The Freedom Of Uniqueness

Estimated reading time: 3 minute(s)

When religion is characterized by sameness, when faith is franchised, when the genuineness of our experience with God is characterized by its sameness to others’ faith, then the uniqueness of God’s people is dead, and the church is lost.”

I have just begun reading another book at the suggestion of a friend who now resides in Seattle, WA. They told us about it last year, and I am finally getting around to reading it.

The above quote from chapter one caught my eye.

We are currently in Las Vegas, NV, spending some time with friends here, and joining them for a time on their journey to a simpler church. It has been a long one, we joined them about 3 years ago, when they were well into the journey. And it has been so interesting to catch up every year and a half or so. To see how their view of who they are supposed to be as the Church has grown, how it has changed. And we share our insights as well from seeing how God is molding hearts and minds and changing perspectives among his people everywhere.

And one of the most consistent challenges to the freedom of the simple church is the notion that there must be a sameness… a systematic processing of Christian life. The quote from Michael Yaconelli’s book Dangerous Wonder rang quite true in that way.

One of the most common questions for proponents of a simple church way of doing life together with other believers is “How do you control doctrinal truth and moral behavior?” Inherent within that question is a false belief that we ever actually control anything that happens in the Church. 🙂 We know that the head of the church is Jesus, but in our humanness we strive to put systems and safeguards in place so that in case God is perhaps busy elsewhere, there is a means by which we can maintain some sense of order and sameness. A sense of purity and a bedrock of doctrinal truth to stand on.

A friend wrote recently that nearly all heresies or cults actually originated in attempts to control what happened amongst the believers, rather than a freedom to let heresy run rampant.

We think that we are so very important to God’s kingdom. That no one would hear the Good News if we did not work diligently to present it in a culturally relevant way. That people would fall away from the Kingdom if we did not have a regular set of teaching and training and service opportunities and structured fellowship gatherings to keep them on the straight and narrow.

How arrogant. How demeaning. How presumptuous. How condescending.

We are each on an individual journey with God. At very different places in that journey. We did not all get there the same way, we will not all continue on the same path to the end. But we do often get the chance to share that with folks at a similar place. To encourage and be encouraged. To share what Jesus has taught us and to be taught by the unique experiences of others on this journey of faith.

Freedom to experience and understand God is crucial to living the full life that Jesus said he wanted to give us (John 10:10). Conforming to a system only hampers and dulls the vivid, brilliant life that God created us for.

I look forward to sharing more from this book. Check it out at if you are a book lover like us! 🙂

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