Originally Titled: Set In Our Ways
A couple of years ago our youngest son was learning to type at home using a home study course. As he began to progress we had a difficult time making our son do the course because he had learned to type in a different way than the typing course was teaching him. He had learned to type playing games on the computer long before we began to use the typing course and he had become set in his ways. My wife and I had learned typing though typing courses in high school and had learned their way of typing was the only way and accepted way in the business world at the time. My wife especially felt frustrated because she wanted my son to learn typing as she learned it but he was resisting it. She felt she was personally failing because she was not doing well at getting him to learn the way the course taught it.
After some time, my wife became upset and came to me and tried to get me to make our son do it the way the typing program taught it. After a couple of trials at getting him to try and submit to the way the typing program taught it I realized we had a problem that wasn’t a result of disobedience. It wasn’t so much a problem with him resisting the typing program as it was having trouble re-training his fingers to do it a different way and how much of a stuggle that was for him.
After praying about it I came back to my wife and told her we should rethink the way we were doing it. I told her I wasn’t so inclined to force my son to do it a different way than he had learned, after all, learning typing wasn’t a real skill he would be doing on a daily basis in the way, perhaps, a secretary might use it. If he could type a resonable amount of words and punctuation correctly with an acceptable rate of error would it really make any difference whether or not he had learned a conventional way of doing it? Was our real goal to make him a professional typer or to just be able to use the skill to a reasonable extent for his own everyday use?
We sat our son down and made him do the typing test contained in the program which would test his typing speed and error rates. My wife’s and my ability is 50-60 words per minute with a reasonable rate of error. She has been typing for 30 years and I have been typing for 38. We felt our own ability, though not great, would be an acceptable amount to expect from him. Our oldest son, who learned to type using the program and with the program’s typing style, is able to do 70 words per minute so we hoped for at least our own amount of wpm but would be pleased if he typed as fast as his older brother.
After several tests, the outcome surprised us. Our youngest son was able to type between 65 and 73 wpm, and that was using a system he had learned using mostly 3 fingers per hand. He was also able to do it with a lower rate of error than I was and even typing numbers and symbols. I made the decision to scrap the typing program. My goal wasn’t to make him conform to the program’s standards or my own. It was for him to be able to produce things in writing and that was the best we could hope from the typing program to start with.
Somehow my son had done something on his own that sums up one of my thoughts on life itself and learning. God has made all of us different in so many ways. Each of us has our own gifts and talents. We often try to make others conform to our own way of thinking instead of appreciating the differences which God has put in any one of us. Because of conformity though, we are made to adapt to an environment that is man-made and artificial. This is true of the church too which tries to conform everyone to it’s own way of thinking instead of Christ’s.
I read a book several years ago on how to survive in the wilderness. It was a survival guide for catastrophe’s that might occur and was pretty much useless because the drawings and discriptions were so bad I don’t think anyone would be able to tell the difference between a poisonous plant and a edible one. What I did take away from the book though was this one idea: the environment we live in is not a natural one but an artificial one created by man. People trained to work in this environment often cannot adapt to a natural one. The writer stated people often die in catastrophes with food right next to them they could have eaten but they didn’t recognize it as food. The members of the Body Of Christ are dying today from the same old “milk” and not “meat” of God’s word because of the artificial environment created by man and not God, and the meat is right next to them and they can’t see it.
The problem is we take our mentality of conforming into the church. When we should conform to Jesus Christ, we in reality conform to the church as an institution. This is why we do not speak out when we see injustices, wrong doctrine, and out right lies in our church leaders and others, and why it becomes so difficult to leave when we do see it. Our church structure is such that one cannot question those in charge. Yet the apostle Paul calls us all part of Christ body and members in particular. We are not to be the arm of the body if we are called to be the feet. It is difficult for us to leave one particular environment because we are being forced to conform to a particular way of thinking and believing. Those who do not conform are ridiculed, ostracized, and criticised, and labeled as heretics.
The word heretic has often been used to mean a bad thing. Paul, I believe, uses it to mean a good thing. He says “heresies must arise so that they which are approved would be made manifest among you.” The leadership has always spoken of this as a way for them to judge and cast out those who disagree with their teachings. I do not think this is what Paul means although it could mean this too. Instead, I believe it could also mean that God is the one who is in charge, and these disagreements need to arise so God himself might put his seal of approval on those whom he chooses to manifest his own wisdom, and that might not be the pastor, because the paster can be wrong too. This idea that the pastor, or elders are always right is just not Biblical and I believe puts power in the person God never intended them to have. God did not appropriate all of his truth in the pastor in the original churches. The church at Corinth is an example. If he did, then why would he mention the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, and prophecy as though they were given to several people, (i.e. let the prophets speak one at a time). There is very little, if any, that even says a pastor should preach, let alone speak truth, unless they were given one of these gifts of the spirit. I just don’t see that kind of gift invested in the pastor, elders, deacons, or teachers alone. It especially does not exist in denominations which are nothing more than cookie manufacturers designed with the cookie cutting mentality to make all believers conform to them. What is really funny to watch is the fundamentalists who call the denominations wrong for doing this when they have the same mentality of criticizing those who won’t conform to them.
God planned to distribute his gifts, severally, as he willed. The cookie cutter mentality that exists in the body of Christ to conform to institutionalized doctrine and programs is an artificial environment that, unfortunately, exists for all the same reasons and the same purpose as worldly institutions, only with the supposed goal of conforming to Christ. But does any of us really know what that means? All of us are at different stages in the knowledge of Christ and we are members in particular, and we need to stop trying to conform everyone else to be like us. I personally believe God gave very little information about the real structure and discription of the early church because he didn’t want us to become cookie cut carbon copies of them, but rather of Christ. He wants to do something different with each member and each church in the body of Christ,and that should excite us. We should not be conforming to our environment; our environment should be conforming to us and we should be conforming to Christ. Although our doctrine should be the same as Paul’s teachings, we have great diversity within that environment,which is not artificial but created by Christ himself.
In short, what I am saying is the compartmentalized…programs, youth groups, outreaches, door-to-door ministries are all man-made and artificial; not God made. They are artificial in that they often copy worldly institutions ways of making the body conform to it’s structure and way of thinking, often through peer pressure, and not the Bible or Christ’s, [“Let us all wear the same school uniforms and march the same way to class” like kids in a Catholic school].
I once heard a Pastor who said the institution of the church has as much freedom it needs to create whatever structure it wants since God has left so many things open for the church to make it’s own decisions in this area of doctrine, but in doing this so many churches have become legalistic, with the pastor as high commander of ‘his ship’ and everything he says must be followed to the letter. If anyone of his followers turn to the right of left of what he says,either he or the elders of the church are ready to squash those who would oppose him. I say this is wrong. I believe God left so many things unexplained because he wanted the church to live freely in Christ without the abundance of rules and restraints, and the church should not restrain any more in it’s teachings than our own apostle Paul did in his letters. If they do more than that then they are disobedient to Christ because Christ himself makes no such restrictions. Things like church membership, for instance, in which you become members by specifically agreeing to a set of doctrines and being accepted to the roll call of a church is extending church control above and beyond what Christ himself has allowed. It makes for steady income to support a career path for the pastors and paying bills of the institutionalized church who has submitted itself to the corporate responsibilities of a business to the state, but it isn’t the church Christ started through the apostle Paul. If we make more demands of believers than what our apostle does then we are perverting the word of God and deceiving believers to follow our own man-made doctrines and not that of Christ. How will the building which these men have built stand in the day of Christ at his judgement seat when tried by fire? Is not such teaching adding to the word of God?
Written 04/07/14. Topic=Chistian Walk
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