I have been having a hard time writing lately in part because all I have say is, “I’m miserable and I’m dying and why doesn’t God care about me and I’m miserable and I’ve been abandoned and I’m being ground up into dust and Jesus Christ on the cross – this is never going to eeeeennnnnnddddd!” But really, I’ve said it all before and who wants to hear (or write) that crap over and over again?
Well, this morning I came across a blog post written by Frank Viola in which he shared a message for Christians in the wilderness. There are A LOT of us in the wilderness right now. I know that a lot of you are in the wilderness. In fact, I could be way wrong, but from where I’m sitting, I would say that it seems like the better part of the body of Christ that is faithful to Jesus’ way (as opposed to faithful to their theology) are in the wilderness at the moment.
So Frank said something in his message to those of us wandering in the wilderness which frankly, I had never heard before. He said that there is always a price to pay in order to leave the wilderness. Often it is, as he put it “an obscenely high price”:
We have a biological drive for God’s house. We have a spiritual taste for it. We have a longing, a biological instinct, if you will, driving us to our destiny. And we will never be satisfied until we make the decision, no matter what the cost, to be part of God’s building work.
That cost may involve the loss of friends. It may mean harassment or shunning from religious leaders. It may mean vicious and ugly rumors, slander, and gossip. It may mean walking in the steps of Abraham, who left all and headed for a city that he could not see.
It may involve selling our comfortable home and leaving our present job to relocate to another city where there are living stones who are being assembled to form God’s house. (I’ve moved in the past for this. And many of my friends have as well.)
It may involve gross misunderstanding, criticism, and perhaps thornier problems like persecution.
(You should go read the whole thing when you’re done with this!) Like I said, this is a new idea to me. I always thought that following God into the wilderness was the price we paid. I never thought of having to pay a price to get out. But as I read these words it hit my that perhaps this is exactly why I have been stuck in the wilderness for so long.
You see, I’ve been holding back quite a bit. There are things I have been taught and shown over the years that I don’t share. Because they are too radical. By sharing them, I would be cutting myself off from nice, respectable Christianity. I write things all the time which challenge people, but I’ve been very careful not to write the sort of things I fear would get me dismissed out of hand. But maybe that’s the price I haven’t been willing to pay. And that’s why I haven’t been able to find my way of this God-awful wilderness.
Now, I want to be clear that I’m not saying that the things I’ve written here have been deceptive or untrue. Not at all. But I’ve held back. Like I said, there are things I have been shown and taught in prayer, meditation and even a vision sort of thing or two. And I’ve always known that I wasn’t being given these things just for myself. At some point they would be for others as well, but surely God would create a nice, safe way for that to happen. Something that wasn’t going to cost me too much, right? Because that’s the way he works, right? (I just rolled my eyes so hard I now know what my medulla oblongata looks like.)
Well, I’m about to die in this wilderness. So maybe making myself sound like a crazy person and setting myself up for ridicule and accusations and losing a bunch of my readers is the price I need to pay to get the hell out of here. Oh well. Fuck it. If that’s what it takes, so be it.
So, in the next couple of weeks, I’m going to really be turning a lot of your worlds upside down. In a good way. A very good way. We’re going to talk about what is wrong with us, what really happened in the garden, how Jesus was born without original sin, what is going on with our souls and bodies, how the way we raise our kids will either lift or perpetuate the curse, the coming tribulation and new heaven and earth being made manifest among us and whatever else I can think of that I haven’t been willing to let loose with up to now. And some of you are going to say, “that makes so much sense! Praise God!” And some of you are going to say, “blasphemy!” And some of you just won’t be too impressed anyways. But it’s not like any of you are paying my damn bills anyhow, so I love y’all, but whatever. I’m getting the flock outta here. Anyone who wants to join me is welcome to follow.
Stay tuned, y’all. It’s about to get interesting up in here.