The other night I had an invitation to go to church.
I didn’t go…
Why? Was I busy?
So why didn’t I go?
Well, wait for it…
I don’t like going to church.
There, I’ve said it!
“But James, you lead a church!”
So to understand why I don’t always like going to church, I need to refer you to the story of the Prodigal Son that Jesus told written in Luke 15.
If you’re like me, you’ve heard this story preached 1785 times, and you’d rather pump a nail into your head than hear it again!
I understand your pain.
So I’ll read from the the A.D.D. translation…
In the story, there’s three characters; Younger Brother (YB), Father, and Older Brother (OB) in that order.
YB is a rebel. He parties… a lot.
YB wants to do his own thing… and does.
It doesn’t work out so well… Who would have guessed?
YB comes home in shame.
Father runs down the driveway to meet YB when he sees him coming home.
Father extends grace to YB way above and beyond anyone’s expectation.
Father throws a party!
Everyone get’s hammered! (my version)
Not happy Jan!
OB is the good boy, he’s always obeyed the rules.
OB thinks YB doesn’t deserve that kind of grace, because he’s not earned it like OB has.
OB feels unloved in spite of all his goodness, and somewhat miffed because there is no party for him.
If you’ve known me for more than 3 seconds, you’ll know I’m a YB.
Like many YB’s out there, we eventually come home.
When I came home, I encountered the love and grace of heavenly Father immediately.
And then came church.
Not sure if you’ve noticed, but churches are generally the domain of the OB.
There’s a standard…
There’s a tolerance for YB’s wicked ways of the past, but not for long. YB will need to lift his game if he wants to find acceptance in most churches.
“You’ve had your fun, now play by the rules!”
What happens now, is YB either converts to OB, or rebels again.
Either way, the church is full of OB’s, even if they are ex-YB’s, and the non conformists leave and shun the church.
How many Hell’s Angels are there in your church?
Case in point!
I’m an even rarer case, I’m a YB who leads a church.
I’ve survived church!
I’m rare, because OB’s who run the show rarely trust YB’s with leadership. YB’s are not responsible enough.
YB is an expert in Rebellion, and OB is an expert in Religion.
YB finds their identity in being bad, and OB finds their identity in being good.
YB is governed by Shame, and OB is governed by Fear.
Neither brother has a proper understanding of Father!
Well, I believe that every human carries heart pain.
and pain medicates…
For YB the pathway looks like PAIN=SHAME=PLEASURE
For OB the pathway looks like PAIN=FEAR=PERFORMANCE
(Come do my Tree of Life course if you want to know more about this)
Both brothers are orphans looking for love and acceptance, it’s just that their pain has led them down different pathways.
So where we end up is YB on one side of the fence, and OB on the other, both throwing rocks at each other.
OB judges YB for not meeting the standard, and in return YB judges OB for being a judgmental arse!
A fruitless cycle…
24 years ago, I married an OB.
My wife and I are classic good girl meets bad boy!
I’ve tried to make her badder, and she’s tried to make me gooder.
‘Gooder’ IS a word if I say it is!
For years I have somewhat misunderstood my wife, irritated because her ‘goodness’ beamed a spotlight on my ‘badness’.
Her ‘goodness’ triggers my shame, and my ‘badness’ triggers her fear.
So there’s been some rock throwing.
However, it wasn’t until I realised that we both have the same pain, and both carried the same core message; “I’m not good enough”, that I could see the deception I had fallen into.
We have repented…
Maybe Satan’s most cunning plan has worked?
YB and OB have made enemies out of each other and not him!
It’s hard to see when you’re distracted rock throwing…and dodging.
So what’s the solution?
Father has always been the answer, right under our noses.
But I couldn’t see Father, and I know why…
Because I still carried the Orphan wound deep in my heart.
I truly believe that until we begin the journey of dealing with our orphan pain, (and we ALL have it because our enemy has been throwing rocks at us since we were born) it’s impossible to see that we are neither YB or OB from Father’s perspective – We are Sons! (and Daughters)
We get locked on one side of the fence either as a YB, or an OB.
And we can’t see Sonship from either side of the fence.
Father wants to bring healing to our pain so we can be free sons & daughters just like Jesus is free. – It’s for freedom that Christ has set us free (Gal 5:1)
It’s the only way out of the rock throwing war!
So where do we begin the journey?
Counselling! (I’m serious)
As a result of counselling, I’m facing my pain, owning my junk, forgiving, repenting, honouring.
I’m believing more and more in my heart that I’m a Son, although still on the journey dealing with the habits, addictions and pain of YB.
I’m now in a position to love.
Jesus said that the world will know we are His because of our love.
Not because of our cool church Music, not because we can do miracles, or preach up a storm, but by our love.
And not our love for God, but our love for one another!
I feel like loving God is easy. My greatest challenge in life is to love OB.
But it’s only when OB’s and YB’s lay down their rocks and become allies against the same enemy (Satan) that we can both finally exist as Sons.
Then, and only then will the church be a pathway for Sons to meet the Father.
So here’s to beginning a Rebellion against Religion.
By the way, if you’re wondering whether you’re a YB or an OB, that’s easy…
If you’re reading this thinking to yourself: “Go James, stick it up em'”, you’re a YB.
If you’re wondering right now if I’m even a Christian, you’re an OB.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this blog, I’ve recorded a podcast about it. Listen to it here: http://bit.ly/1Bzx9Cs