Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"Church" as a Stage of Development...

Some thoughts this afternoon ...

Wondering if "church" (both historically and personally speaking) isn't a necessary stage of development, in both our personal and collective maturity..?

It seems that children see themselves as one-with-all until the age of differentiation (~ 7 yo), and then they seem to need group-think -- to be aligned with the identity of "people like me." And, as I've observed, a great many people remain in that group-think mentality-ghetto ... needing to conform/comply with the group-think in order to feel a sense of safety and belongingness.

Then, there is meant to come, as a healthy development, a stage of becoming an independent being ... a time of "wilderness" ... of learning self-identity.

Then, it seems, that a truly marvelous thing can happen ... when the individual again sees itself as belonging to the Whole (outside of group-think) ... the beingness of "in Christ." Coming to see God as all in all ... when the illusions of separation and division fall away.

It seems to me that Christianity/Church represents group-think -- an important and purposeful stage of development -- but not a final destination.

It seems to me that despising our former stages (whether infancy, childhood, or young adulthood) is both unhealthy and detrimental ... I don't see God despising the very reality He set up for us ... perhaps that hate-energy that we can tend to put into who/where we once were is causing us harm, and halting our growth. I'm seeing a need to accept all stages as necessary and relevant -- and purposeful for the journey.

Perhaps all things really DO work together for our good, as we are transformed into that state of being called "in Christ"...?

Just my thoughts .. for what it's worth.

Shalom, Dena


little castle said...

I have found much of this to be true in my life and agree with the not despising the stages you have passed through. I don't regret the church stage in my life and feel it did bring me to a deeper understanding of what I do want/need now.

dena said...

Yet-more freedom, no?

I'm seeing that the One Inclusive God leads me to internal inclusion, as well as external inclusion ... such peace!

Shalom, Dena

Grace said...

Just talking about this last night. How some people need the security, the congruity, the sameness of having a pastor (who learned from a seminary, who set down on paper the "doctrines", the "do's and don'ts" ) so there is something permanent, concrete to stand on, no swimming in the sea of uncertainty, no swimming in ambiguity, no being tossed around by questions and ponderances, just go and see what the pastor/elders, church board, the National Denominational Board, says about any issue or topic and then just camp there, in the safe and in the group.

It does make sense to see how the IC has become what it is today and how human desire for "answers" and "safety" in belonging, and having a rock to cling to, and how easily we focus on the outer irritation instead of looking within for the deeper cause of the problem.

We are all told how kids need structure, rules, boundaries to feel safe and in which to freely grow. The IC provides that.


little castle said...

Definitely more freedom.

Well said and yes, such peace. =)

dena said...

Anna -

Yes, and the IC works hard to keep folks in a state of immature dependency -- rather than growing up in to maturity.

Funny - God created us in His own image, and then we return the favor. He wants relationship, but we insist upon an institution to serve us. Problem is, the institution becomes a machine that must be served ... and so religion becomes all about *doing* ... and we stay on that treadmill, exhausting ourselves with the need to conform, comply, and earn God's pleasure.

All He ever wanted was for us to *be* in relationship with Him. The only doing that's worthwhile is that which flows out of beingness.

I'm so delighted that we're all waking up...!

Keep shaking us awake, God...!

Shalom, Dena

annie said...

as i've contemplated the role of "church" (community) in our lives, i've come to this thought...

love is a team sport. belief is an individual event.

it's when we get the two crossed up that we miss the point. selah :)

dena said...

Oh! Brilliant, Annie!

So, when we get the two confused, we end up with group-think and spiritual masturbation..?

(couldn't resist!)

Shalom, Dena

MysticBrit said...

I'm coming to love and embrace all the 'stages' of this wonderful process, because I know by doing so I'm fully accepting myself as Who I Really Am. And everyone around me benefits when that happens. Amen to all, Dena.