Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I remember an old story about detecting counterfeit money. The key point of the story was that if you handled real currency long enough the counterfeit becomes readily apparent just in the handling of it.

Hmm. Have you bought something lately. It seems that every store including fast food franchises have counterfeit money detectors. I guess the old idea of just handling the real doesn’t work any more.

I loved the time my wife was getting a spicy chicken sandwich at Wendy’s and her old $10 bill didn’t pass the electronic scanner’s approval. She didn’t have any other money on her and she really wanted her spicy chicken sandwich. What to do? She called the manager over and he affirmed that her money couldn’t be used in their store. So his answer was to give her the spicy chicken sandwich for free. Good PR. We messed up though in that we spent that $10 bill some where else. Rats! We could have had free spicy chicken sandwiches for ever.

Here’s my connection to church practices these days. What if you came to the Lord through a counterfeit system intimidating that it is how the body of Christ is to be lived out on earth? When the real comes along and is at variance with the old can people easily switch gears? The Pharisees as a group couldn’t do it with Jesus. They killed him for not lining up with their groupthink. But individuals like Nicodemous could eventually and with much risk, make the break. Sadly not all could make the break completely as there were many legalizers within the confines of the church in years to come. Remember Peter getting rebuked by Paul. Gal. 2:11-3:1.

Every group has ways of manipulating people into conformity. Sometimes they are through direct attack. I know of one church that would literally take away someone’s bible if it wasn’t the King James Version, you know, the one Paul wrote. They were kind enough to replace it with a good old KJV. Sometimes groups manipulate through guilt. I’m sure no one has ever experienced motivation via guilt. Some manipulate through love. Lots of cults are wise in how they use the love manipulator. Other groups manipulate through Hollywood style extravaganzas. The addictive process of wanting bigger and better has worked in Hollywood for years, why not in the church? Other groups manipulate through an individual’s sincere desire to serve and thus to be in some serving position, one must adhere to whatever the church has deemed as its cultural norms and/or doctrines. I know of one church that brags about not having membership roles but then uses Sunday attendance as a mechanism of identifying those who are in and those who are out.

No groups really want self feeders. (a new buzzword to be fondled for a while) They may find out that they don't need the group anymore or that the emperor has no clothes. A lot of time and money was invested in catching that haul of fish and now its time for a financial return on their investment. So let's let them think they can grow on their own as long as we control the growth. Major decisions in churches (no matter the size) are made by just 7 people (likely 3) or less. I guess they're the only ones with a pipeline to God.

Pastors have a vested interest in making sure that their group continues to limit people's personal growth. If people learn to self feed and thus not need him, why would they continue to pay for his services. However, pastors will abandon the self feeders if they don't fall in line with their inspired thoughts. God help the ones that leave if they do anything other than slink away silently. No more words like Paul's, "O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you," can ever be uttered again within the hallowed restrictions of pastor controlled Christendom. Good thing Paul didn't have to get permission from a pastor to say those words. Come to think of it, why didn't Paul seek out the pastor when dealing with the Galatians?

Here’s a strange thought. What if everyone that declares Jesus as Lord is a member of the body of Christ? Only systems want/need something more to ensure their identity. What if the only system is a non-system called the body of Christ. Identifying with anything else seems unnecessary to me and is perhaps (and I may get spanked for even implying this,) even anti-christ like the Pharisees were.

How do you know if the system you have chosen isn’t a counterfeit?

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