Sunday Sheep Ponderings – September 4,2016

Pondering today on walls. We build walls, both physical and emotional, to either keep something out or keep something in. Either way, the reasoning for the wall is protection. We build walls to try and protect those we love from evil, to try and protect our possessions from theft and to try and protect our hearts from pain. Walls are our attempt to “control”. (Read that again, that will preach!)
So what about religious walls? We can look back to early church history and see that walls started going up around the church within a few hundred years after the resurrection of Jesus. Why? 
I believe the walls started going up around the church to try and “control” the people, to keep them in line, to make them dependent on the leaders, and even to line their coffers with money. Church history does have a dark and violent side and I believe it shaped some of the walls we still have today. 
Today’s walls look different, for sure, but I believe “control” is still the root. Just some questions to ponder…
Why do most churches have membership?
Why do most churches have a statement of faith?
I know the cliche answers, to build community, to be a part of something bigger than yourself, to show loyalty, to make sure we are all on the same page, to show we are “like-minded”, etc. Yet, something deep within me thinks that the same old root of “control” is at play. Control of who is in and who is out. Control of your wallet. Control of your theology. Control of your lifestyle. Control of your image. Control of your thinking. Control of their numbers. It’s very subtle and it can appear “good” but is it? 
I don’t mean to sound like a Debbie Downer and I am by no means judging. I struggled with “control” most of my adult life! I tried to control everything and everyone around me. I’m quite familiar with the subject because I thought it was my friend and it turned out to be my biggest enemy. I’m not judging, I’m exposing. 
Friends, don’t ever let anyone control your relationship with God. You are free! Ask any kind of questions and as many questions of Him as you want! Listen to the voice of the spirit within you. Don’t fall into the trap of an “us” and “them” world. We are all His creation and all dearly loved. None of us know for sure what awaits us after we leave these mortal bodies but I have a strong inkling that your denomination, church membership and lists of rights and wrongs won’t matter much. How can I say that? Because they didn’t seem to matter much to Jesus. Control was never his motive and he lived to tear down walls. 
What did matter to Jesus? What still matters? Love
Here’s to tearing down walls and pouring out love! Happy Sunday my friends!
(Side note…this pondering has nothing to do with politics)

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