Not unlike in the Truman show, we churched have allowed the professional clergy to create a fictitious societal bubble … and then trap us in it. Complete with extra biblical concepts like ecclesiastical furniture, membership requirements, liturgies, worship services, responsive readings, and on and on. While these things may not all be inherently harmful, they’re nothing more than 2,000 years of modified traditions. Living in the bubble, we tend to think that either everyone lives like us, or that only our way is “correct”. Any portion of either position is unfortunate … at best.
It gets worse. Unfortunately, most of us churched not only live in the small bubble of our local congregation and our denomination, we also live inside a bigger bubble of the most myopic people group God ever created, Americans. We Americans are utterly consumed with ourselves. We are after all the center of the world. And New York is the world’s most important city! We typically either watch CNN and MSNBS … or Fox. We rarely view the BBC. Why should we?
As Americans we live in a bubble.
As Christian Americans we live in a double bubble.
As members of some denomination inside of Christendom … inside America … well you get the point.
Trying to help anyone inside the bubble(s) recognize that they’re even in a bubble, is best characterized by the dilemma in the Matrix. Inside is the dream world. One you can’t detect. In the movie, Neo had a suspicion that something was amiss. Perhaps you do as well? Like the movie, it’s very hard to simply “tell” someone about the bubble. The mind resists that with all its energy. Like the Matrix, most people have to be shown what the bubble is, and what it’s like outside the bubble.
Not unlike Neo, my wife and I got “flushed” by God. It was just about as traumatic. The mental anguish as we tried to reckon our new reality made us nauseated just as it did Neo. It took time (years) to recognize what God was showing us. Now outside, it’s simple to see. We’re glad to be free.
Outside the bubble, there is no such thing as “denomination”. Someone once asked the question “Is Christ divided”? There is no such thing as a “worship service”. The highest form of worship is loving God’s children. Any of them. That act brings the highest possible honor to Him. Songs and skits are often dynamic, none of which are wrong to do, but not in any way mandated in the NT. It’s nothing more than our “tradition” … inside the bubble. Outside the bubble, there is no such thing as a “head pastor”. Just Jesus. Outside the bubble, there’s no need for a “south campus”. Those are typically the egos of the “head pastor” gone amuck.
Outside the bubble, there is just the church … and she “is”. She needs nothing. She just is. Just as a tree is. You don’t have to “manage” the tree. It does what trees are supposed to do. It is after all, a tree. The church is after all, the church. The church is by definition all those round the world who are “known” by God, those who desire Him. There may be a small handful here in one congregation and another handful there in another congregation, none of which have any real power because they’re in their own bubbles and don’t connect with each other regionally, nationally, or globally.
After the church comes out, those who subsequently come to be known by Him will, by definition, know each other. For the first time ever, the new young “church” will be unified and powerful. God will break our self created bubble(s).
The good news is that from outside one can re-enter, as in the Matrix, and love folks trapped inside. We don’t even need a land line phone! God moves us about … at His will.