Why do people get eaten up by the institution of Church, mauled and spat out the back door with the right boot of fellowship?
Church has become an inverted perversion.
Let me explain what I mean. That which is meant to be the oil, to make the interactions of people participating together happen smoothly, has become the reason for the interacting, which inevitably turns the people into fuel for this perverted machine.
Think of any machine. Oil is taken in by machinery as fuel and lubrication, it is seen as important, but exists for the machine, to be consumed by the machine and one used, expelled. For me; in this machine; programs, buildings, traditions and positions are the oil to enable people to go about their purposes, as believers walking in the ways of Jesus, to effect the world for good and for God. Oil is consumed, it is to serves it’s purpose and then be discarded.
Unfortunately have gone from worshippers of God to worshippers of oil. We have transmuted the oil, the programs, the buildings, the traditions and positions and titles in to the reason for being. The oil has become the machinery and now people have become the oil, to be consumed by the machinery, left burnt and bloodied, and when they have lost their usefulness, they are to spat out the other end, chewed up, bleeding and often bitter.
I want to view church differently. Rather like this: we the people are the cogs that make it work, we in our doings and relationships are church. The institutions, the programs, the traditions, the services, the hierarchical structures are meant to be oil, grease, that which makes the structure of cogs, cantilever, pinions, springs, bearings (the people) work together well. The grease enable us to be church, to grow and serve without all the parts damaging themselves or others. If the oil, the institutions, (not people), loses it’s oiliness, then it needs replacing. If the grease loses it’s ability to smooth the way, then the programs need changing.
As I have already said, too often what we actually have in Church is that the programs and traditions becoming the cogs and the people becoming the oil. No wonder people often feel chewed up by institutional church, spat out the other end like so much waste product.
What a radical idea to let the institutions serve the people and if they are not, change them. Yesterdays oil may be no good for today, it may need re-refining. Instead of changing the people, may be the hierarchical structures needs changing.
In considering this idea, if we find ourselves guilty of having done the swap, of being the ones to turn people into oil and institution in to cogs, we need to be brave enough to change thing back.
It’s the people, people.