A well-meaning pastor-friend recently encouraged me to come to the local pastor’s association meeting which I used to attend regularly (many years ago). He said, “We need a house church guy.” (Whatever that is). And then he commented, “You are still one of us.”
Hmmm… “one of us.”
One of who? Oh, yeah, the special ones. The ministry-called ones. The ones just slightly better than others.
I am not sharing this to slam my pastor-friend, but rather to point out that this subtle religious pride is so deeply engrained in most of us that it’s difficult to wash out.
“I go to such-and-such church.”
“I’m into house church.”
“Organic church is my thing.”
“Christians who are sold out should be living the way I’m trying to live (more prayer-ful, more involved with supernatural encounters, holier, etc, etc).”
It’s so difficult to see that in our human frailty we often seek to exalt ourselves with a subtle self-righteousness and that this is the real issue. Religious pride. It does not go away just because I decide to avoid church buildings or become an organic disciplemaker. The tendency is still there—at least from my own experience.
After all, pride is pride is pride. And the problem with religious pride is that it’s more difficult to see in ourselves.
Let me just offer a prayer from A.W. Tozer for myself and anyone else willing to step into it:
“Make me ambitious to please Thee even if as a result I must sink into obscurity and my name be forgotten as a dream.”
I think the calling to live as irreligious Jesus-followers is the willingness to be used by God from the place of utmost obscurity. This, in fact, may be at the heart of the real Jesus-revolution we seek.