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CHURCHIANITY, CHURCHIANICS, THE CHURCHED AND CHURCH – Part 2

CHURCHIANITY

Someone may ask what the heck ‘Churchianity’ is, because it doesn’t seem to appear in any dictionary. But without any clarification, you might already begin to comprehend that this is simply referring to the concept of the church, the whole idea and its attendant issues. By Churchianity, I am referring to the institutional church as we have it today with all its religious activities, its forms, its patterns, its hierarchy and structure, as well as its belief system. I will move forward to declare that Churchianity is what Christianity has become after nearly 2000 years of its founding.  It has become highly fragmented by differences in doctrines all emanating from the same book of faith, as well as divided in the procedures of worship. Many are caught up here and are already neck deep into doctrinal and procedural cultures that have replaced the truth of worship and the true essence of fellowship with God.
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CHURCHIANITY, CHURCHIANICS, THE CHURCHED AND CHURCH – Part 1

church-meetingsAs far back as I can remember, I have been a church boy. I started out being committed to church life by singing in a children’s choir at age 11. Can you imagine that at that age, I sang the bass part at a Methodist Church in Calabar, Nigeria. This laid the foundation for what became my long romance with the church and the mechanisms behind its functioning.  As young as I was, my innocence was characterized by the raw appreciation of the beauty of the church system, and the intricacies of its workings left deep very deep impressions on my tender heart that last to this day. I loved the spirit people put up; the singing, the preaching, the fellowship, and the strife as well.

I eventually ‘progressed’ from an orthodox setting to a liberal Pentecostal assembly, where there was more intense recognition of the spiritual essence of man. I become more conscious of the scriptures and its meaning as explicated by pastors. The former assembly was one with more of designations, form, static routines, programs, and rules, while the latter assembly provided more room for personal expression and a liberal form of doctrinal interpretations. In all, I was well suited to function without complain because I was a church boy, and was fully immersed into the Christian ethics and rhetoric.

From that period I have often swung between these two settings which could range from the very extreme to the very moderate and the very prudish to the most relaxed. I sometimes amaze me by how well I fit into these congregations and adopt their philosophies without complaint. It isn’t a lack of self awareness or the presence of ignorance I think, I just had the capacity to explain away things that weren’t palatable and take on the positives for the sake of peace. I was sure we all knew in part and that as life goes on, we would have a clearer picture of what this is all about. Church was my home, my backing, my comfort, and certainly my joy. The friendship I struck were priceless, the bonds formed irreplaceable, and the opportunities enjoyed are innumerable. My life has changed greatly for the better because of my contact with the church, and I do not regret ever being a ‘churched’ boy.

However, I have come to a point where, like the fading mist of the early morning, things are beginning to really clear up and a more defined picture of what things are and ought to be is presenting itself all so rapidly. A lot more questions have arisen in my heart about the whole idea of church and its purpose. Sometime back, it would have been emotionally or spiritually dangerous to question the idea of the church, as it was infallible in concept and practice. Whatever dropped from the pulpit was the final say to how your life should be designed and what exactly to make of the complexities of life. And truthfully, I have walked in such a culture for a very long time. In fact, being ‘Born Again’ brought its own bouts of new allegiance and loyalties in my journey to understanding the will of God for my life. However, the closer I got to the one who is the centre of attraction, the more there was a dismantling of my belief system that had been built by the church. I admit that some of it was built by my own interpretation of what the church did and said, but what else could I do when others were doing the same?  I simply went with the flow, and it was good for me at the time and I enjoyed every bit of it.

Today, I am presented with a different challenge of understanding the purpose behind everything.  Because anything without a defined purpose is subject to abuse, I have been engaged in thorough appraisal of what I believe and why I believe what I believe. I believe that things personally discovered are things eternally uncovered. So I have been asking myself what I believe and what informs what I believe. Why have I held on to these things and what is it I am willing to let go of if it has no root in the truth. Part of this focuses on what the church really stands for and what was God’s intent for the church. I have found myself often trying to defend the church and its activities without recourse to a better understanding of its history and its ordained purpose. Now that things are different with me and how I think, I am writing to question and expand on the prevailing ideas of church and its role in society. So what is stated by headings below is what I have come to see and understand the church to be.  I will then state what I now understand it should be and how God has designed it to function.


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Understanding

Please don’t take this casually as I want you to read it as though it were an epistle to you. There are many things we laugh and share about, but this is an exception to that. Also I know that you speed read, but this is not what you must speed read, because there is a life form you must encounter herein. You must take your time to read this and do so carefully.

The more I grow, I get to put away childish thoughts about life and what God would have us understand. I am coming to see some deep things about the life we are privileged to live and that there is so much more to it that we cannot begin to imagine the fullness to which we can experience it.

This is what I want to share with you because you are entitled to a wonderful life on earth. A vital truth you must understand is that God is not a respecter of persons. Everyone who cares to go on a search and discover things about God would encounter amazing things and experience an excellent life. Even though two people are married, it’s not a guarantee that they both would have the same God given experiences. So it is possible for a wife to be accessing some truths in God while the husband lags behind. The point is that such spiritual truths that bear directly on our earthly lives cannot be taught exactly. They are only accessed by understanding.

Now what I want for you is to have a great life, without struggling with the hindrances that makes men live unfulfilled lives. You must start asking God questions that border on a stress-free life. This is the life that Jesus came to introduce; the Kingdom life. In that kind of living, He said “Come unto me all ye who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” This is the same rest Paul was trying to explain to the Hebrews in Heb. 4. However many professed Christians would never enter into this rest and cease from their own labour because they lack understanding. So Psalm 82: 6 says “Ye are gods and the children of the most high, but you will die like men.” Why? A lack of understanding.

What therefore is the meaning of “Understanding” in this context? Simply put, IT IS SEEING A THING AS GOD SEES IT. If we fail to see
what God is saying, then we will fall short of His intention for us. Most times we only hear what God says, but we must advance from there to see what he is saying. Sounds like a contradiction? The point is that spiritual issues are always painted in pictures. This is one of the primary reason Jesus spoke a lot in parables, which were spiritual pictures of divine truth to guide us into how to live to the utmost. Many miss it because they are trying to hear Him rather than see His words. Prophet Habbakuk would put it this way “I would stand upon my watch to SEE what He is SAYS to me”. Understanding is the capacity to see what God says; seeing what He is seeing about what He says.

Understanding is achieved by meditation. Meditation is a continuous rumination over God’s word until the picture of the word appears to you. Most people assume meditation is merely thinking about what you just read for a few minutes. This is a fallacy; meditation requires a continuous staying on the word you have received until something tangible breaks forth within you that moves you into practical action. This is why God had to warn Joshua that the book of the law must not depart from him….he must meditate “day and night” and “observe to do”. This is because the land Joshua was going into was a land that could swallow up its inhabitants, just as the world today is swallowing up even the Christians. We already have mostly been lured into the worlds’ way of doing things. But staying on the word by meditation is what brings understanding, and understanding in turn changes the life of a man.

Let me put it more clearly. If you suddenly knew that your dad owned the whole of Walmart or Microsoft, your attitude to life would suddenly change. Many things that were fears would suddenly dissipate. You wouldn’t have to struggle to change your mindset, the fact that you have now seen that your dad is so wealthy is enough reason why you have a sudden change in attitude. This is the same effect that understanding brings. This is why scripture would say: “…in all thy getting get understanding”, Prov. 4:7. I am taking my time to do this exposition because I want you to enjoy the fullness of God. This is my desire for you because I desire it most for myself.

Excerpts from a letter to my wife when we were courting…

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