… all good.
Sin was never who we are, it’s always been the fruit of a heart believed to be forever rooted in unworthiness and its garments of guilt and shame. Condemnation’s great deception, that we are lacking life, not loaded with it. Bad seed, not good.
No matter the different complexities, for good or evil, this Serpent-shame has wrought, the root essence of every person that was, is, or will ever be… is goodness.
Grace, the only cure for a condemned heart.
Grace, the true catalyst for all this is right.
Grace, the maker of our new-creation identities.
Grace, the final triumph, resurrecting us beyond goodness.
Completely whole, in-condemnable in Him. At the cross, one and done. All finished, for all. Grace upon Grace!
This is not my evaluation, it is in fact the Christ’s re-creation. It is His mark, it is His stamp, it is His declaration. No matter how reckless, evil, eschew, or vile our wrestle from condemnation’s pursuit becomes us. All is still… good. Not just good… but now whole, pure, blemish free. Fully human, fully holy.
This is our mutual humanity. No one excluded.
This is our human story. All included.
The Finisher calls out, “All is Grace, and all are whole in Me.”
Even in full awareness and rest in this Jesus-proclamation. Realizing there is no longer any hold from which to wrestle out. The Tempter still tempts, to crawl back under Law, to bite the old bluff, to weave a curtain already removed, to escape from that which one is are already free. Ancient and modern messages, all to sew condemnation’s bitter seed anew.
This, we must remember.
It’s not where our humanity meets another human that sparks fly, it’s where our complexities collide. You say “Tomato” I say “Tamato.” You road is traveling here, my road is traveling there. Your understanding says this, my understanding doesn’t say that. Your coping looks likes this, my run from coping looks like that. Behind every person’s eyes is a story, that if they told you, would break your heart. We are all just trying, our best. To come out, stay out, from under… condemnation.
We are all human, and complex in being so.
Where that complexity needs Grace who can always be for sure, all we know is Grace is sufficient for all our complexities. In the tapestry we spin, we all need Grace.
No more, “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” We love others, as them, not just towards them.
This, we must remember.
Pushing out from condemnation’s relentless entanglement. Standing watch from being dragged back into the web of lies from which Truth has set us free. This is a shared story, from which we all read and must read others.
That Jesus died for all, we must stand with all… in all our complexities.
Not that I agree with all in mind, action, or spirit. But agreeing with Jesus. His evaluation of all is sufficient for my all.
I may not be able to stand you at times, but I am going stand with you for all time, as a fellow human being, in all of our complexity, God-imaged by our Creator, and included in Jesus and His finished work. Eternally loved, valued, and embraced in Christ. Free to be, who we are… human. In all our complexity.
Cutting through, with the sword of Grace that our differences might give way to our common goodness; not just goodness, but wholeness. That my insecurities may no longer eclipse my view of your God-imaged essence. That my ignorance of your story might give way to my standing under it, and even with it.
I may not be able, at times, to stand your theology, behaviors, attitudes, decisions, even telling you so, the same. But I will stand with you, nonetheless, even if you should walk away.
That I agree with your story, is not a requirement. That you have a story, is reason enough.
This is the Jesus call, for all of us… standing with people, particular the ones, we can’t stand.