I spent some time yesterday reading the blog buzz about the latest SBC escapades. It didn’t really anger me, although maybe it should. I was struck by how ridiculous situations become when we try to comply with religious rules that are ridiculous, a sort of doctrinal gymnastics.
It seems to me that Jesus was often struck by the ridiculous way that certain groups attempted to apply their religious rules and force others to comply with them. Their power in enforcing law was that they were the recognized authority defining God’s truth.
You can see in their interactions with Jesus, that there was an attempt to trap Him, to apply guilt and the fear of noncompliance to Him and to those that followed Him. But everything about Jesus flew in the face of this religious bondage to the law.
Considering the SBC situation, I wondered why everyone doesn’t just walk away from the kind of institutions that insist on this kind of rigid injustice. We don’t have to submit ourselves to authorities that don’t allow us the freedom that we already have in Christ. But it isn’t that easy.
Often within our history of involvement with an institution, we don’t recognize how much bondage we have come to accept as normal, even scriptural. I think that the biggest fear is that in rejecting the law and doctrine that we have learned, we will somehow be rejecting God and jeopardizing our relationship with Him.
As I have been thinking about this, I remembered the game Pik Up Stiks. Anyone else remember that? To play you take a handful of these sticks (like long toothpicks) and drop them in a pile on the table. The point of the game is to remove as many sticks as possible without disturbing another stick. If you mess with the wrong stick, everything topples, game over, you lose.
That is what deconstructing leadership has been like for me. Do I dare mess with this “stick”?
What about the issues of church authority?
Positions of leadership
The Bible does not rigidly define the administration structures and leadership models of church organizations. Much of what we know and claim as Scriptural models are more traditional than Biblical. The organizational structures are not necessarily wrong, but they are also not necessarily required.
When I realized my freedom to follow Christ, to allow the Holy Spirit to teach me, and to submit myself in obedience to the Father, the laws I lived under of how things should be done began to fall like dominoes. The fear of being separated from His will is being replaced with a trust that I can follow His voice if my heart is set on surrendering my life to Him.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1