I am a self-imposed Christian outcast which means I have rejected churchianity, religiousity and most, if not all, of the doctrine that requires loyalty to a rule-of-law as determined and set forth by a group that has taken upon itself the responsibility to define and redefine Christianity–yet again. For the last two millennia there have been many multiples of Christian sects rise up to this onerous task and usually with one earnest and dedicated individual as the originator and guiding force. Sects come and then they go only to morph into new interpretations and incarnations. Sometimes they are so well disguised beneath layers of righteous sounding dogma they are almost even better than Christ Himself so that even the Elect could be fooled by the dazzle, and, indeed, often they are. From a spiritual stand point, one doesn't have to make a huge leap to see Satan's hand and motive in devising a new, better, improved, more sincere, more holy, more devout, more inspiring, more physically and spiritually healthy, thus even-better-at-getting-salvation, creed in order to first attract and then detract the masses. While the masses generally are more drawn to the dynamic improved doctrine that blurs the lines between human accountability and forgiveness, there are just as many seekers who are willing to embrace the more rigid, striving for perfection, self-denial based gospel. But do these not fall under the guise of "another gospel" we are warned to be wary of in 2 Corinthians 11:4 ? - For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
The point is that people are inclined to flock to whatever feels right and comforts self. While some are predisposed to sidestep the concept of sin and guilt, others desire to believe they can overcome sin and guilt by adhering to clearly delineated guidelines that promise to result in personal perfect goodness. While one offers unfettered freedom from guilt, the other devises yet new ways to feel guilty. Even at opposite poles from each other, both types of religiosity call to individual basic internal needs that have nothing to do with desire to follow Christ. The Devil is always in the details of self-interest.
Neither of these extremes or the many compromises in between work for me, nor feeds or matures me in the spirit, or draws me closer to Christ, thus I choose to be an outcast rather than travel far and wide searching for THE RIGHT church. What I learned from my now abandoned quest for True Truth, is that the concept that Christ can speak to and guide an individual who is not conjoined to or affiliated with an organized religion cannot co-exist with the self-righteous determination that the Holy Spirit only communicates with paid subscribers or their leader.
What I have discovered, in my self-imposed exile from religion, in order to regain my footing, is that I have had to go all the way back to basics starting with drastically simplifying my faith. I had to scrape off the sticky layers and fine-tune it back to the original child-like belief I had at the very beginning of my walk with Christ. I lopped off the excess baggage that I picked up on every new expedition into redefining what it means to be a true Christian. Further, I had to stop being someone who knows how to use the buzz words, the religious language, and step out of the facade of what is suitably recognized and acceptable as the personae of a born-again Christ follower. And last, but not least, I had to stop believing that everyone who calls him/herself a Christian really is. From that point, I was able to refocus and repair my frayed lifeline to Christ. That's when I had to get quiet, turn down the religious noise, open up the dark corners of my heart for God to search, and get real humble.
I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind but now I see...
In order to make my way back to the peace that passes all understanding, I had to first admit that I had been working so hard at shaping myself into a true Christian I had forgotten that becoming and being a Christian is not about me at all. As I was sorting through all this, I had an epiphany one day, while driving in my car, listening to a new CD called The Love of God by Kenny Rogers. It is a wonderful combination of old gospel songs updated with a couple of new ones. But I'm driving and listening and suddenly I am pierced to my core with a profound ache for the way things used to be; the old faith, the faith that was simple, uncomplicated, just dear hearts believing in God's promise to abide with us even when we struggle and hurt and can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Faith like the old folks who gathered on Sunday mornings and sang What a Friend We Have in Jesus and Leaning on the Everlasting Arm. These were the precious lovers of God who lived their simple faith without a script or formula, the kind that didn't need fleshly strivings to perfection mind/body/soul, thus they were not in constant internal conflict over what to do, what not to do. They weren't perfect, just Dearhearts who trusted like children that God guides us perfectly when we are willing to move over and give Him the wheel.
So, my goal now is to be less an Outcast Christian and more a Dearheart Christian. I want a simple, uncomplicated, no-strings-attached, unwavering faith. I don't need a new religion, established to satisfy a modern view, or a new interpretation founded on reinvention of old law in order to have a relationship with Christ. Neither simple nor complex, I just need an honest heart for Christ and total belief that He is willing and waiting to step in when I am ready to stop making my relationship with Him more about me than Him. I realize this decision to disconnect is a singular personal choice and not for everyone but then that is the real point. True Christianity resides within a heart that hears HIs voice and does, doesn't, goes or stays on His command alone according to His will. When we are truly tuned-in we discover each of us has a dedicated frequency.
Now that's a concept!
1 Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.