I have this distinct feeling washing over me that I will be moving back around again to some of the concepts that preoccupied my mind the last time I attended college, namely, a much deeper and broader quest for understanding the Spirit outside of the confines of what is laid out for me in most teachings of my church and commonly accepted readings of the Bible. I have this sense that Jesus taught his disciples so much more than what we have chosen to keep in our canon–and even within that there might be many instances where words were put into Jesus’ mouth for the sake of advancing a cohesive set of beliefs in the early Christian church following the main councils. Primarily, I think that the straitjacket I’ve been imposing upon Christ has led me to greatly reduce the amount of Love that Christ really wants to make available for me and the rest of the world. By getting too caught up in worrying about whether or not I am following this or that specific teaching or parable from the Bible, I have forgotten how to simply love others, and also most importantly, to love myself (in a wholesome, ordinate way, of course).
I’ve become too caught up in all of the requirements of my denomination for ordination, and hoping to properly dot my i’s and cross my t’s to demonstrate that I am a good and proper member of my denomination. Meanwhile, I have completely lost sight of the original delight and love I felt when I returned to following Christ. Moving forward, my agenda will be to follow Christ, not to follow a teacher, pastor, or other leader of a sect or denomination. If this means that I never end up being a true pastor, then I am okay with that.
What is especially unfortunate is that most of my fight originated in a struggle against all of the add-on BS that seems to accompany what we do in the church, but it soon permeated every aspect of my life, including my relations with loved ones and friends, and even my relationship with Christ. Christ, of course, did not say, go get your MDiv, then pass your ordination exams, get your head checked by a shrink, and then come follow me after so many internships and associate pastoral positions. He just said, come follow me.
Where I have to begin again is right there–I follow Christ and see where He is leading me, and that could mean any number of churches, denominations or the negation thereof. It will once again mean focusing on His people, and loving them. But, I think that first, I have to get my head, heart and soul right again with God. I have to inherently understand why the concept of following Christ brings me so much joy, and then go from there.