Fellowship. We are all in this Journey together. Each and everyone of us, with all our strengths and weaknesses. Our Angels and demons. It is easy to lose sight of this. That is okay, don’t beat yourself up about it. Pain, suffering . . . desire can all become distracting. When you recognize this, be gentle with yourself and return to center . . . Re-orient. Realize that the Divine Source of All Origin desires Mercy, not sacrifice. Gently restore those who have lost focus as well, for we all too have this in common. Always look for the deep beauty; not the transient beauty that withers like the grass . . . but the Deep Beauty that endures: The beauty of the moment, the beauty that is eternal, transcendent and imminent. The beauty that is like a solid rock but yet living, dynamic. A beauty that has you, that has me. Breathe!
The Beautiful Breakdown. Sometimes . . .
I’ve really wrestled with this one, endeavoring to be open, aware of my own biases in bringing this from the gut level. Staying away from generalizations and then again avoiding “this is how it is”: I.E. I don’t want to say “This is the only way it rolls and these are the twelve steps of Deconstruction”. That’s because the deconstruction I’m talking about is personal. VERY personal. And as this is coming from gut-level and I’m trying to avoid “The Censor” that wants to make this cute & tasty. I’m going to offer this in a series of statements that can be viewed, if you wish, as questions. I definitely won’t offer any solutions, resolutions or conclusions to those questions. I can’t. No one can. Only you can answer those questions for yourself. And they must be sought on The Journey.
Deconstruction is not about destruction.
I borrow here from the Emergent tribe who years ago made the statement “We only deconstruct except that we reconstruct”. This in another way can be said that it’s about shifting your paradigm. Including what you’ve excluded before. “De-demonizing” other perspectives in the world around us. For there is no “other”; no “us and them”. There is just “us”. I know this is generalizing, but we all need Love, Grace and Healing. That makes all of us One.
We get to ask questions. Never really needed permission but the Religious Matrix really discouraged that dangerous beasty named “Why?”. And while this whole series is focused on The Journey away from the RM it can really be applied to every system, every organization. And I’m not saying let anarchy and chaos reign here: systems, organizations, institutions have their place. But they also have their limits and left unchecked will mutate into something evil. (But I digress . . .)
Questions are good, questions are necessary. But do not expect quick and easy answers. This is what makes deconstruction so personal . . . so challenging. Because you gotta walk this out yourself. I’m not saying that you are going to be alone in this (but that’s another story) but deconstruction is about chucking the “pat answers” with all their biases, prejudices and fences. The fences get torn down; it’s open range and the field is wide, wide open. Fear will kick in and haunting voices will whisper discouragement. But step on out. The grandeur and the freedom are worth it.
I remember hearing a talk on a podcast where a reader had written to the host about Spiritual Maturity being “A transformation from arrogant confidence to thoughtful uncertainty”. That is something that has stuck with me through my journey. That in the questing I’ve learned to be comfortable with the questions without having the answers. An awakening to the layers of bias and prejudice that have been lathered over scripture and the doctrines that have arisen in support of those biases. The explanations given for the inconsistencies and contradictions now suspect. The un-nerving realization that I have a really deep recognition bias within that must be challenged. The usual reactions (at least with me) is to stuff and bury it or purge myself of it. Instead, I embrace the uncertainty as it is part of The Real, The Now-Here. It is a part of our wholeness, our humanity.
This is what scares academics, theology teachers and those who like their cornflakes to be the same and there every morning of everyday. Consistent, dependable reliable. It is like the earthquake that reveals the weaknesses of what was thought to be sound and solid. It tumbles our idols that we’ve built up around ourselves for protection. In one sense it feels like we are being forced in a direction that we do not want to explore but in reality it is the ultimate “great attractor”, an irresistible pull that whispers “Come and follow me”. It is freedom. But like an animal that has been lulled into docility by being kept in a cage too long, we are fearful of wandering too far from the confines of the familiarity. The keepers of the cages cry out in warning to us saying that we will become lost. That we will throw-off restraint and loose everything. Maybe there is some truth in that. I don’t know. I know that I will make mistakes, walk down a few dead-end paths and stumble now and then. But one will never learn to ride a bike or a horse if one doesn’t learn to get back up. The Divine is ever strong and present in each step of that. Those green pastures and still waters are real. Deconstruction is about letting go, learning to trust, seeing the illusion of the barriers that have been placed on us: by others and ourselves.
For me part of the “new unfolding” has meant learning to sit in silence, unplug from the distractions and listen. Not for the earthquake or firestorm but for the still, quiet voice. Embracing uncertainty and the paradox that I’m whole and yet there is a brokenness. Being willing to let my paradigms get shifted yet once again. Ever questing but being content with the questions and no answers. Again, no conclusions for you. I hope I’ve provoked some deep thought and perhaps have helped.
This is my deconstruction. And I’m cool with that. May Grace, Love and Shalom tackle you in yours.
Okay, you have or are going through the “Big Disconnect”, you are at some phase of Detox from the Religious Matrix wondering “Just how deep does this Rabbit Hole go?” when, -BOOM!- from the depths of detox something emerges: Anger. “The cringe factor” and an almost irresistible urge to spew out all the hurt, the pain, disappointment and questions you’ve been keeping stuffed way down inside when you were in the RM. I mean, you had to, right? To question, to show anything else but a happy face and to nod in agreement with what Agent Smith said was “the truth” was at least foolish if not down-right dangerous. Lethal even. You could be branded a “loose cannon”, a heretic. Someone who was “under rebellion”. Worse yet if you happen to be female for then you get the added “Jezebel” or “witch” label. So you stuffed and stuffed, keeping the questions to yourself, hiding all that was going on deep inside because those in the system just wouldn’t understand and they would tear you to shreds. There must be something wrong with you because surely they don’t have these problems, right? I mean, they MUST have it all together . . .right???
But then your world was busted, broken into. Peter Pan showed up, you followed Alice through the Looking Glass. The Enterprise beamed you up and now you have truly gone where no one has gone before. (Except you will encounter The One who has gone on before and is coming back . . .). You’ve been set free but you got this suitcase of “stuffed things” that you just can’t seem unload. The urge to unload to anyone (or on anyone or anything) is hard to resist.
This is very understandable. Let me suggest it is not necessarily wrong either. But before we unpack this farther, let me suggest that “How one leaves the last setting will be key to how one enters the next setting”, as put forth by my friend Martin Scott. (You can find the his perspective on that here . . . http://3generations.eu/blog/archives/183 )
Let me encourage you that Yeshua invites you to bring it all: All the light stuff, all the Dark stuff into conversation with him. It’s of no surprise to him. That’s the first and best place to bring and unload it. Be open to the clearing, cleaning and healing process. There will be a “sorting” process as well. The “wheat from the chaff” process (to use a well-worn expression). Some of the crap that gets cleaned up is legit and the lessons learned remembered. Other crap is the level result of our own ego: the base self, the ever pouting child who wants its’ own way (which is never easy to face).
The mode of leaving is important because it will affect the next portion of your journey. Call it “the ripple affect” if you will. I can’t really explain it, only describe it. Call it “sowing and reaping”, karma, the law of three-fold return, what goes around comes around . . . whatever. That’s why I said in my last post “First Things” that the first thing to do is nothing because the temptation after the “BD” is to run out and join, do or start something religious. That will just inevitably perpetuate the problem. Do we really want to project forward that which we are trying to leave?
And remember what I said about all those who don’t seem to have that problem and appear to have it all together? That’s a lie. It’s an illusion fostered somewhat by conformance to the RM and mostly by the ego. Believe me, those folks are stuffing just as much, putting on “faces” just as much as you or I.
Another irritating thing in all of this is that there was SOME good stuff that came out of all our time in the system. It wasn’t all bad. This of course does not mean to justify the stuff that was bad. Misuse and Abuse does have to be pointed out. But neither does Misuse and abuse negate Original Intent either. So in cleaning house try not to throw out the good with the bad. The good stuff hang onto for you will need it for the journey ahead. It may be difficult but develop a discipline of Thanks Giving, of finding the Gold in all the dirt. Find a good, safe place to deal with all the crap. Flinging “it” around will likely result getting it on everything around ad the road ahead. Something you won’t want to step in later on.
You will find people on this Journey with whom you can share all the pain and sorrow with. They are a joy and blessing to find. They will keep what you share in confidence, but they won’t keep you from moving on, they will encourage you to keep on “keeping on”. Beware those who are stuck in “Crabby detox” (a term I borrow from Robby Mac, author of “Detoxing from Church”. By the way, where the heck is Robby Mac? His web presence has mysteriously vanished . . .) Those in crabby detox have stopped on their journey and are content to rant, rave and rage about real (and illusionary) abuses of others in the RM. They will welcome you with open arms but will pull you back down when you try to leave. (Misery loves company).
The Good News in all of this is The One who has set you free has not left you alone. Like Merlin was to Arthur, like Morpheus was to Neo, like Elijah was to Elisha so is Yeshua there for you. There is Shalom to be found on this mysterious road of The Journey. Speak Peace to your past so that Peace waits for you ahead.
During or shortly after going through the big disconnect you find yourself “free” from the matrix, from the structures you had once been so much part of. In this exhilaration a wide range of possibilities begin to emerge and you find yourself faced with a plethora of options. A very natural tendency is run ahead with abandon and plunge into something that appears to resonate with you. Or, with equal zeal, you delve into building a “right model” of what you have perceived.
Might I suggest that when you feel those urges that you take a moment, breathe deep three times and pause. Maybe even take a cold shower. For what is coming to you is a mixture of things; mostly from the Matrix and your Ego that has been influenced by the system.
The best thing, the First Thing is to do . . . nothing.
Unplug. Enjoy the free Sundays (or whatever the “orthodox” holy day of gathering was). Sleep in, put down the Bible (or whatever your “holy” book is . . . or was) and read the Sunday comics section of the newspaper. Don’t go to any “religious” meetings, gatherings, conferences, revivals . . . Don’t “Do”. Just “Be”.
Do nothing. A prophetic friend of mine once uttered humorously that “There is ‘something’ in ‘nothing’”. Just let that sink in for a moment. Might I remind you of Elijah’s’ cave moment? We get scared of the silence. We do anything, ANYTHING to keep busy, to keep that noise going because we are scared shitless of quieting down and being in that silence. That Silence that says to us “Be Still. Be Still and Know. Be”.
Go for a walk in the woods or by the ocean. If you live in an urban setting then go to the park or go to the museum or a gallery. There’s a world out there of infinite diversity in infinite combinations. In each encounter The Divine has a grand revelation for you that will become visible as you open-up by not doing, just being. You will begin to see Yeshua in people and places that you would have never imagined or expected when in the RM.
This mode of “not doing” is a process. Give yourself Grace. If you find yourself getting “caught up” in the old habits of “do-do”, just relax and let it go. (Yes I know, a load of pun in that . . .). Speaking of “process”, which is what one also does when getting rid of the “do-do”; This is the natural way of getting rid of the waste (the toxins) that one does not need. A whole new paradigm of Detox on that. And that is what you will find as you learn to relax into just being. You start to detox. From the RM, the system . . . your Ego. The false expectations. The performance syndrome. A whole load of crap.
Next time I will unpack a little bit more on “How you leave your current place/situation/paradigm will influence how you enter the next”. And if there is time, start to look at another process called “deconstruction”. Don’t panic!
Relax, breathe and do nothing.
Remember: There is something in nothing.
As with many aspects of the Journey, the one of Detox is an on-going process. I suspect it is one that will last my entire life. I’m o.k. with that . . . mostly.
As it is such a big topic, I will be doing it in parts in the attempt to do it justice. I am not the first to do so, and where I can I will share links to those who have also touched on the subject. I much appreciate the perspectives they bring to the conversation.
As such, I would like to start out with a quote from my friend Martin Scott. I met Martin many years ago when I was in a particular paradigm of the RM. Martin is one of those people who can easily move between and in/out of traditional and not-so-traditional realms of ekklesia. His is one of the few prophetic voices I pay attention to. Back in the early days of the beginning of my Big Disconnect from the RM, Martin started a series called Transitions. You can start Here and glean what you can.
One of the first things that Martin shared that struck a very deep chord within me was this: “How you leave your current situation determines how you enter your next situation”
And when you are in the Big Disconnect and starting to Detox this is VERY IMPORTANT to remember. Because when you are detoxing you are eliminating waste from your system. Not only the poison from the wounds, misuse and abuse you received at the hands of the RM. But also from your own crap and what you put forth whilst in the system. In Detox you start to deal with your Ego, the false self, the shadow (Jungian paradigm here). I call it the “cringe” factor. The stuff that makes you want to “Have another beer and a second banana-nut muffin” as Brené Brown says. (Yes, she’s another source I’ll quote from time to time an link).
In this there will be some dark times on this road. It can be daunting at times. Even painful. But Jung said learning to embrace our shadow is a good thing. If you can’t handle that maybe Teresa of Avila “Interior Castle” metaphor will work for you. Or Young’s “The Shack”. You will eventually be able to relax in the dark, embracing your shadow. Because you will come to find that you are not alone. Yeshua is there with you right smack-dab in the middle of it all. Helping with the detox. Bringing healing.
“Where can I go from you oh Lord? Even if I go down to lowest depths (where there is no light) Lo, there You are. The night is as day to You.”
Shalom on The Journey. There are many who walk with you . . .
Lessons on The Journey: Breathe
Before we go to much farther, something very important needs to be addressed.
You will find healing.
Having gone through the “Big Disconnect” or maybe you’re still in it and most likely one of the main causes is that you have suffered (and have seen others suffer) spiritual abuse.
You will find healing. Breathe!
You are not alone. The system may have kicked you out or forsaken you. Folks you once thought of as “friends” have disappeared, forsaken you or even out-right attacked you.
But you are not alone. You WILL find healing. Breathe!
You’ve been hurt. You may feel like Neo in the first “Matrix” movie where he is in the his office building trying to get away from the agents. He says to himself; “Why is this happening to me? This is crazy! I can’t do this!”
If may feel like that you are lost, that you are alone. But you are not!
You feel hurt, angry, betrayed even. You might even really be pissed at God.
That IS okay. You WILL find healing. Breathe!
Papa is there with you, walking with you and will bring you through this. It may seem like your whole world has been turned upside down and all of the familiar, comfortable foundations have been pulled from beneath your feet. It has! But The One who creates all worlds and has set the True Foundation has you in Holy Hands.
Be prepared for something marvelous and wonderful!
You WILL find Shalom. Grace and Love and Freedom like you’ve never imagined.
Healing. And Growth! Not comfortable at times as you come to grips with your Shadow.
But remember, there is no place that Papa does not dwell. In the beginning the world was dark and formless and the Spirit brooded above the waters.
You are being birthed into a new world.
As a child, take one step at a time.
You WILL find healing.
Breathe dear one, Breathe. And remember:
Not only is Yeshua the author and finisher of our faith;
He is the only one who has written himself into our story and us into His Story.
Lessons on The Journey: The System
This post will be most likely be the only “linear” part of “Lessons on The Journey” as all others after this will not be presented in any sort of order. In fact, you will most likely find that the path is more spiral in nature. But that’s another topic. What follows may not bring any of those “Ah Ha!” moments and I admit is very systematic (pun intended). But it is none the less crucial in helping avoid “magical thinking” later on down the road when you encounter various forms of The System. It also will help you define your “BullShit” detection when encountering the more twisted structures.
IT’s Everywhere! Eeeeekkkkk!
The reason why I wanted to start with “The System” is that it is prevalent everywhere. Those who have experienced the “Big Disconnect” from the RM and who have now entered into Detox run the risk of being side-tracked (caught up in an eddy) of system-bashing; endlessly railing against real and perceived evils of the system (using it as a pseudo scape-goat) and thus unwittingly becoming very jaded and very, VERY cynical. Getting caught up into these eddies is bound to happen from time to time. Healing doesn’t happen in these places. Which is not a good place to be.
The Good, The Bad and the Really, REALLY Ugly.
The Good is that system, organization & structure (SOS) have their purposes. I am very thankful for them when I ride/drive in a vehicle, fly on a plane, and kickback on my favorite couch in my house. SOS is very welcomed and needed for traffic lights, waste water treatment and surgery procedures. Life itself is very organized (and also very chaotic; which will be filed under Paradox. Something we will go into some other time . . .). Everything tends to organize, either itself or it’s environment. Including us Humans. It’s natural. It’s Organic (an oft currently over-used term now-a-days, but none the less real).
The Bad is that systems have their limits. When that limit is reached, things break down. Cracks begin to appear. A larger system may have a farther distance from its core to its limit, but larger systems tend to be more complex. The more complex, the greater the break downs and cracks become fissures. When it comes to human designed systems, which are very often out of harmony with the rest of creation, the magnitude of the potential disasters when the limit is reached are far greater.
. . . and the Really, REALLY Ugly
“RESISTANCE IS (almost) FUTILE.” In the Star Trek Universe, the Borg are the ultimate enemy to everyone. They are cyborgs; a mixture of human and technology. Parts of their bodies have been augmented or even totally replaced with computer technology, electro-mechanical devices and various artificial sensors. Theirs is a hive-mind collective, with the masses being controlled by a select leader. All individuality, all diversity and authentic relationship has been eliminated. There is only the collective and its needs to be served. This is what happens when The System morphs (or perhaps mutates is a better word) at this point. Everything becomes centered around perpetuating the system; Keeping it going. Feeding it. Serving it. Sacrificing to it or for it. The System begins to take on an identity of its own. This is nothing new, really. You can see examples everywhere: Corporations, Institutions, Governments are all subject to this mutation. They form their own unique collective matrix to maintain the status-quo.
Neo Visits The Shack and Realizes that He isn’t in Kansas Any More.
(ya think maybe I could mix more metaphors?)
So what is one to do? Perhaps like Neo in “The Matrix” you have begun to suspect that there is something going on but just what isn’t exactly clear. You’re tempted to take the blue pill and wake-up, believing whatever you want. After all, who can change The System?
In the story “The Shack”, one of my favorite passages reads thus:
[Jesus] “Mack, the world system is what it is. Institutions, systems, ideologies, and all the vain futile efforts of humanity that go with them are everywhere, and interaction with all of it is unavoidable. But I can give you freedom to overcome any system of power in which you find yourself, be it religious, economic, social, or political. You will grow in the freedom to be inside or outside all kinds of systems and to move freely between and among them.”
[Mack] “But so many of the people I care about seem to be both in it and of it!” Mack was thinking of his friends, church people who had expressed love to him and his family. He knew they loved Jesus, but were also sold out to religious activity and patriotism.
[Jesus] “Mack, I love them. And you wrongly judge many of them. For those who are both in it and of it, we must find ways to love and serve them, don’t you think? Remember, the people who know me are the ones who are free to live and love without any agenda.”
So the ultimate goal of The Journey is not to tilt at the windmills of the system but rather is about learning to live well loved and loving others well. That is where true freedom begins.