I’m going to mention some scripture here. Hold on. It won’t last long.
One of the most influential passages for me for my teaching career is the one where Jesus sees the people wandering like sheep without a shepherd. He has compassion on them. What did he do? He began to teach them!
Jesus is also quoted as saying that the truth sets you free.
What this means to me is that truth is the way to our freedom and contentment. In other words, it is what we most need.
Mazlow’s hierarchy puts self-actualization at the top of our needs. It is the pinnacle of human experience.
In our deconstruction, I believe it is the truth that draws and drives us towards our own spiritualities.
Even though our Facebook group and main site is largely the exchange of stories and experiences more than ideas, I think what is behind them all is your hunger for truth. You want to know what is true. All the stories and experiences and news that we share are measured against this incessant hunger to know.
Your critiques of the church and Christianity and the bible and everyone’s interpretation, articulation or experience of these things are not primarily the manifestation of bitterness, hurt, disappointment, anger, resentment or revenge. Rather, I think our criticisms and even our sarcasms are secondary but inevitable symptoms of our love of truth and our disdain for deceit.
When people criticize you for being too critical about what you believe is deceitful, abusive, manipulative or superstitious, they really are wishing you would keep in line and not stir the pot. Most people seem to embrace this notion and lifestyle that as long as it’s working, then leave it alone.
I have a story that directly illustrates this. In 1995 when I left the Presbyterian Church, Lisa and I were looking where to go next. I’d had a dream that inspired me to quit and start all over again. It was one of the most adventurous times of our lives! We wondered if it meant we should go back into the Pentecostal Church from whence we came many years before. So we applied to the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada and were given the opportunity to meet with the district board. We got cleaned up and entered the boardroom at their headquarters to sit before a council of 18 large men in dark suits. It was a grueling and intimidating experience. Everything was going along fine until they came to the question of alcohol. They wanted me to say that I believed drinking was a sin. I would not. We debated over scripture. One pastor brought up Paul’s verse where he instructs Timothy to drink a little wine for his stomach’s sake, meaning that we shouldn’t drink wine, but maybe use a little for medicinal purposes. I said I felt the verse was saying, “Timothy, try to cut down on your drinking. Just try having a LITTLE wine instead of a LOT!” They laughed along with me because I did mean it as a joke. But all the men there insisted that I would need to teach that drinking was a sin. They agreed there were no verses explicitly calling drinking a sin, but the social benefits of not drinking justified preaching that it was. In other words, and one pastor said this explicitly, it was worth preaching it was a sin to prevent people from doing it. It was an intentional strategy to mislead the people but for their own good!
We were not admitted back in to the Pentecostal Church. I laugh at that now, and I’m thankful. But it made me realize that this is not an isolated incident. It is a rampantly utilized technique in the church to deceive people to achieve a desired goal.
It is our right and responsibility to defy these commonly used techniques. We must fight against lies! You are right to resist and reject deception. Even if it means not being admitted into the group.
So I admire you for it! As I watch you post and engage with each other, I am daily impressed by your tenacious hunger for truth and your consistent persistence to find and live by it.
Please don’t give up! Why? Because not only will you live more and more into the truth you discover, you will also continue to inspire me and others to do the same.
I don’t know how many times I receive messages from people thanking me for stubbornly exposing lies and seeking truth. It inspires them to do the same despite all the opposition they experience. They love the reward it brings!
So when Jesus taught because he felt compassion for lost and wandering people, and when he said the truth sets us free, we must conclude that when we find what is true, we will experience freedom and and a contentment within it.
Seek and you will find!