My name is Swanny… (Hi Swanny!)
I am a recovering “church”aholic.
I have been sober now for over 3 years. (hands clapping…), and I wanted to share with you what I have learned since our last meeting.
Are you ready, here it goes… I have come to learn that detoxing from any kind of substance abuse is only a means to a much greater end. It is the essential process toward a healthy life, free from oppressive addiction. Yes, I was addicted to “church” (i.e. programs, studies, legalistic denominational rules) and did not even know I was. I learned that I had to leave the “church” in order to BE the Church, and I also learned that I must stop being “church”ed and start being the Church.
Through the many years I attended a local church body (and was even a member), I always wondered if what was be called “transformed” was nothing more than socially-driven behavioral modification. I feel I was being conditioned by the “church” to live, act, dress, and behave a certain way or I would not be accepted as family.
I found it amazing (and so frustrating) at the energy that was expended in “church” to just keep the system going, to keep me in classes, to have me go to programs to gain more and more knowledge on how to be a better Christian, leadership classes, learning discipleship from a book, guilt-driven volunteerism, and many others I could discuss. I even learned Christianese, a language anyone outside the walls of “church” just do not understand.
Within the church, I definitely desired to BE the church, but was soon lost in the tremendous expectations of others to provide a setting where we all could be “church”ed. Was this the edification of the Body I was expecting?
I am so thankful I have broken away from the human “church” system (but not the Body). I am free from denominational bounds. I have done it and I feel like a free man. I feel free to be a person of the Kingdom of God, not of Christendom where I spent most of my days speaking Christianese to those on the inside, just so I could be accepted as a member of whatever denomination I tried to act like. That to me is a bunch of BS… do you smell it?
I know Paul was not a Baptist, a Lutheran, a Roman Catholic, or whatever denomination you can think of. If he can be accepted by Christ without being bound by a denomination, so can I.
I guess if I have to call myself something it would be a “Christ Follower at Large”.
Or I might be called by some others after reading this.. a heretic.
Thanks for listening… (clapping)