Caterpillar to Butterfly: Believing & Behaving Is Important – TO – Belong Begins A Relationship Producing Believing and Behaving
From Caterpillar to Cocoon to Butterfly – Part IV
In this series we have been asking the question, “What happens with metamorphosis during the cocoon stage?” How, structurally, do you get a butterfly from what once was a caterpillar? In my Aug. 20, 2011’s blog, I listed 18 forms of transformation that I see occurring inside the cocoon of change. Today we will look at the principle: Believing & Behaving Is Important (caterpillar) – TO – Belong Begins A Relationship Producing Believing And Behaving (butterfly).
Caterpillar: In spite of believing in the Great Commission and an emphasis on evangelism, today’s institutional Church appears to be inward and self-inclusive. It expects “outsiders” to come “in” to their facilities to hear the gospel. When, and if, one comes into their premise, they will hear that group’s beliefs, tenants, and doctrines. There is also a social code: dress, speech, temperance, etc. If you decide to follow their beliefs and practice their code of behavior, their legalistic laws, then the church will invite you to “belong”. “Belonging” is at the end of this practice.
Butterfly: The Great commission’s “go ye into the world” is taken literally as the Church goes out into the culture and influences the culture. You go on the premise that everyone belongs to the club of mankind, so you start from that premise to build a relationship with that person. As the relationship broadens and depends belief systems are exposed and accepted if perceived as genuine or rejected if perceived as being phony. The acceptance of the belief system directly influence the behavior patters. “Belonging” introduced this process, not practice.
The Differences: Under the current Church mentality you have to “earn” your acceptance in order to “belong”. What you believe and how you act is more important than establishing relationships for acceptance. Personally, I know what I believe and how to act, alias “do church”, while developing many “social” relationships, with a lot of hand shaking, verbal greetings, surface smiles, with little deep personally relationships. The metamorphous church “accepts” you “where you are at” in order to begin to build a relationship with you that at first may appear superficial, but as the relationship depends, trust develops, and an openness to one another occurs. Soon, what is important to each other is shared, belief systems, directly influences one’s behaviors. You don’t smoke because of the law, but out of respect of the relationship that has been established. Legalism is opposed by grace.
Implications Today: With the technological advances of the computer age, communications is no longer inclusive. Community is no longer just local, but regional, national, and now world-wide international. Through social networking all you need to do is be “on line” or have “internet accessibility” in order to be part of the world-wide family. Relationships are shallowly established by just communicating, but develop with time. I personally know three married couples who originally met via the internet. Twittering through tweets, texting through smart phones, and Facebooking or MySpacing often introduces relationships on a surface level. Blogging allows “belief systems” to be shared. Texting and emailing allow for more intimate development of relationships. All this eventually leads to actual face to face meetings and friendships.
Conclusion: Insistence of believing doctrinally the same and “doing church” the same way in order to be “acceptance” is not how Paul did his evangelistic endeavors to the Gentiles. Christianity challenged Judahism’s self inclusiveness of being the only people to qualify as “God’s chosen people.” Christianity is all about “relationships” for “while we yet sinners, Jesus died for us.” Martin Luther’s discovery of Justification by Faith revealed that you can not earn your salvation. Jesus “accepted” us as sinners, died for us to mend the broken relationship caused by sin, and left it up to the “sinners” to “accept” him as their savior. Jesus led by relationships, so this metamorphosis is leading the Church back to relationship.