Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Take Me In (From the Outer Courts)

Take me past the outer courts;
To the Holy Place,
I hunger and thirst for Your righteousness
and it's only found one place.

Take me into the Holy of Holies
Take me in by the blood of the Lamb
Take me into the Holy of Holies
Take the coal
Cleanse my lips
Here I am

I recently began attending a new ministry for me. It harkens me back to my early days in the faith when I was deeply involved with the Promise Keepers movement. I will not spend time here deconstucting the pros and cons of coach McCartney's brainchild. That has been done ad nauseum.
There is a significant number of men in this ministry (which will remain nameless, because the points I will bring up, I'm sure are universal) who are either unemployed, low-income, or struggling in recovery. At first, I didn't perceive this as a problem. Indeed, since my last posting, I have had a relapse of sort that cost me dearly. Still, my heart and longing are for a deeper, richer, more cerebral encounter with God that will spur my emotions.
I have realized that the very dynamics of emotion versus intellect creates a theological stereotype that is as worldly as it is fallacious. I am intellectually stimulated...this is where my passion is. Therefore, the expectation is that because I am intellectually motivated that my theological POV will be seminarian and middle of the road...palettably acceptable. Conversely, the expectation that emotional driven people will respond like a BF Skinner experiment, reacting to each prodding of the Spirit...staying in the moment.
This was made clearer to me when I attended a second meeting of this ministry. The leadership is well-meaning. However, I don't know if I can remain there. I want to feed myself but the trappings of the seeker friendly church pervade the gatherings. The theology has been thus far, esoteric at best. Testimonials...door prizes for recalling one line Scriptures...and the brooding specter of recovery always just below the surface.
I want my emotions lit up by a rapturous epiphany of intellectual understanding. My salvation experience was like that. I likened the moment to walking in the rain for 30 years and suddenly realizing I am wet. I am no example for any person to follow in my walk with God. The only true assurance that I have is that I am saved. Everything else is left to the quality of my lackluster obedience.
If I struggle so mightily with obedience and I believe I have a fairly seasoned understanding of the Scriptures, how much more flaccid will be the walk of those who do not have that experience. Where are the systematic inductive Bible studies that so many women's ministries seem to have? Do we challenge the emotional to intellectual growth as much as the intellectual have been challenged to emotional response.
I don't want to exclusively nail this malady to the mega-church concept, but the fact is that often this becomes the way of the large congregation. There is no model for the mega-church in the Scripture. On the contrary, the teachers were intinerant and home churches were often left to study the Scriptures and allow the Spirit to reveal through the logos what the rheyma is saying.
This may simply be my own issue. I have a deep restlessness in me. I don't know as much as I want. But I want to be affected by that knowledge. I pray in tongues, I know my Word, and my spirit perks up when I hear error that unsettles it. I want His Word to be so familiar to me that I don't need to pull out the Book.
I no longer want to be the one on the outer courts. If you love Him with only your intellect, you are still in the outer courts...the same with only your emotion....
"Thou shalt love the LORD your God with all of your heart, mind, and soul."

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