Here’s something the mainstream church has gotten wrong over the centuries: We should never seek to cultivate the approval of outsiders. Granted, I can easily find a lot of church folks echoing that sentiment, but when pastors stop posting resumes, I’ll believe it. The whole idea behind a resume is materialistic worldly thinking. As long as churches assume that spiritual leadership is a professional career, they will never rise to the heritage of the saints. God save us from professional ministry.
Let’s say it again: Even when it comes to evangelism, we should make no pretense of courting favor from those who don’t walk the heart-led life of conviction. We should not give a damn for what those people consider good and right. They do not know Christ and they cannot pretend to understand Christian virtue. This is not spite; this is reality. We pity them for their blindness, but we don’t always express pity. The tone for any conversation with the unfaithful about faith always depends on the context and your personal sense of calling and mission.
The single most important thing you can do for anyone is the thing you should do for the sake of God’s glory and what is consistent with His moral character in Creation. You should always respond according to your divine moral sensibilities. That is always in everyone’s best interest. If you ever stop to think about what kind of response it will provoke, you won’t end up doing what’s right.
I’m not saying don’t be aware of likely responses. Be aware, but never calculate your core decision based on it. Always respond to the cosmic life force burning in your heart, and prepare to face what comes from that choice.
So there is on one level a sense of “we don’t give a shit how you feel.” That’s not the whole explanation of how we interact with others, but it’s in there. On another level, we cannot afford to hide our divine sense of compassion, of sacrificial love. But it’s love based on the presumption of their moral blindness, so it’s love that chooses what’s right for them despite their wishes. It’s not arrogance, but often enough they will think it so. It’s humility before the Lord of glory who made all things. We are willing to sacrifice this life because it is just one massive lie in the first place. We are pouring out His love on these poor lost souls, and if they don’t like it, we will absorb the thrusts of their blind rage and rejection.
And many of us still carry within ourselves a residual instinct to cling to those ways of the Fallen. So it takes some effort to unlearn those things. It’s contrary to the Spirit, and we need to invest some contemplative prayer time in beating back the old ways, nailing our fleshly nature to the Cross afresh every day, every hour. The flesh is hardly eager to accept such discipline. Don’t be surprised by your own internal revulsion rising against this glorious holy way of denying the flesh.
So decide today that you belong to God and His Creation, that you will take the time to hear the celebration of joy from the supposedly “inert” material world around you. I’m not sure I can teach you via these writings to go out and commune with trees, grass, birds and stones, but I can assert that it can and should happen. I can teach you about your heart as a sensory organ with a wide field of perception that registers on the mind only with great difficulty. Not because the mind doesn’t know how, but the mind has been taught not to do that. I can write to you about these things, but it’s between you and God to bring it to life in your soul.
And I can also write to tell you that the fallen world around you will call it, at best, a wild imagination of things that don’t exist. By the same token, I will warn you that you must awaken that wild imagination, because otherwise there’s no place to hang all this truth of God. So open your mind to what’s unseen and difficult to put into words. Don’t fear the labels that typically apply to mysticism and people who rejoice with Creation in the love of God.