The last few years we have seen an exodus from organized religion as people became increasingly aware of their freedom in Christ. There remains an opposition as many clergy stomp their feet and pound their pulpits to demand that “god” commands people to go to church (and don’t forget that tithe check). Their long held tradition of mandatory church attendance can be traced back to the days of the mixture of politics and religion in the old world. Over the ages we have seen battles to exercise our freedoms and establish our true equality in the human race, yet some churches refuse to allow the Constitution to have any precedence in their organizations. In many churches today, women are not viewed as equals nor are they encouraged to be free independent women within their tradition.
Is it any wonder that traditional religions want to reinforce their ways in a world of ongoing growth and modernization? The Amish are adamant about preserving their religious culture and today’s Traditional Christianity seeks to do the same. It certainly is their freedom to do so, however we are not obligated to agree with their traditions nor adhere to them. The beauty of being free in Christ is that we have a choice in how, where, when, and how often we worship. Regardless of which verses some people twist in order to keep their women silenced and under foot, Christ seemed to think very fondly of women and never rebuked the women disciples from teaching or being an influence in their culture.
We live in a time where women are following the guidance of the Spirit to be ministers in today’s churches and more men are finding peace about sharing the pulpit with their female counterparts. As I read about the accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I am reminded of the turmoil that came with the fight for freedom and equality among the races. Is it going to be any different for women seeking equality in the churches? Will we be able to function as the Spirit guides us without opposition coming from Traditional Christianity? While the desire for equality among the genders continues, I’m afraid we won’t be able to see a solid break through without an onslaught of accusations of heresy and rebellion.
I shake my head in disbelief that a religion like Traditional Christianity would push so hard to continue in such opposition to freedom for all. They resist women, gays, and in some neighborhoods they still have prejudices for the poor and those of other races. I don’t foresee this ending any time soon, but thankfully we do have freedom to depart from such prejudiced gatherings and begin our own. The battle for abiding by the Law versus living a life of grace in Christ is ongoing and we were told clearly that they would always be at war. Those of us who have left Institutional and Traditional Christianity find the opposition to be disheartening to say the least. Some argue against those who say Jesus came to free us from religion. They insist that Jesus came to make religion perfect and that we are required to continue in it. If that were so then why aren’t we all converting to the Jewish faith? If Jesus came to perfect what was already in place, to continue as a follower of Jesus the Jewish Rabbi, then we most certainly would be attending a synagogue rather than a church.
Author and Public Speaker, Frank Viola, paved the way for inquiry into the traditions with his book, ‘Pagan Christianity’. We read books like Rob Bell’s, ‘Love Wins’ and Julie Ferwerda’s book, ‘Raising Hell’ in 2011 which sparked an insurgence of freedom fighters who braved deeper inquisition into what has been commonly called, Orthodox. As those in traditional Christianity continue their arguments with one another over gays, which version of the bible is most accurate, and if women should teach men, lets not fail to keep the momentum of freedom going so those who leave the nest in search of freedom can find a community of people who are not getting caught up in the fray. Lets be ready to receive those who are in exodus and help them be free from the fighting and walk with them in the path of peace and grace.
Where will they go after their exodus? where can they gather with people who have suffered the same as they have? Who will they find camaraderie with in their journey to freedom? Some may want the utmost break from Christianity all together, but some may want to continue in faith with others who are free. Who will be available for fellowship with them?
photo credit Tom