Saturday, July 21, 2012

Spiritual Fatherlessness

I had an interesting conversation with an old friend this week, it reminded me that I DO NOT what to be the church policeman. I don't want to establish, maintain, monitor and ultimately punish violators of "the rules", You know, those man made religious, rules and regulations with a side order of "the traditions of men." I have zero desire to be a church cop, but I have an enormous desire to be a spiritual father. In my humble opinion, the world has more than enough self appointed prophets, priests and kings. All the while, lacking drastically in spiritual moms and dads.

Back on October 29th, 2010 I posted to this blog a brief article titled What I Want to Do I listed 5 things, 5 simple things. Here they are:

  1. I want to be a friend of God.
  2. I want to comprehensively experience God's extravagant love for me.
  3. I want to love people as extravagantly as I have been loved.
  4. I want to introduce my extravagantly loving Friend to everyone I know.
  5. I want to help others others experience this ongoing love affair for themselves.

Missing something? Notice the absence of religious rules and regs? Good.

Back in the 70's the Charismatic Renewal sweep through the Catholic Church and took my family right along with it. We typically saw 22 year olds leading meetings while regularly providing opportunity for a skinny 16 year old kid from the neighborhood to lead as well. It was an absolutely wonderful season in my life. However, we did have one enormous problem, we were spiritually fatherless. The parish priest was happy enough to grant us permission to use the school cafeteria, but not happy enough to join our group of 250 every Thursday evening. On the other end of the theological spectrum, our Pentecostal brothers wouldn't touch us with a ten foot pole lest they too would get a sudden urge to pray the Rosary. We were fatherless and like most kids without a father, we made a lot of mistakes and got into a lot of trouble. With rare exceptions (men like Bob Mumford for example) the church didn't know what to do with us so they just left us alone.

So, I wonder, who's next? Upon whom will God almighty sovereignly choose to pour out his Spirit? I'm not talking fraud, I'm talking about the real thing. The real God's actual Spirit. Now that we're the grown ups,  will we step up and lovingly father and mother the next move of God or will we join the ranks of the too easily offended? What if this next move is among Muslims or Hindus or Mormons? What if God chooses to pour out his Spirit, dare I say it - among the gay community? Any one of these groups would be as offensive to Evangelical Christians today as Catholics were to the Pentecostals back in the 1970's or Gentiles were to Jews in the first century.

If you're on the church police squad you may feel this overwhelming need to get them back in line. However, if your only objective is to love them, to be a spiritual mom or dad, to help them experience God's love lavish and extravagant love for themselves... Well, then you just might want to turn in your gun and your badge because you're not going to need them anymore.

(C) Tom Zawacki 2012

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