Monday, October 26, 2015

OCTOBER 26 "CULT & BACKSLIDING ATTRACT READERS"

IS it coincidence that the two biggest reads in this blog had the words, "Cult & Backsliding" in their title? Most market trends indicate that the title of an article is what captures the readers interest. People don't read the blog then decide if it's interesting they read the title then determine by the title if it's worth their read. The title "with Cult" attracted many readers. Also the title "Backsliding" attracted many readers. This is what older "Saints" have to deal with. We come into "The Church" with youthful idealism, perhaps confused about the course of our lives, no political affiliations, perhaps a life torn apart by sin and we quickly embrace the dogmas of The Church. However, as life smooths out (as it should if you are living morally & ethically) and life begins to become a little more manageable, we become wiser, start to form our own opinions and become more mature, then we begin to struggle in our Faith and we begin to question things about the church and about God, ie: is He just, is He fair? In retrospect we begin to look at the Church as Cult like and the Pastor as the Cult Guru Leader and we are not so sure about God and how He thinks and functions. As the Saint matures his faith diminishes and he begins to wonder, "have I been in a Cult all these years and not known it?" The greatest danger is that the older saint begins to look at the church through a new prism. There was a time where he saw the church through a "spiritual prism" now as his faith diminishes he, perhaps even unconsciously, looks at the church through a new prism, a natural or secular prism, and that changes everything!

Never would this have entered the mind of the young Christian. The young Christian believed God to fill his tank up with gas when he ran out in the middle of nowhere....and God did. Today that same Christian will walk, if he runs out of gas. The young Christian would fight to the bitter end to defend his church and his love for the people in that church. That same Christian today openly and often, affirming, listens to criticisms of his church and the people within. Churches may vary in styles and doctrines, but when you sum it up, the basic premise of every church is the same. They are all "sects" (as described in the book of Acts/aka Cults), they are a society within a society (again, sect or cult) and at the helm of these Sects there is normally a Leader who is highly revered and honored, often called Reverend, Bishop or Pastor. The Leader, the head Guru of the sect stands before some small and some very large groups and then he begins to speak for 45-60 minutes and those people, who have awakened themselves early, gathered their families, dressed themselves and some driven miles and miles only to sit and listen to the head Guru pontificate upon his thoughts, ideas and revelations during the weak. Often, the people sit in amazement as to his brilliance (although other churches or times may be bored to death) and incredible revelation and the people are often mesmerized by the man behind the pulpit. Thus, as we grow older, our spirituality diminishes, we can see how we can wonder down this path, especially as we grow older, develop our minds and develop more in our own persona of who we are; that some can begin to look back at this whole affair of the church and God and wonder....Cult?

HOWEVER, that being said, if your church is a cult, than it is safe to say that "The Church of Jesus Christ" as a whole, for which the bridegroom is coming back for, ie Jesus Christ, is a Cult. No doubt some churches are more controlling than others, some more charismatic than others, but at the end of the day, the premise of all churches is the same, as outlined above. It is a society within a society, it believes different than the world and community without and there is a head pontiff(s). Our problem today is we vary and are confused about what we mean when we speak of "Cult".  I often wonder when people mention The Church with the word "Cult" which definition of "Cult" they are referring to? There is the real definition of "a cult" which I believe the Church does fall into and then there is the "culture's definition" of the word Cult which The Church most definitely does not fall into. The culture's definition of the word "cult" is one that intends to control, manipulate, brainwash, deny individual thinking and intends to do mental and/or physical harm to it's members. Some examples being being: "Jim Jones, Heaven's Gate & Charles Manson. These are all cults that fall under "culture's definition" and there are many others that have passed through society, exploiting and harming, poor, vulnerable individuals. There are many definitions of Cult, There is the Religious Cult, there is Cult of Suicide, Doomsday Cults and Cults of Personality. No doubt some Churches are legit but there is a factor of a Cult of Personality functioning within that church and it is up to the individuals in that church not to allow themselves to be caught up in that, often times unbeknownst to the Leader, or at least not encouraged by him. Here's another definition of Culta particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies and/or instance of great veneration of a person or ideals. This is one of the standard (not cultural) definitions of the word cult and under this definition the church does fall and has always fallen. Paul and his followers were constantly referred to as a cult and for all intensive purposes they were. Think of the words of Jesus himself, "we are not of the world" "though we are in the world we are not of it" "whoever loves the world, hates me" These words, posted on a billboard can read quite cultish. However the fact is we are a society that exists within a society and do have ideals that are diametrically opposed to the world we live in and if that is your definition of Cult, then The Church, is a cult.
     As we get older, as the flux of converts that came into the church in the late 70's, eighties and into early the early 90's, as this generation enters into mid-life, they begin to question life, look introspectively at their past, their present and future. Add to that that they are not as committed as they once were, they have long forsaken the spiritual disciplines they once practiced, ie; bible reading and prayer and now they are looking at The Church through a new prism, a natural one or better termed, a "secular one" and when you do that it changes how you view the Church, the Pastor and the whole affair of God, Faith and the Church. And once you get locked into looking at the church through this prism, you are slowly, but surely preparing your departure, your exit from The Church of Jesus Christ or you digress into a church that functions and behaves no different from the world that they exist in. The generation that entered the church in the 70's, 80's. and early 90's is just as quickly exiting the church through the back doors as quickly as the youth is entering through the front. The problem is, the youth that is entering in today will also face this same crisis of faith 20's years from now and the cycle goes on and on; unless one generation decides to turn from it's backsliding and go back to their first love and do the things they once did and begin, once again, to view The Church through the "Spiritual Prism" through which is should be viewed.
     Why were the blogs with the words "Cult" & "Backsliding" the most read, for the obvious reason that it struck a cord with it's readers. We have a whole generation of believers in mid-life that are at a crisis of faith, have regressed in their relationship with Christ (whether "we" will admit it or not) and have begun to take a very secular approach towards "The Church". Yes, in the natural sense, why would we all gather each Sunday to listen to a man speak, why would we gather each Sunday to try to live so differently than the citizens among us, why would we give so much of our lives, time and money to this old institution called "The Church" in the natural it makes no sense, but in the supernatural, spiritual and according to God's word, it makes perfect sense. What a benefit it would be to "The Church" if the older saints would not allow themselves to be "seduced" into this secular prism of viewing the church, held fast to their faith and were now able to come to The Church, not with passiveness, not with youthful idealism, but with a true and mature faith, tested,tried and resolute faith.
     The crisis of The Church today, is not that there is nobody coming in the front door, it is that as quickly as they are coming in the front, the older saints are exiting out the back. We are not sustaining in the long term. We spiritually run out of steam, just like we do physically. Stats show that over 95% of those that lose weight, if you follow them through the years, WILL put the weight back on. Is it because years later they realize they were in a cult and were brainwashed into losing weight and now they realize it is good to be grossly over weight and they thank God they can be liberated from that oppressive dogma of being healthy? Does that mean that in their youthful optimism they were deceived. Does it mean that the weight loss was only good then but not necessarily good now? No, what it means ? Or does it show us that it is human nature to regress,  where once we had the drive and stamina to do what we knew to do,  clearly knowing it was right at the time and not wanting to admit, it is still right today. However to appease our conscience we must excuse and justify rather than to admit we have regressed and are either slipping back to our original weight or have completely regressed.
     And this is what the older saints are doing with their experience with the church over the past 20 years. Rather than admit they have regressed or are slowly regressing back to who they were, they simply disguise it under "I am older now, I am not so naive as I used to be, I have my own mind now, I cannot be so easily manipulated as I once was and I am beginning to see this whole church thing as cultish". The individual when confronted with the weight that has all been put back on will say, "you know what, I realized I can only live once and I might as well enjoy it. I'm not going to be bound by what I can and cannot eat (translated...I'm just going to give in to my flesh even if it kills me) I'm going to eat what I want and if it kills me it kills me". However this is utter nonsense and just short of insanity. But this is the length we will go to justify ourselves. The mantra of the older saints that leave the church is very similar to the mantra of the one who puts so much effort into losing their weight but yet down the road, reverts back. The truth is it's a physical and spiritual fight to the end. The truth is, we are in a constant state of fighting physically and spiritually and when we backslide and when we falter we simply begin to look at life through a different prism and convince ourselves all is well when deep in our conscience, a small voice is yelling, "all is not well, all is not well...." Do you have the will and stamina to keep being spiritually minded? This is why Paul said, "I have fought the fight of faith, I have finished my course".
     In short, Jesus is not coming back for "The World" he is coming back for a cult, a society that exists within the world, call it a sect, call it a cult, call it what you want...but it is a society that exists within a society, it is a society that has values, morals and ethics that are diametrically opposed to the world that it functions within. It is called THE CHURCH, THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST! Whether we change or not, it does not change. It's principles and values are timeless and immutable, enduring for all generations to come. Yes, we are part of a cult, The Church of Jesus Christ and the head guru is Jesus Christ himself and he's coming back for his cult, his church, his bride for which he paid a tremendous price to preserve unto himself, "a peculiar people" he's coming back for,....zealous for good works.