Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Being the Body You Were Born For

The classic story of the ugly duckling tells about an abused duckling, who is run off the farm by his friends and his family to live outside his home. This duckling is too different from his peers to be accepted. So he wanders about for a long time, being rejected by crowd after crowd until he finally decides to approach the beautiful swans. The duckling figures that being such a beastly sight these kings of the birds will peck him to death, but instead as he approaches them, he looks into the water to see in his own reflection that he has matured into a beautiful swan as well, and he is accepted and finds peace finally being among his own.

Since my high school years, through college, working in a church, and my time since then, I have always felt like an ugly duckling in church. I relate to being pecked at by the people I thought were family. I am used to being discarded and patronized as a radical who doesn't understand the way things really work. I am thought of as being fringe and crazy. Yet, I can not change because I think the Christian faith IS CRAZY!!! As Andrew Shearman says, " Of course we are crazy, we believe in someone we haven't seen. We follow dreams. Either you're all crazy... or else God is actually trying to do something." I have never been fit in with those who are well domesticated.

The problem is not the people in the institutional church, it is the very institution itself. I had a high school teacher who told us, "institutions are threatened by movements which become institutions that are threatened by movements." The church is an institution, make no mistake it is not a body, it is not a branch of a vine. It is a hierarchical system of power that promotes those that succeed, and goes to war to against those that threaten the power base of the system.

Christ's church is not to be an institution. Christ's church is not to be a movement. Christ's church is not to be a religious system. Hans Kuhn wrote, "Christ came to start a Kingdom and all we gave him was a church" His church was never meant to be anything but the body of Christ on earth. The church when she pretends to be anything other than a body, with Christ as it's head has lost her way and become a family a squabbling pecking domesticated ducks, when she was meant to be a glorious band of swans.

I won't be an ugly duckling anymore, I am the adopted prince of the King of Ages, an heir to Kingdom of Heaven, with all authority given to me to claim a crown of righteousness. There is no place for a swan in the farmers duck pin. I will not be fed the farmers grain, when there is a world of lakes for me to feast in. I will not be kept in a pin, when soaring is my creator's intention. The institution that has replaced the body of Christ feeds people a cheap white bread version of Christianity and keeps them safe in fences of their creeds and doctrines. The duck patch is a safe place for ducklings, but it just won't do for those who want to rise up and seek out the richness of their destiny.

I am going out from here to live out the nature of Christ. I am going to be crushed by the word of God, to have my limited nature wrecked by the magnitude of a limitless God. I am soaring through the skies to hear God speak. I do not want the protection and scholarship of the institution, if it keeps from from being in the heavens of intimacy with my God.

The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand it, we must act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church's prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. - Soren Kikergard

I believe Andrew Shearman wraps everything I am trying to say up perfectly in the next sentence of the sermon I quoted earlier, "If we decide to actually cooperate with him it will happen" I am finished trying to fit into the duck pin, and ready to cooperate with God, to be a people who reflects his present incarnation on earth.

I will by the grace of God, BE the body I was born for.

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