In Spirit Blog

Thanks this week to a guest contributor, one of the Back to Eden Group community – Jimmy Canali.  You can also find Jimmy at www.ecstaticexpression.org.

This week’s blog will focus on the subtle virus of silence. My aim is to direct our attention to what huge portions of our western culture participate in and to spur on dialogue about what could be different about our society. I am looking for your voice in this conversation!

silencedMany institutions and cultural structures have contaminated and stupefied the masses with speechlessness. This silent spectating is the fruit of giving up our voices for the sake of being under the standard of the “pastors,” “preachers,” “teachers” and “prophets” of our day. This is considered a cultural norm.

I ask you to respond to one question as you read this blog and share your thoughts in the comment section below:

Have you ever wanted to speak out and be heard, and, if so, what would you say?

Unfortunately your voice has no place to go. This gaping void of your voice is common throughout our cultures institutional structures. This virus of silence is specifically prevalent in the North American church building, though the virus spreads into many other realms of education, business, politics, and religion. I will write specifically on the religious institution today.

My writings reflect a need to challenge what is accepted as normal and I hope to persuade you to speak out as well. The fact is, the institutions of religion are dysfunctional and unrelatable at their core.

I want to pause here for a moment and have you consider a couple things–

  • Have you participated in institutions that require little to no personal engagement on your part, but take resources from you (time, energy, $)?
  • Do you have something deep in your heart that you have wanted to voice?
  • Have there been points in your life where people in institutions stifled your voice, expressions, opinions?

I am not writing to assault people, but, to reiterate, the forms we accept as the norm and to encourage new dialogue about how our culture interacts.

Looking into the institution of the church in America, which I have personal experience participating in the past.

A common Sunday proceeds like clock work, the masses flood into the institutional religious buildings and silence ensues among the multitudes.

Their focus, their energy goes to the one…

God?

No.

The Pastor.

Just to the one, a man the system recognizes as the voice to the masses.

The masses listen.

Yet the coldness they are left with is the void of their voice.

A void of relational dialogue.

A void of communion.

A void of their individual contribution.

A void of challenges that will never emerge to meet another’s opinion and voice, sharpening and refining each other in the process.

Never to rise, always to sit.

That is their destiny in the system.

This lacking of a face to face interaction is the consequence of attending a service made out of invisible boundaries separating the speakers from the masses. What will we do about it? What can we do about it? Start with what’s in front of you.

Face the people.

Face the people in your life that you work with, live with, and meet up with on a daily basis.

Face them and begin a dialogue.

Start to exchange ideas, challenges, theories, and experiences.

When you face someone in relationship, you begin to see into their soul and they see into yours. You begin to have an exchange that brings nutrients to your soul. In this type of interaction you can be met with challenges, encouragements, love and the fruit is seen in growth and depth of perspective.

Yet, we are as a cultural whole like flies on dung piles perching on the pews of the past. Refusing to give up forms that no longer hold function.

Will we rise to meet those around us?

Will our voices come forth to engage in dialogue that affects our culture’s future?

While the masses commit their time, energy and money towards these institutions, they are giving, but not getting, anything substantial in this exchange.

Now, what if things were different?

What if our culture had community expressions bursting with entrepreneurial insight, helpful activism, creativity, art, and relationship?

Let’s take the first step together, share your voice in comment section: Have you ever wanted to speak out and be heard, and if so what would you say?

To a different drum beat,

Jimmy

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Showing 9 comments
  • Marcus Stead
    Reply

    Because I am prophetically motivated, I would most likely share things from my heart, that I felt the Body of Christ needed to address. Maybe want to talk about things I felt the church needed to change. I would also share things about what I had recently been studying.

    • James Canali
      Reply

      Marcus, what do you feel the body of christ needs to change in our day and age?

      • James Canali
        Reply

        Also can I ask do you consider the body of Christ the actual building of the church or …?

        • Marcus Stead
          Reply

          We have been taught to say, “I am going to church today”. Church is associated with gathering in some or other building. Yet the church is not a building, the church is simply the called out ones of Christ who gather together in different and various locations. The location is not that important, but the coming together of the saints is important and building quality relationships and having community together. Some in the organic church movement almost insist that we gather in homes instead of big buildings. I can understand that in smaller settings, it’s much easier to build quality relationships and have everyone participate, share and be involved. Yet I personally don’t think there is a problem if people gather in buildings or larger places. The issue is not so much were you gather, but more about how intimate the relationships are, and if everyone is allowed and has the liberty to share and participate.

          • James Canali

            Marcus, great point, “the church is not a building.” I think as long as there are institutional meetings, house, large, small, back room, they will have models of top down leadership, manipulation, backwards financial principals, etc.

      • Marcus Stead
        Reply

        What needs to be addressed is the clergy vs laity issues in the church today. We have to get rid of this separation and fully enter into what it means that all of us are the royal priesthood of believers. We have to get rid of the elite group of ‘professionals’ who so often put themselves above the rest using hierarchical structures. Even though we have some who are apostles, prophets, teachers, pastors and evangelists, too often this functions are used to control and manipulate the masses. We have to reevaluate how this gifts function in the body of Christ and get rid of all abuse authoritarianism. We have to talk about how the church gathers and how each one is to participate in the life of the church. For hundreds of years now, we have been dominated by the ‘clergy’ but it is high time for each and every one of us to begin to function and participate fully in the life of the church. We have to address the sandwich type meetings that have dominated church life for centuries, with praise and worship, sermon and short prayers and testimonies. For hundreds of years, the church has been taught to go to meetings to hear sermons, but has this really advanced the church in the last 500 years. When you look at the early church in the first century, you get the idea that everyone participated fully and there was no domination from a top down system, the leaders were servant leaders and were among the people, the leaders regarded themselves as equal to the rest, they just had leadership and gift function. The problems of spiritual leadership abuse has to be addressed, as thousands all over the world have be hurt and damaged by spiritual abuse. This has to be addressed head on.

        • James Canali
          Reply

          Marcus, I am glad you brought up the issue of clergy vs. laity. It seems the radical movement of Jesus was to take people out of the church system and back into life, life to the full. He wanted them living again, and full of His Spirit to influence the world.

          As long as their is a institutional meeting, there will be top down type leadership, etc.

          I know I wonder how then does the church or body of Christ connect?

          I think the question is something different for each person and each relationship. I think it will be creative and diverse across the body of christ, no set pattern.

  • Katherine Matthews
    Reply

    Well Marcus I totally agree that the fruit of the laity vs clergy segregation remains our present day issue. In fact it began in less than 100 years after Jesus gave us the great commission. It is my conviction that ‘we’ are to address these issues by living according to Jesus blueprint for relationship with His body. There once was a time when He and his disciples were ministering and they came to Him saying, ‘Lord, one that is not of us is ministering in your name’. But instead of modelling institutional submission Jesus replied, ‘He who is not against us is for us’. If we choose to acknowledge and obey Jesus its not hard to see that He did not present hierarchy even amongst his 12 disciples but rather here he lived and modelled otherwise. We need to remember that Jesus was totally out of the religious box of his day, he was a stench to the religious elite, they considered him mad! As it was in Eden and also in Samuel’s day so it was with Jesus and still is an invitation, ‘Come follow me, walk with me, face to face’. We all must realize that heaven was intentionally sacrificial about sending Jesus to offer us quality time. He invited them into a relational ship, to travel in close engaging interactive hands on daily life. Today after 1500 years of temple/church building based religion Christianity’s norm , God is highlighting and offering an exodus. Those who hear the call will not ‘shun relating’ but ‘re’ turn face to face walking with God. Mediation was dealt with at the cross, so any forfeiting of our privilege of complete access to God is simply abdication. Sadly our forefathers have chosen to create a Christianity after their own image. Will we also follow blindly these ‘traditions of men’ and call them commandments of God? Lets call it for what it is, we have sinned –it is Idolatry. A true prophetic person cannot walk contrary to the person of Jesus or anything that is blatantly defiant to His ways. For hundreds of years the gathering of the saints has built on a false church governmental foundation as you have mentioned. Are we surprised that their sandcastles are crumbling? And what of the masses of foolish children who choose to give up their precious gift of free will? Therefore, we can all talk, talk, talk about what the body of Christ ‘needs to do’ or we can choose to live it. And even as it costs us persecution, loss of family and friends, social shunning and despairing, yet we have a clear conscience before God. This is a great treasure!!! Prophetic people are called to walk it, live it and disregard that they may walk completely alone. Only then as the Spirit sees heavens shadow in our lives do we have any voice. If and when that times comes we will have gained moral authority. It is a privilege to be amongst the true forerunners who have made the exodus and are walking outside of the ‘brothel’ of Christianity’s self made image of god and what they call the body of Christ. The invitation remains for us all to leave the old sinking sands of religious mad invented traditions and jump into the ship- Relationship. Let us not ‘shun’ the ‘re’ forming’ as we repent and return to Jesus! Sails up!

    • James Canali
      Reply

      Katherine, this line, “Sadly our forefathers have chosen to create a Christianity after their own image” is perhaps one of the clearest statements about the institution and the lies we have bought since the fall of mankind.

      It’s interesting that God places his design so diversely across humanity, and that part of the key to unlocking a moving, living, breathing body that works together is in the relationships around us.

      “The invitation remains for us all to leave the old sinking sands of religious mad invented traditions and jump into the ship- Relationship.”

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