Leaving Organized Religion
This post and the next one are longer than most, but I wanted to share with you part of my journey that got me where I am today.
Several years ago, something in my husband’s spirit and mine wasn’t resonating with the church we were attending. After volleying back and forth about what we were feeling, we decided to take break. We needed to see clearly. We resolved to dwell in God’s pure truth away from the doctrines of man, his opinions, philosophies and cares and explore what we were sensing.
In the quiet away from the opinions of man we probed God’s heart . . .what is going on? Why are we feeling this way? We had been deeply integrated into the church; participating in Bible studies, home groups, and helping out at the church. We had built friendships and had become a part of their lives as they had ours. Over the next couple of months, God moved things more into focus. After we were gone for a couple of months, we decided to return to see if the Spirit would confirm once more what we felt. How patient He is with us. It was clear, leave. The break ended up being an exodus from the church system.
In the following months, the questioning looks and tone of disapproval from my previous pew pals revealed what was in their thoughts, I had fallen to the wayside. And rightly so, many who leave the church leave God too. They think the two are one, which is a grave travesty. It was difficult knowing the opposite was true. It felt strange to be the odd man out, but I knew I was doing what God wanted and that is what mattered most.
With no one else to depend on, the Spirit became my trusted teacher. With the Bible and a piece of paper, I poured out my heart and began to listen for the first time. I wrote down my thoughts, fears, prayers, and questions. I read, sought, asked, and waited on the answers. God started to unfold the truth before my eyes. My trust in Him was tested, refined and strengthen and in time my relationship with Him grew into something I had never imagined, something wonderful, real, powerful and amazing. He taught me percept upon percept and started to put together His truths into a perfect puzzle of understanding. It was like someone had lifted the veil from His Word and the truth started pouring out.
As for the church, I continued to seek for understanding to why God didn’t want me in the church. When I say church I am speaking of the Institutional church, the church system, not the true body of believers who hold the spirit of God. They are two different things. Churches are full of believers and not. I wondered if other believers where experiencing a similar thing. After some searching around, I found other believers were feeling a similar thing. One in particular that resonated with how I felt was Len Hjalmarson. Then I thought something is going on and I dug deeper.
At dubious moments, I wondered if I had heard God correctly. Is the church that far off that I shouldn’t be there? The church has always had major flaws, it is made up of humans after all. And I haven’t met a perfect one yet. Those flaws are what kept Paul so busy as he tried to keep things straight. So what is the difference now? But every time I asked, the answer was the same. Piece by piece the answers started to come and He is still putting the pieces together.
To get a better perspective of any situation you have to pull back to get a bird’s eye view. Having been out of the system for about four years now, I see a change happening. In general, the church is moving further away from its original purpose, it has become corrupt and overgrown with weeds of lies. Lies that steal life instead of give it. What is good has become profane, a cherished relationship has become a set of rules for moral living, and freedom is traded for bondage.
As a result of what is occurring in the church, a shift is happening. God is moving and becoming our sanctuary, not a system corrupted by man’s doctrine. Just as He said He would in Ezekiel. (Chapter 34) The church is no longer the one to feed, nourish, provide and protect His people. He is calling His people to Himself to be their Rock. With the wide spread availability of the Word and the Spirit residing in the souls of His people, God has moved in as the Good Shepherd, Teacher, Provider, and Protector. He is opening up the scriptures to laymen, like me, and is revealing Himself in mighty ways, outside of the church system.
To be continued . . .