It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
Earlier I shared, in this Catch, how almost daily I go help Marti’s fellow leader with Women of Vision care for her ailing husband. A big tennis fan, for the last two days she has been relocating herself and her husband to their second home near Indian Wells, California, so she can attend the BNP Paribas Open. It’s no small feat moving her husband, and his accompanying medical equipment which includes a couple large items necessitating renting a pickup truck. So yesterday, I drove the pickup out to the desert, and on the way back, I brought their housekeeper, Maria, back home. That drive turned out to be a real treat.
Maria is a Mexican born, naturalized U.S. citizen who has nothing to fear because of her citizenship, but she has many friends here from Mexico without papers who live every day with the fear of deportation. These people are amazingly resilient and have learned to take each day as it comes. Some of them even joke about it. They will survive.
Then the subject of religion came up, and that’s when things got very interesting and personal. When she found out I was an ordained minister, a number of questions came up as to what was right and wrong with the church. The ensuing conversation that took up the second hour of a two-hour drive was enlightening and liberating.
Here’s the gist of that conversation: The things that bothered her about the church were things that are indeed biblically bothersome about any church. In other words, she was right to a fault. Yet as she related these things to me with much timidity, she told me she was under fire from all of her friends at church, and some of the clergy, for feeling this way. They all kept telling her she was wrong. And as far as I could tell from her telling of this story, she was the only one in her circle who felt this way.
As you can imagine, our conversation was quite cathartic. Here she was getting confirmation for her beliefs from an authority, backed up by scripture. Needless to say, it was freeing to her Spirit. Which leads to another important thing I noticed: At every juncture, the things that were bothering her were extra-biblical beliefs and traditions that were holding people in bondage, and the truths of her convictions were setting her free. What a joy it was to show her that all of her hunches were confirmed by scripture!
So what should she do with this information? Well she probably shouldn’t take on the church, at least from the standpoint that she is probably not going to overrule hundreds of years of tradition. And she probably won’t want to leave the church either. For her and her family, the church is more than church; it’s their extended family and their social life. But she should be careful not to let anyone take her freedom away, as Paul said, “keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” And she also needs to be looking for others who might be seeing the same things, and encourage them with the truth she is finding. In other words, look for those who are longing to be set free, and set them free with the truth. It’s a quiet kind of revolution that may spread to where it could influence the whole church, but that will be God’s doing, and it will be from the inside out. Just like Grace Turned Outward.
So everyone, welcome Maria, our new Catch member!