the church as we know it is becoming history

the church as we know it is becoming history June 29, 2013

let my people go cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward
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Last week, I wrote this for The Lasting Supper, which you’re invited to join. This is some of the stuff we talk about:

Sometimes I find it strange that I still think biblically. In other words, I still look for a kind of biblical story within which to fit my own narrative. For example, lately I’ve been thinking just how far outside the church I have become and feel. Let me explain.

Jesus was a radical within a monotheistic culture, society and country. It was perfectly homogenous. When you were this radical the only solution was death because there were no other options. When Paul came along, there were options. There was diversity. But the way they dealt with Paul was to exile him, remove him from the community, shun and reject him.

Even at the very end of his life, Paul continued trying to make a seamless connection between Judaism and “this sect” (Acts 28: 22). Finally, he gave up and said, “… this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.” He tried for a while to bridge the gap, but after many years he finally gave up on the synagogue and even Judaism and, basically, started a new religion that came to be known as Christianity. This isn’t to say he still connected with some Jews and kept relationship with them. But the big picture was Judaism could not embrace this new sect and so this sect remained outside and became something new and even separate.

This is where I feel I’m at right now. Christianity and the church, although I’m still in conversation with it, compares to the Judaism Paul was dealing with. Even though he carried within him his Jewish roots, he blossomed into something entirely new and different. He left Judaism behind.

I carry within me my Christian roots. But I feel like I’m turning my back on all this and turning my eyes towards something entirely new and different. I don’t know what “it” looks like because there is no “it”. All I see is “them” that is now becoming “us”. How this plays out practically in my life I’ve yet to discern.

But here’s one thing: I know nakedpastor has helped a lot of people. It has been my way of tearing my way out of the old regime. But now I’m in the new… whatever that is. A lot of the reaction I get for what I do is hyper religious bullshit and I just can’t stand listening to that completely useless drivel anymore. And the reactions I get on Facebook to my cartoons and stuff… I just don’t care anymore.

So now I’m asking myself how to leave behind all that crap, how to continue nakedpastor in a meaningful and useful way, and how to speak a new language to a new people. I don’t know yet. All I know is that it is time for something new. Not a new regime. But new spacious space for freedom.

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