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turf wars? really?

Jamie’s blog (Jamie The Very Worst Missionary) messed with me.  Not in a bad way, but not in a pleasurable way either.  I do not think these are isolated emotions exclusive only to the mission field.  This is rampant thought throughout the Body of Christ.  She called it a turf war.  Really?   A turf war inside of Kingdom culture?  Frik!  Let’s cut the BS and call it what it is:  C O N T R O L.  Yes, we have issues with control.  No matter how tactfully we dress it with our spiritual vernacular, our rejection issues will not allow us to let go of control.  It manifests in so many ways we can’t even begin to see that the problem is “me” anymore.  We seem to just continue on our path, attempting to micro-manage everyone and everything around us.  Trust is the last thing we got going for us.  We default constantly to paradigms about how to “fence” in, “lock” in, “rope” in and “guarantee” who is with us, for us or on our side.  Maybe, if I thought this was all in the best interest of those we’re roping in, I’d be willing to soften this a bit, but I’m not convinced.  I think we’re afraid we are not going to get what we want, so we set up systems to insure and medicate our paranoia.  We do this crap because we can’t trust Him and the only way to calm our thirst for power and control is to set up ways to steward what is “mine”.  Even parental love goes sour if it doesn’t have a healthy release mechanism in place.  The controller and the controlled are both unhealthy.

I’m sure some will be offended by this notion, but even the institutional church finds it very difficult to trust.  We make sure that everyone believes what we believe before you can belong.  Then once you believe properly, we allow you to be a member.  Then once you’re a member you can hang around long enough for us to begin to trust you.  Once we trust you, we’ll think about releasing you to do what you do.  If you do it good enough, we’ll even love you, but, only if you’ll promise to stay and get on board with our agenda.  Change your mind about anything on that list and we are done.  Oh, you can attend and we’ll keep you on the rolls, but that will be the extent of it.  I don’t think these are just sour notions from a guy who once got kicked out of a church he was an official “member” of and was actually called to serve.  I’ve been around.  I know it’s pissy and condescending, but some of it is also too close for comfort.  Jamie is right, saying this stuff does make you feel like a douche.  The sheep are usually clueless about the game, but those of us pulling the strings behind the curtain are very well aware and guilty.  I have a hard time believing that He is ok with any of this silliness.

That famous passage and very kewl song begins with, “There is an appointed time for everything.   And there is a time for every event under heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1, NAS.  What that tells me is that our time of influence with anyone, under any circumstance, is short-lived, temporary, and a blip on their radar in comparison with what God might have for them over a lifetime.  Season’s come and go like the flame of a single match.  Even Jesus had to let go of his season on earth.  Hanging up there, looking down at us, He knew that we had the capacity for choice and He was going to trust us to make our choices.  There was absolutely no control involved whatsoever!  Our God was resolved with the methodology that some would “get it” and would in turn give it freely to some who freely received.  The Kingdom would advance by the meek, selfless and faith-full.  There have always been those who would take things by force.  Jesus took nothing by force (at least not the force we’re accustomed too anyway).  So we have to choose.  Will we trust those we steward or disciple to follow for a season, or will we continue to build and pour into our false self ego and twisted sense of security?  Time will tell, but some things need to change right now.  God help us to change our mind and methods of how we relate, steward, disciple and live together.  How do we embrace without holding?  Most traps are built for easy access and difficult exit.  I am certain that Kingdom relations are not to be conducted this way.


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Allison
    May 9, 2011 at 8:34 am

    absolutely brilliant. thank you.

  2. May 9, 2011 at 9:21 am

    PREACH IT! Loved this look into the deeper issue, behind the issue. I was a victim of one of these “turf wars” years ago from a mission agency that controlled everything done by denominational allegiances, and I watched a ministry to the homeless fall apart because of it. The TITLE on our church sign should not dictate whether or not we can work together with other like-minded Christians to be JESUS to the “least of these”. But sadly those in control didn’t see it that way, and wouldn’t budge. Thanks for shining light on what the REAL PROBLEM is.

  3. Marisol
    May 9, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Interesting…need time to ponder n reflect… Thanks! …

  4. MARISOL Doyle
    May 11, 2011 at 8:55 am

    I see it…I battle with it…specially when I see things done wrong…when they can hurt the kids God entrusted…who are young adults, right? I try to ask ?, find answers…but still doesn’t seem to work, it is easy for people to label: stop controlling! Is it controlling to ask ? to ask permission for
    clarification and options when in disagreement w/the young adults? LIFE IS TOUGH

    Love u guys! God bless w/His power as you continue sharing LIFE abundant LIFE…PTL!

    Covetting your prayers,

  5. jory
    May 12, 2011 at 5:41 am

    wow…I’m tired of it. Like you been hanging out over here!!! I’m up for the challenge so lets get this church thing right. Love you Big Guy.

  6. June 26, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Really glad I got added to your blog… gosh…. this wise knowledge of yours “What that tells me is that our time of influence with anyone, under any circumstance, is short-lived, temporary, and a blip on their radar in comparison with what God might have for them over a lifetime. Season’s come and go like the flame of a single match. Even Jesus had to let go of his season…”

    What I needed to heard today. EVEN JESUS HAD TO LET GO OF HIS SEASON… WOW! Never thought about it like that. THANK YOU! Know the Lord is wrapping His mighty hands around you and your precious wife as you prepare to head to GA! Great MOVE- Literally!!!

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