We been here before!
“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labour or spin..." Luke 12.27
Reading the testimonies of those whose convictions have led them out of church and into a more free-wheeling situation where they may or may not identify with other seekers or de-constructionists, I am struck by a sense of irony. In rejecting what they have experienced through following Jesus in church, they are mirroring Jesus' own experience in being rejected by the religious establishment of his day: 1st century Judaism.
Jesus' appearances in the Temple and in local synagogues are rare and contentious in comparison to what becomes his natural environment on the highways and byways of Galilee, with occasional forays further afield, and in the homes of friends and family and those he meets along the way. Indeed the original church, which gathered in the immediate aftermath of Jesus' resurrection and ascension, deliberately eschewed public buildings and showy rituals in order to meet privately. The intention was not to be secretive but to allow disciples, in the wider sense of that term, to relate on equal terms in defiance of the social norms of a class-ridden and misogynistic society.
There seems to be a natural human instinct to squeeze the life out of anything fresh in order to formalise, contain and control it. Recently books have been written about re-wilding the church. Re-wilding is controversial and so applying that term to church may not be helpful. On the other hand, perhaps trying to reintroduce spontaneity. liberty and equality into church is itself controversial?