Closing Rally!

Mt Vernon 913 119

Well here we are at the end of our road trip, our journey of discovery where we explored that little theory I posed last week.  I hope you have enjoyed the trip we have taken together, whether you like my theory or not, for if nothing else, we considered some interesting topics, topics that deserve our thought from time to time.

The other day, Sunday to be exact, I was speaking with another guy about a class we had just left.  It was a history class on a certain sequence of events that took place in the first decade of the 20th century.  There were these guys who decided to write papers, articles, publish magazines and essays on some very important issues within the church.  Some of these great issues were the types of buildings people should worship in, whether or not you can have musical instruments in worship, Missionary Societies, and various other issues of a similar nature. In those days, they postulated significant Biblical arguments either in support of these things or in opposition to these things; both sides of these debates participated.  Both sides were convinced of their rightness, both sides were very assertive… And they succeeded in dividing God’s people on a very large-scale. Some of these debates had been going on for 40 years, and when they ended… or have they? …many Christian brothers were not on speaking terms.

All during these decades, church leaders were arguing, debating, fighting, disputing over these kinds of things, destroying their relationships, neglecting God’s priorities: Love God, love your neighbor, make disciples… We had to agree that while these things may have been important to the people in the fight, they were nowhere to be found in Scripture, and couldn’t be considered God’s priorities.  We also agreed that there are some things about which the Bible is not very clear, but that the things that are important to God are very clear indeed in the Scriptures. One of those things about which the Bible is quite clear is argument, disputes, dissentions and divisions.

What I take from that fact is that there are many things upon which Christians may disagree, but that we must not indulge our selfish pride and divide God’s church. Can we practically come to blows with each other over some fine point of doctrine, when we are in His presence?  Will we dispute with our neighbor to such a degree that we cannot have fellowship with him, when we are supposed to love him?  Will we damage the Body of Christ while proclaiming that we love Him? The thing those guys back in the 1900’s were really fighting over, were really their traditions, anyway.  Why oh why do we act this way so often?

I think we do this because it is our natural human nature.  People argue about everything, from sports to movies, to music, to poitics and sadly to the Bible.  Pride, self…rebellion, wanting to be like the Most High God… This is a good time to insert the original theory…

“Christian theology is not particularly difficult to understand.  Its precepts and premises are fairly simple, it was given to “regular” guys to share with the world, and they did it.  Yes, of course they had a lot of help from the Holy Spirit, but then so do we. Yet we love to argue, follow tradition and form to avoid spiritual growth and reaching out, because they are counter-intuitive, and the fact that they are counter-intuitive is exactly the point of all things being new, for our human intuition isn’t new, it’s the old thing that Jesus died to free us from.”

God’s ways are not like our natural ways and inclinations.  In Christ, all things are new, the old is gone and the new has arrived.   Our “natural man” has other ideas, and desperately tries to move us away from God’s path, for God’s path is new, strange, scary and counter-intuitive.  The “natural man” would rather keep things the way they’ve always been, so he yearns for disputes, or safe havens like predictability, traditions, paperwork, rules, regulations to avoid leaving the old comfort zone, where spiritual growth is not to be found.  Yes sir, that really is the point, afer it’s all been said and done.

Well dear reader, that’s about all she wrote!  Agree or disagree, that’s up to you.  In either case, I’ll end with three questions as promised:

1. Is God speaking to you in this study?

2. If so, what is He saying?

3. What are you going to do about it?

It’s been a great pleasure having you along, see you next time!


About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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13 Responses to Closing Rally!

  1. dyfedwyn says:

    If we have God in us then that must work it’s way out in our lives to some extent. But there can be a battle at times!

  2. robsblogname says:

    Really great post, and you are so right about all of the “leaders” who just fight and argue! Let’s just seek Him and follow where HE leads!

  3. paulfg says:

    Don – just loved travelling with you. And apart from the main thrust of your words, a phrase lit up (man, am I using that phrase now?) in me:

    “Seek God’s presence through constantly talking to God as you go through your day. IT IS REALLY HARD WORK TO BE TICKED OFF IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD!” (my caps / your post – Relationships … with God).

    Always thought it was bit wimpy to be rabbiting all day to the lord. Yet your comment went Boom in my heart. And I have tried it since. You have hit on something really powerful in my life. His presence is both uplifting and dampening – a check and balance through the day’s expected and unexpected. Wow!

    For the wonderfully refreshing journey, thank you. For that insight, bless you.

  4. Little Monk says:

    * shakes head laughing * I’m so sorry, Don. You’ve done SUCH a great job with this whole thing, and this wrap up is fantastic and you KNOW how deeply my heart agrees… but something you said gave me such conviction, I just had to laugh from then til now…

    You know that my worldview is of us as “boisterous beloved Children” living and growing up in God’s House, under His parenting, being developed into the Functional Prince/Princess that can represent His interests and go out into the world (carrying Christ within) to conduct His Family Business of rescue of the broken, and retrieval of other children needing His love… Well, MUCH of the time, THIS boisterous child is “scrapping, arguing… generally being a pain” causing ruckus in the House. (Moreso in the past than these days… finally learned some manners by now, but I still sit at the “Children’s Table” on holidays)…

    Anyway, remember when you were on a “Road Trip” with your own small kids (if you were so graced)… and that “stuff” would “start”? “Will youstoppokingme! Daddy! Make him stop POKING me!” and the “Are we THERE yet?”… and the “That’s MINE… no, MINE!”…. and of course, the infamous… “I’m HUNGRY… when are we STOPPING?” … all done in a nasal whine that grates on that “one nerve” you have left? And it goes on…. And you tell them to cut it out. And it goes on some more… and you tell them you’ve had enough?… And it goes on, beyond all endurance. And comes that “Final Warning”? “Don’t make me pull this car over!” ?

    Haven’t we all been there? We all know what happens if we push it enough to hear the crunch of gravel under the tires, as that car pulls over in a wooded area that grants a bit of privacy from the road, right? OK, we won’t discuss that, then.

    Well, my brothers and sisters… for MUCH of my life, including my ministry life, I have been that ill-behaved child, that whiny little brat, in the back seat… CONSTANTLY scrapping and whining and moaning. So there we are, Kingdom… traveling down the road of life day by day… me in back with a bunch of my equally obstreperous brothers and sisters shouting and arguing about every passing thing, the Father driving (as He always does), the Eldest Brother Firstborn riding shotgun (as He always does), Spirit fueling and motivating the trip (as He always does)…

    And I have heard the Father intone, “Last warning, Little Monk: DON’T MAKE ME PULL THIS KINGDOM OVER!”

    Now, Don, SOMETIMES, that was enough and I settled down. BUT, I regret to say, that was not always the case. And I have heard the crunch of gravel. And I have made that short little walk into the brush. And I, too have discovered, the truth of the Apostle Paul’s observations in Hebrews 12:4-11, returning to the car vastly subdued, with sniffles and hiccups as Daddy buckled me back into my seat. And in those moments, I always noted and resented the fact that it was only US, only the “family kids” who had to take that walk… never “neighbor kids” if any were with us.

    But you know what? * Brightens up considerably! * I GOT IT! I GET IT! Eventually, I, even hard-headed as I am, and however many walks I had to take…. I got the point! The Father is not nearly so concerned about our “getting efficiently from Point A to Point B on this Road Trip”… as He intends us to “Enjoy the Journey Together”.

    When the fighting, the griping, the whining, the arguing… make everyone’s journey a living misery… then the whole point is missed entirely. It’s BEING with the Father, Son, Spirit as we journey together… and seeing and sharing what we see and share.

    Yup, I make very few such “walks” these days. And the Father seldom has to do much more than “clear His throat” at me from the Driver’s Seat. But, once in a while, from time to time, we will still hear the words… “Don’t make Me pull this Kingdom over!”

    And far too frequently, we still make the gravel crunch.

    Grace to thee — LM

    • Don Merritt says:

      Little Monk, this is a wonderful illustration of how our walk should be. Yes, we disagree on things ans we might squabble and carp from time to time, like all children do; quite right. But… I think you left something out of your quote (next LM comment) and that just happens to be the set-up line, the first sentence from that paragraph. Your (very charming, yes I remember those days both as the driver and the annoying kid) example is the right one for the first part of that sentence, the part up to the “but”. The rest of my little rant refers to what comes next, and my point was that this particular group of children aren’t even in the car, they’ve run off on their own to everyone’s distress.

      • Little Monk says:

        Ah, YES! Well, I’ve had enough “embarrassing recollections” for one day. Not even gonna TOUCH the consequences when we “run away from home”! Ever been there? I was, once. Not one of my happier memories. lol. We’ll save that for another day… — LM

        • Don Merritt says:

          Well I never ran away as a kid exactly, but I have tried to run away from God. As I recall, I deleted a whole book manuscript from my computer in the process!

          It’s good to be back home!

  5. Little Monk says:

    “Can we practically come to blows with each other over some fine point of doctrine, when we are in His presence? Will we dispute with our neighbor to such a degree that we cannot have fellowship with him, when we are supposed to love him? Will we damage the Body of Christ while proclaiming that we love Him?”

    Btw: That quotation from your post is what prompted my comment. — LM

  6. bwdell says:

    2. What is he saying? That I haven’t yet begun to plumb the depths of God’s word and ways.
    3. What am I going to do? Continue reading through the whole Bible this year and depend on the Spirit to open my eyes to the truth (with help from others).

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