State of the Spirit

Spirituality is a subject that I am hesitant to write about. I don’t claim to have any answers to the deep questions or even a path that I am currently on. I don’t want to offend anyone, yet where I am at is part of who I am. I have a degree of faith, and hope, and love, the three things that Paul (the author of much of the New Testament) says are eternal. My faith is rooted in Christianity, yet I don’t claim to be a Christian. Jesus, or Yashuah as I have learned to call him, claimed to be the way, truth, and life – I believe it. But the institution of Christianity, from the right to the left, is another story.

I am amazed by the teachings of Jesus and the the “way” of the early church. I have come to believe that the church was derailed very early on, losing the essence of his teachings and the “way” they had began. Jesus taught that love fulfilled all of God’s desire for humanity. He also taught that in order to find life you must lose your own, and that a person must give up everything to be his disciple. I believe he was talking about the “way” of love. It is pretty hard to really love another, the way they need to be loved, if you are attached to your own pursuits. In fact, the first gathering of the church in Acts sold everything they had so there would be no need among them.

I think Jesus knew the way, had the truth, and and understood the essence of life. Although I appreciate and respect other spiritual traditions, I think his teachings are the most practical and down to earth. At the same time, I think that Christianity has missed the point and greatly confused the scriptures. The radical teachings and way of life has been reduced to doctrine that destines a person to heaven or hell.

I became a believer in my mid twenties and spent many years in various Christian circles. I eventually spent several years studying at a Mennonite seminary. I primarily went to try and discover why the church was so messed up. As I looked at history many things became apparent but not yet clear. I started to see how the church moved from being an alternative social order within society to becoming the official religion of the Roman empire. The attempts at reform never helped – in fact it is little understood how the reformers of the sixteenth century committed the same or greater atrocities than the church they were attempting to reform.

So here we are, 2000 years later, with continual attempts to reform, renew, or resomething the church. I worked within the house church movement for several years hoping that bringing people out of the institutional suffocation would help. I then spent about 10 years living in an intentional community that has hope to restore the foundation of the early church. Today I just wonder where to from here. I still believe – I just don’t know what. I certainly don’t buy the answers that so many have.

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