Are you Truman?
Last week I shared that we have learned the Lord and the New Testament in a different context than the writers lived and wrote about. I likened us to Truman Burbank, the subject of the movie The Truman Show, which starred Jim Carrey.
Truman grew up in a town that was built entirely on a giant studio sound stage, and all the people in his life were merely actors, with his whole life broadcast 24 hours a day around the world to fans of The Truman Show. Truman had no idea his reality was man-made. He accepted the reality of what he saw because that was the reality presented to him.
I'm asking if we are like him but in a church context: Have we believed the traditions of men, taking them to be the Word of God all these years because that is the reality we were presented?
Haven't you wondered...?
Why church doctrine and spiritual guidance is so often contrary to common sense, but presented as 'this is what God wants', so you feel to go against leadership and go with your gut and common sense, would actually be to go against God?
Why God will often lead you in a direction contrary to what 'church leadership' says, setting off confusion and questions about your ability to hear God because after all, he is the 'man of God' and you haven't been to Bible school?
Why the Lord can so touch your heart by a teaching, yet at the same time you are grieved by the crass manipulation and greed in the church?
Why the church is such a politically oriented structure, filled with people jockeying for position and guarding their territory, wondering where God is in all that, and why you feel so out of place?
Why pastor's live a lifestyle so far above the average person in their congregation?
When we say____ we mean _____. But when Paul said _____ he meant_____
Church: We mean a building, an auditorium.
Paul meant a believer and/or group of believers.
Pastor: We mean a single person who is the head of a church (see building above).
Paul used the word as a verb, referring to a group of men/couples who 'tend' (pastor) the sheep - as per Acts 20:28 to the elders of the home churches in Ephesus - 'tend' the sheep.
Office: We mean an appointed person in the 5-fold, a pious or religious position of authority and gifting.
Paul didn't use the term. He used the term 'service' 4 times which was then translated each time by the well established hierarchy of the Institutional Church to 'office' as they wanted readers to see them as higher than they.
Example, Romans 11:13 KJV "For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify my office." He actually said: "I speak to you Gentiles, for I am a 'sent one' to the Gentiles. I glory in my service to you." The word 'office' is not used in the NT - the other 3 times it is used it is the same word,servant.
Lord's Supper: We mean passing around a wafer of bread and juice while partaking in an auditorium.
Paul practiced it as part of a larger meal in someone's home, keeping the basic context of the first Lord's Supper.
Worship: We mean a band and singers that play instruments before a congregation, which follows along.
Paul spoke of worship in the living room settings of the NT, saying in I Corinthians 14:26 that anyone may have a Psalm to offer in worship, and in Ephesians 5:18-20 to "Speak to yourselves in Psalms, Hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always..."
(The whole idea that a group of people lead a congregation is reverse of the NT: The worship flows from the hearts of worshipers to God, any music or band or singers should follow the worship coming from the congregation. Music is fine, but it should reflect worship already flowing from the hearts of the people. For more on that you may want my cd/MP3 on 'Things the Lord taught me about Worship")
Did you know....?
When you read Romans, that letter was sent to Priscilla & Aquila in Rome, among others hosting church in their homes. (Romans 16:3-5)
When you read Philippians, they met in the home of Lydia (Acts 16: 15, 40).
When you read Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, he wrote it from Ephesus, and stated that Priscilla & Aquilla, now moved to Ephesus, were again hosting church in their home. We also know from Acts 18:7-8 that Gaius Justus hosted in Corinth. (He wrote II Corinthians from Philippi) (I Cor 16:8, 19)
When you read I & II Thessalonians, Jason hosted church in his home there. (Acts 17:5)
When you read Colossians and Philemon, the man Philemon is mentioned as hosting church in his Colossian home, and a woman named Nymphas hosted church in her home as well. (Ph v2, Col 4:15)
Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Philemon, Timothy - all those letters we know who the original hosts and hostesses were those letters were written to, and the church in their homes. We also know historically the whole body of Christ met in homes exclusively - so Matthew through the Revelation - were letters all addressed to, and read by, those practicing church in the house.
Therefore I have to ask the question:
Have you accepted the reality of the world with which what you've been presented?
If so - don't worry about it, you are not to blame. You are like Truman, who could not have believed anything else because that is all he knew. But one day Truman stumbled on inconsistencies that got him thinking.
The Producer of the Truman Show observed of Truman:
"We've become bored with watching actors give us phony emotions. We are tired of pyrotechnics and special effects. While the world he inhabits is, in some respects, counterfeit, there's nothing fake about Truman himself."
There is nothing fake about you. You long to know God, to have a God experience instead of a church experience, and are realizing God moves within the context He set forth - family, friends, co-workers meeting in homes as His highest and best.
Next week, more context, and where to go from here.