Why I’m a Churchless Christian

The Letter

Many Christians are like trees surviving in a greenhouse rather than thriving in the jungle.  They fear the sun and real outdoors, even though plants are healthier and happier in the sun. Transplanting from the greenhouse to the jungle is not easy. It requires two things:

1. Take initiative: one needs heavy doses of self-motivation,assuming personal responsibility, walking with Jesus rather than riding a pastor’s back as he walks with Jesus, and not expecting to be spoon fed every Sunday morning.

2. Learning crisis: time and a transitional season of hardship are normal.

Every improvement has a short period where productivity dips. When you begin to use newer, better software, you get less done while you are learning. Afterward, however, you are much more effective because 1. your tools are better and 2. you know more and have more skill. This transitional period is often called a “learning crisis”.

Leaving the comfort/lazy zone of being spoon-fed every Sunday morning causes a “learning crisis”. A learning crisis is an indication that things are good, but one must continue to take initiative for the learning crisis to lead to success, prosperity, and victory.

There are five lies about this learning crisis that keep Christians weak and dependent on the system of weekly Churchianity:

Lie 1. All hardship indicates bad choices: There is a false teaching floating around Christian circles about this. Christians believe that winter is a. not beneficial and b. can and should be avoided by obeying God. In the Health-Wealth community, this means always being healthy and having money and being happy every day. The Evangelical community does not apply this to money and health, but will tend to apply it to emotions. Almost all Christians who attend Sunday morning “spoon-feeding sessions” apply this anti-winter myth to the lie to the “greenhouse crutch” of Sunday morning. They claim that, if you have hardship, it indicates that you need more Churchianity. But they never mention that almost everyone has hardship, whether they attend Sunday morning or not. The truth is that winter makes tree roots grow deep. Half of a tree’s annual growth takes place during the winter. That growth is not always apparent because the tree has no leaves during the winter. But this growth makes the tree strong so the leaves can withstand the pleasant winds of summer.

Lie 2. We must protect ourselves from Christians who fail: This is the idea that Christians who make bad decisions should be “avoided” and “we should protect our children from them” rather than forgiving and embracing them. If we view ourselves as constantly weak and “always about to be the victim” then we will remain weak victims. The truth is, if we view ourselves as the solution to helping other people through informal Christian fellowship, then we will help others solve their problems.

Lie 3. A crutch does not cause weakness: If a child never tries to stand up and walk without a stroller, then he will never learn to walk. Leaving the spoon-feeding sessions of Sunday morning is like leaving the stroller to learn to walk. While “Churchianity” attendees understand that we can’t learn to ride a bike if we don’t drop the training wheels, they believe that this truth does not apply to Sunday morning. The truth remains, however, that weekly spoon-feeding is a crutch that keeps Christians weak. Then, Christians don’t take personal responsibility for not growing in Christ, but blame their lack of growth on “not getting enough spoon-feeding and entertainment” on Sunday morning. “Excessive help” is crippling. It is possible to “help” someone to death. This is, arguably, the approach of over-sympathetic voices in left-wing American politics.

Lie 4. If someone won’t take personal initiative, it is better to give him a crutch: This is the idea that it is best for mother to “help too much” and smother her children, rather than letting children benefit from the strength of failure. “If my kids won’t learn,” she thinks, “then I will wear myself out, develop a Messiah Complex, pretend to be an ‘Omnipresent Mom’, and bestow success upon my children. Then, when my children fail as ‘momma’s boy adults’, I will deny that my excessive ‘help’ caused this problem and encourage them shift the blame when they always run to me for sympathy.” While some Christians understand the problem of this line of parental thinking, others refuse to accept that they think this way or that it is a problem if they do. The proportions of how many parents do this change from culture to culture and city to city. But nearly all Sunday morning spoon-feeding attendees apply this lie to the expected conduct of “mother church”. These Churchianity attendees believe the lie that, “Since most people don’t take initiative, it is better to have them spoon-fed on Sunday morning and at central-pastor-planned Bible studies during the week. And, we will not view this ‘spoon-feeding’ in our eyes and we will keep making excuses for ourselves and for those who lack personal motivation for why ‘it’s not their fault’ and blame all Christian failures on lack of Sunday morning spoon-feeding participation.”

Lie 5. It is a great crime not to spoon feed someone who refuses to feed himself: The irony of the thinking of Lies 4 and 5 is that most of these Christians vote Republican, based on the idea that personal initiative and failure is good for the economy, but then they can’t apply the same principle to the “smothering mother church” of Sunday morning co-dependency. There are two truths about this. First, the greater crime is people don’t take personal responsibility; the lesser crime is to refuse to spoon feed a blame-shifter—if it is a crime at all. It is not better to allow someone to limp on when it would be better for him to experience the consequences of his greater crime of being a wanderer without personal responsibility. Second, it is more likely that someone will take responsibility if he does not receive too much help from “nannies” like the Sunday morning Christian spoon-fed faith & entertainment.

Personally, I left the Churchianity Sunday morning spoon-feeding dog and pony entertainment show because, in that environment, it was impossible to gain strength in Jesus while leaders were constantly filibustering my fellowship with the Lord. That situation enabled a hostile takeover of my schedule and my time was better spent studying the Bible, praying, sharing the gospel with people who have no exposure to Jesus, and encouraging the laundry list of Christians who are spoon-fed while their greatest challenges remain yet to be overcome. As I have prayed more, studied the Bible more, and engaged people more, my heart has grown bigger and bigger. All of the failures that were said to happen by leaving Sunday morning proved false. I have more informal Christian fellowship, which is much more meaningful for all of us, than the formal meetings offered, concerning both time and quality. Across the board, by every standard of measure, leaving “official, tax-registered, spoon-fed” Churchianity was the best decision I ever made for my growth in Jesus.

So, that brings us to the question: Why am I a “Churchless Christian”?

In one sense, “Churchless Christian” is a passive-aggressive label that power mongers like to slap on success stories like my own. It’s an attempt at character martyrdom. Something more literal happened to Lazarus when the Pharisees had a plot to kill him because they didn’t want proof that Jesus’ resurrection power did not require their religious bondage. Just the same, Jesus resurrected my walk with Him and I didn’t need the religious bondage of brittle, rigid, lifeless systems. So, they’ll call me a “Churchless Christian” in a retaliatory attempt to assassinate my character and reputation. What they don’t realize is that, to those of us who are more concerned with fruit than with useless activities, some are best known by their enemies. Calling me a “Churchless Christian” is a badge of honor in the eyes of the millions of Christians who have also suffered under their useless and heavy chains of weekly attendance. And, martyrs have eternal power from the grave over the establishments that assassinate them. I welcome the label.

In another sense, I am looking for a Christian fellowship that is dedicated to informal pursuit of Jesus. I’m looking for a group of Christians who reject factions and terms like “denominations”. I’m looking for a group of Christians who truly have the truth in their hears, that there is ONLY ONE Body of Christ and that “Church” is not something that can be “left” or “changed” or “attended”—you don’t “attend” your foot, do you? I’m looking for a group of Christians who don’t play power games, who don’t try to fashion leaverage over others. I’m looking for a group of Christians who take personal initiative in their devotional time and Christian service, who encourage the discouraged. I’m looking for a group of Christians whom, to this point, I have not yet found.

Most every Christian I meet can’t talk about Jesus without precious fellowship time parroting the dogma of Sunday morning spoon-feeding co-dependency sessions. They are so busy talking about the need to be dependent on others that they can’t their time with Jesus gains no depth in love, forgiveness, and confidence in Christ.

I love Christians who “attend”. Many of them are my friends. But I’ll never fit in to their organizational structures. One of the many pastor-friends, who battled with me for reasons that remains known only to him, finally made peace: We can smile at each other on the street. We’re less likely to have conflict there. And I’m okay with that. Good things happen in his weekly organization. Does he spoon-feed? Yeah. I’m okay with that too. It’s not that I want to interrupt other Christians who want to be spoon fed. I’d just like permission to eat how I choose.

So, whether in the slanderous or literal sense, I humbly accept the badge of honor and openly acknowledge myself as a “Churchless Christian”. Maybe I am too self-motivated. Maybe the Church isn’t ready to leave the greenhouse. But I am. Maybe my habits could create problems. If it’s all the same, I’m happy standing on the street, smiling as we pass each other. Maybe, one day, there will be no greenhouse. If that day ever comes, I’ll be in the jungle, waiting to help with the painful transition.

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