Sunday Scribblings #42: Idea
1. any conception existing in the mind as a result of mental understanding, awareness, or activity.
2. a thought, conception, or notion: That is an excellent idea.
3. an impression: He gave me a general idea of how he plans to run the department
4. an opinion, view, or belief: His ideas on raising children are certainly strange.
5. a plan of action; an intention: the idea of becoming an engineer.
6. a groundless supposition; fantasy.
The voice of BigBob over the past several years:
“I have an idea. Why don’t you quit working so hard for the church? Your talent and efforts are not appreciated. Why don’t you think about yourself for a change, start taking care of yourself a little bit? You work too hard all week to come home and do all the work you do for that organization.
In fact, why do you even want to continue to be a member there? They are bigoted, narrow-minded, resistant to change and your viewpoints do not line up with theirs. Worse, the pastor has not stood up and done ‘the right thing’ and is never going to. That congregation is his little kingdom and he enjoys ruling over it. You are just going to continue to be frustrated and hurt.”
“Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you.” (Matthew 7:6)
“BigBob has been watching me struggle . . . for too many years and trying to convince me to quit, but I am the kind of person who doesn’t quit because I always thought that there was good work to be done. I also believed that the intentions and spirits of those involved were true, sincere, and kind-hearted. But I saw on Tuesday night — clearly, unequivocally, and with no room for debate — that my willingness to give the benefit of the doubt over and over and over was just going to continue to make me frustrated and miserable. I could no longer do it after the Holy Spirit smacked me in the face as surely as if it had stood right in front of me and pounded a 2’x4′ over my head. It has been telling me for many months to stop casting my pearls before swine. And I have done just that.
. . . [W]e know the truth. You know what you did and I know what you did, and so will a lot of other people eventually, so you can spin it all you want, but the truth has set me free and will continue to do so. I was warned by a number of folks, but I didn’t listen because I didn’t believe the things I was told. I tried to see the good. But, ultimately, [you have] no integrity to ‘call[ ] into question.’ You played me ‘like a bass fiddle.’ Bravo! Applause! Applause! Nicely done! You are a master manipulator and I truly stand in awe of your ability to maneuver things and get your way. In the end, you got what you wanted — you always do — and [ ] Church is truly, as I was warned by a large number of folks, not God’s church, but [yours]. Your fiefdom is intact. So you won’t miss me, my talent, or my money and you sure won’t miss my unwillingness to be your puppet, rubber-stamping your every move just like the remainder of your Church Council.
[T]hings started out ok, but ultimately you have disappointed me far too many times by being unwilling to stand up for what is right, good, decent, and honorable for you to continue to be my pastor. You can attempt to deflect by dumping on me, labeling me. That’s ok. Have fun with that. But I knew Tuesday night that I could never again sit in the pew and have you preach to me.”
But here’s the most exciting idea I’ve had in awhile: I left not just that congregation. I have left organized religion in any form. Instead of continuing to give thousands of hours of free service to any institutional church, I am going to explore and pursue activities and ventures that bring me pleasure, satisfaction, and personal spiritual growth.
I have an idea that all of this happened because God has something wonderful in store for me. A new adventure has begun. It started with my sleeping until 10:00 a.m. on this beautiful but extremely cold Sunday morning and being able to spend some quiet time alone with the Lord, having my own little time of worship which was infinitely more satisfying than any corporate worship service I have ever attended. And during that time, the Holy Spirit gave this verse to me:
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)