Dear On-Fire Christian(/legalist):
First of all, I have to say that as infuriating a conversation with you can be at times, I really do love you. And I understand where you're coming from because that is where I have come from. Maybe that's why your words are so frustrating to me, I remember so clearly not so long ago living the 'life' you're living, speaking the same words to people, feeling the self-righteous rush of satisfaction when I thought I'd pleased God with my 'ministry'. I remember how good it felt to have said the right thing at the right time to someone who obviously needed my help to do better or be better, to get their life in order. What a high you can get from giving someone the answer to all their problems, the exact prescription they need, what they need to do to get what they want in life, to get closer to God, to become more holy and righteous and respectable in the church. Yes, I remember...
So thank-you for your good intentions, I appreciate your sincere concern and care. But you needn't waste your time worrying about me! I admit I don't go to church right now, I even admit that I don't want to go to any church I know of. I admit that church is either mind numbingly boring or alternately infuriating to me and I avoid going like the plague. I say 'church' with your idea of church in mind; the so-called organized church of any and all shapes, sizes, denominations,systems, theological slants, or various creative versions of it. And I don't think less of anyone who is part of that church, if you enjoy it then more power to you! I'm glad you can, and part of me wishes I could too...I'm sad that for me the 'meeting together' happens less often and regularly at my house or someone else's, on the phone or online...
It's a little lonely sometimes, and sometimes I dream of packing up and moving far away to live closer to people who know what we're talking about when we say 'gospel' or 'grace' ! But we belong here, here with the chickens and ducks, rabbits and cats, one dog and four children...and no grace church. But as lonely as ever I get, I can't come to your church and sit by while everyone is slowly crushed to death by the weight of the law, either by a little law or much more. Don't tell me all proud of yourself and your church that you only mix in a little bit, that really won't impress me. I'd rather you went the whole way and preached the entire Old Covenant and left Jesus completely out of it, you're tarnishing his Good Name, the name I love. So if you think you can guilt me or in some way manipulate me to go to church, yours or somewhere else, I think you might sooner convince me of my need to go to synagogue. Honestly I stay away from your church out of respect, I know I won't fit in there. I know I might get up some day in the middle of your service and scream because I can't take anymore of that bull dung (I forego using the appropriate word out of respect for you). See? Now you made me cry. I can't stop thinking about all the words you spoke to me, words of condemnation though you don't even know enough to see it. Condemnation is second nature to you in your spiritual world. You are the serious christian, and now, thank God, I am not. I'm just a beloved son of God with whom he is well pleased.
And I don't spend even a second of my days anymore worrying about the right or wrong of what I'm doing. I'm not busy trying to get close to him, to try and figure out his will about what I should be doing. I'm not anxiously trying to please him and there are no special conditions I need in order to worship him or experience his presence. So please forgive me if I politely ignore your advice to seek his face, to pray and ask him to show me his will, as though you already know exactly what his will for me is and what I should be doing. In fact, if you're right, why do I need to pray? You already graciously told me exactly what his will for me is, and if I don't do it then you can continue to graciously pity me because I must be miserable in my rebellious disobedience to your christian rules and regulations.
I don't mind you pitying me, really I don't. I am happier and freer than I've ever been in my life. I don't want to kill myself or divorce my husband, and attribute this largely to have gotten out of the horrible guilt system that we call the church. I am part of a happy church now, one that will hopefully materialize here physically some day soon...which is, after all, why we moved here in the first place. But it's hard to be in such a hurry when I'm resting in God, knowing that his timing is good and perfect. I'm sorry that it freaks you out to see me so calm and peaceful when you think I should be striving and working. How can I even tell you that I'm happy in God and he in me? You have no category for such a statement, you wouldn't even know what I'm talking about, it would just worry you more that I'm so casual about 'sin' and 'righteousness'. But you miss the passion I have for the gospel! Passion and burning joy in the truth that we have already been given everything need for life and godliness in Jesus! I lack nothing. I am excited to grow and learn more in grace, to receive more and more glorious revelation of what I've received, but I LACK NOTHING!
So though I love you very much on-fire christian, I will not join you in YOUR lack. I am not judging you, you have admitted your lack with your many different words and arguments and I can see that you want me to join you in your lack and your striving to be filled by God. You will never find what you seek as long as you are operating by old covenant strategies. There is only one way to have God and his loving blessing on your life and that is only faith in Jesus, not ever ever ever ANYTHING you may do. Not prayer, not fasting, not worship, not obedience of any sort...and conversely, not praying, not fasting, not worshipping, not obeying can never remove the loving blessing of God on your life once you have received him by faith.
But I too would love to talk more. I would love to talk about the gospel next time we talk, to revel in the goodness of God's love for both of us, instead of worrying about the knowledge of good and evil, trying to figure out right and wrong. Has that ever helped anyone do better or meet God's perfect standard of righteousness? I have probably heard thousands of such sermons and teaching over my lifetime and can tell you it never did me any good. I spent my days up and down between self-righteous triumph and suicidal self-hatred according to my perception of how well I obeyed the church's (God's?) law for me. Ironically I am still respected as a very godly person in many of my past circles because I was such a legalist! I hope that God uses my past legalism to give me some credibility when I meet these people and with you now that I am able to share the good news!
Sorry for my long long rant, and I apologize for rolling my eyes so much as we talked on the phone, I hope I will remember not to do that if you ever come over and talk in person...