Have you ever noticed how those who heavily promote organic food and natural health with the most enthusiasm and sincerity, sometimes look the most sickly and anemic and seem to have the most health problems?
They are reacting to real problems, but have turned their idealistic and seemingly good-sounding concepts into an all consuming idol – to the exclusion of real health which comes from a balanced life.
I’ve also see this among some who are the most ardent proponents of organic church. They’ve fallen prey to unbalanced reactions and aspirations which prevent authentic life and sustainable, healthy fellowships.
When you point that out, however, they slip into denial and sometimes even anger. They often respond with all kinds of rationales for why they are sickly and anemic, and even try to silence those who have dared say that their revered organic emperors – the authors and conference speakers they’ve followed – have no clothes!
A New Generation
God is raising up a new generation that simply seeks the balance of being faithful to a core set of basic “organic” principles, but not to the exclusion of all else.
Those core principles are:
Simple participatory fellowships that look different in different contexts and cultures, while generally avoiding the burden of centralized buildings, overhead, the clergy/laity divide, and professional staff – with their associated programs and podium-focused mentality which tends to produce passive Christians who expect to always be fed and led.
Actively ministering one to another in our gatherings and just normal day to day lives.
Expressing Christ in us, among us and through us – as we equip and encourage one another to go and serve Him in all the diverse spheres of life where He may call us.
Each believer being equipped to go and make disciples, baptizing and teaching all that Christ commands, as we proclaim Christ and reproduce His life and new fellowships within distinctly different settings, cultures and sub-cultures.
Diverse non-hierarchical leadership as we all submit one to another, based on earned respect, persuasion and leading by example.
Encouraging, developing and expressing the different gifts, callings and motivations that should be a natural part of any healthy fellowship.
Being faithful to what God is showing them, but not dismissing God’s differing grace in others who may be in growing and serving the Lord other contexts – including institutional churches.
We reject, however, those who have used “organic” to peddle non-Biblical idols of their own creation in their various books, blogs, conferences and “ministries”, like:
The guruism of detached and unaccountable “church planters” and “workers” who claim they alone establish local church legitimacy.
Disastrous existential theologies which emphasizes the validity of the vibrant life of Christ in us, but teach that He somehow is at odds with His own propositional truths, external moral precepts, Biblical commands and even the authority of His external Word of scripture.
The post-modern disdain for authentic leadership, as they never seem able to develop local, diverse elderships which naturally should emerge within any healthy fellowship.
The cookie-cutter and overly intense models of organic community and church life which are touted by those who have never lived out their ideas in any sustainable way, but which they alone profess to understand as they promote their “deeper life” concepts to others.
The pattern of promoting weird and unrealistic practices – like having to relocate to be part of some “worker’s” grand vision of Christ and the Church; suppressing our God-given souls (heart, mind and feelings) to conform to that vision; suppressing dissent and open questions when things don’t pan out or they are deviating from Biblical norms (like denying there are any Biblical norms, beyond their vision!); needing to conform to some “group think” concept of “community” which often destroys any semblance of a healthy balanced life and other legitimate commitments (like family, vocation, education, etc.); and discouraging any practical expression of diverse gifts, callings and motivations.
All the other crazy stuff that has produced a pattern of destroyed lives and destroyed fellowships.
These unhealthy delusions often take root among the book-hooked folk, who have been enticed by grand visions in popular books that bear no resemblance to reality and which often become the biggest impediment to actually finding and functioning as healthy fellowships.
Crazy or Healthy?
God is beginning to shake things up to show what is truly of Him – real, healthy and fruitful.
He is removing the chafe of the intense crazy stuff, which often is soft-peddled in books and blogs by authors like Gene Edwards, Frank Viola, Milt Rodriquez, Jon Zens and Jamal Jivanjee, but becomes fully evident in their resulting – but typically short-lived – fellowships.
Instead, a much more relaxed, balanced, diverse and joyful expression of the Body of Christ is finally emerging.
Those who want health, and not the guruism of new “revelations” divorced from sound doctrine and actual experience, will move forward. Those who don’t, won’t.
Those who are moving forward, however, have been learning to simply affirm the essentials, avoid the crazy stuff and those who promote it, chill out, and enjoy the journey to wherever God is leading (without having to conform to someone’s intense “vision” and “revelation”) – while finding maturity and balance as they let healthy fellowship emerge in their own unique contexts.
Sometimes there is outside help, but often God just decides to sovereignly move among us when we are ready.
My plea is that we seek health rather than continue to chase after weird ideas of what “organic” means – to the point of serving idols that suck our lives dry with intense demands for subservient commitment to some new “vision” and “revelation”.
Rather, chill out and learn to discern the good from the bad. If you need examples or help, make sure it is from actual healthy fellowships that have demonstrated proven experience, good fruit and sound doctrine.
If you do this, you will be amazed what at happens as good seed finds fertile ground and brings forth even more good fruit.
Any other “revelation” of Christ is just deception.
~ Jim Wright