“No! Don’t think outside the box! Once you say that, you’ve established that there is a box.” – Walt Disney
We’ve heard it before. You know. “Thinking outside the box.” I’ve been described as someone who thinks outside the box and challenges the status quo. Yet, the box is no longer my point of reference. By that I mean the Sunday experience in a church building is no longer where I base my faith or life in Christ.
My heart and imagination have been captured by John 15.1-11 for more than three years. It’s where Jesus speaks about Him being The Vine and we being the branches who bear fruit that grows as a result of our abiding in Him. That, my friends, is my point of reference. Each step I take is my last point of reference because my heart’s intent is to walk into and be God’s presence to those around me. Basically, the unfolding of God’s kingdom in the here and now. If I’m connected to The Vine, which isn’t always easy because of my stubbornness, then the Spirit can bear fruit in me and the world around me can be blessed by that fruit. Otherwise, I become a dried up branch that gets painfully pruned back to allow for the life giving juices to flow again.
So, no, the box (church building, programs and activities) is no longer my point of
reference. It’s neither good nor bad, in comparison to your situation or experience. It’s where I find myself in this current space and time.
I imagine you want to ask me, “Gibby, where are you being fed?,” “Who’s your pastor?” or “Whose spiritual umbrella are you under?” Well, being that I’m part of the royal priesthood, the body of Christ, the Church…I have a few brothers and sisters to whom I mutually submit to be challenged, loved, restored, equipped and continually sent out. My mission field, per se, and mechanism for living out my faith is my life. That life includes my job, my bike rides and anywhere I step. It is there from which I am launched to care for, serve and love others. Surprisingly, social media is also another mechanism where friendships have blossomed to bear fruit of hope in Christ. When the Spirit is in it you’ll see the evidence in the fruit.
Let me state again that the box is no longer the point of reference for my faith. However, I need you to not misunderstand the sentiment with this post. I do have hope and faith in the future of the Ekklesia. I do believe in gathering to serve, love and equip the followers of Jesus. Yet, we need a good pruning and re-tuning. We need to lay aside our religious sacred cows and simply abide…trusting the Spirit to move with and in us as we follow Jesus…as we make disciples.
“Jesus is God’s way of refusing to give up his dream for the world.” – Rob Bell
Image credit: Eyedzard