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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Feeling trapped and excluded by expectations and cultural norms

Expectations… Division… Not being accepted… Programs… Ceremony… Rules… Membership… Time constraints… Image… Guilt… Check lists… Peer pressure… Not knowing any different… CHURCH.

 

A friend recently wrote to me about a situation she is having with the religious organization she has been meeting with for some time now.  It seems that the paid leader of this organization is unhappy with her actions and decisions to not fall into place with the expectations of the organization.  She has been told she is not free to not make her own decisions while in this building of the religious organization.  She has been told that if she does not assimilate herself to the expectations that she will not be allowed to participate in other portions of their organization.  She has been told she is different and that she doesn’t fit.  This is suppose to be a group that represents the Heavenly Father, but so far I haven’t seen Him there from her experience.

I am sad to say I once was a part of an organization like this, that I thought this was the way to represent and serve the Father, that those who didn’t commit to it were lost and confused.  I didn’t know any different nor any better.  But Father slowly showed me a different way, with no rules, no men as rulers, do dividing fences, no expectations, no man made stuff.  I am free.  Oh how I wish all could find themselves free, living loved by the Father, encouraged by His family here on earth.

I see that God wants us to feel the love and acceptance and encouragement that comes from being in His family.  I see that it is meant to be simple in structure… think family size.  That yes we will come together from time to time in larger gatherings… family reunions, camping, picnics, work bees, celebrations, festivals of remembrance… but that true treasure is in the smallness and simplicity of being family and living LIFE together.  LIFE!! - not once a week gathering and being spoken to and singing.  LIFE… everydayness life!

And this LIFE is to not only be shared with others in His Family but with those who are not yet Family, those who the Father shows you need His love and He needs you to give them His love for Him.   Your neighbor, your grocery clerk, your children, your banker, your relatives, your fellow congregation members, … a stranger in need.  They need you to share His love so that they can see they have a Father as well that loves them.  He loves them and He wants them to know that and to learn to live loved so they can also pass on that love.

It is about LOVE… not rules, not ceremony, not programs and buildings.  Love in action, in everyday life.  It is so simple.  Yet we somehow miss it because of its simplicity.

 

So my friend if you are reading this… if you don’t fit in this organization, then feel free to leave… shake the dust from your sandals and move on to where God leads.  (Matthew 10 - 11 Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.)  It sounds like this “house” does not welcome you… let your peace return to you.  <3

1 comment:

LoriD said...

I have never read anything so disturbing (your friends situation) and anything so beautiful (your response and what church really is supposed to be), well done my friend and a most beautiful response.