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An article by a fellow seeker

Stepping Outside the “Safe Zone” of Christianity

August 10, 2013 at 6:02am

A word of caution: This article will probably not go down well if you are a traditional Christian – proceed at your own risk.

The main reason why the majority of modern day Christians participate in the “Christian” lifestyle (go to church, attend cell groups, devote themselves to becoming more committed for God, regularly read the Bible, tithe, submit to the vision of their Pastor, etc) and believe the things that “Christians” do (Jesus died to save us from Hell, the Bible is totally 100% error free, “praise and worship” means to sing fast and slow songs for God, Christians need to commit to a local church, etc) is because they were either brought up that way or at some point were influenced by “Christians” who were brought up that way. Sure, many people have learned to fall in love with this way of “living for God” (or they have convinced themselves they enjoy this type of lifestyle), but think about it: Would you be “living the Christian life” the way you did if your parents or friends or somebody did not influence you or bring you up this way? How would you even have known that a modern day Christian gathering is supposed to contain a sermon, the singing of some fast and slow songs and dropping some money in an offering plate, if you didn’t learn about it at church?

There is only a handful who ever dare to step outside the“safe zone” of going to church, who read other religious books than the Bible,who speak to people from other religions to find out why they believe what they do (without trying to convert them) and who question the traditional understanding of the cross and the atonement (that Jesus died to quench the Father’s blood lust). The reason for this is two fold:

1) In Christian culture it’s frowned upon to ask too many unnerving questions that challenge the norm. This is also usually construed as being rebellious, so people prefer to rather walk around with doubts and suspicions in their minds for years (sometimes decades) because they are too afraid to ask. After a few years these questions usually have a way of sinking to the bottom of life’s worries, so it becomes easier and easier to suppress them.

2) There are usually no like minded people around to bounce our “weird” ideas off, since we are taught to surround ourselves with people who are “safe” and who will build us up, not mislead us. So we tend to “stick to what we know” rather than search out the truth that’s beckoning us from a distance.

There are even less of us who have gathered up the courage to venture so far into unknown territory (when it comes to our faith) that it almost starts feeling we are beginning to question everything the church has taught us about God, and even the existence of God Himself. Only the adventurous few who have taken the journey down the proverbial “rabbit hole”can describe the sensation of nearly beginning to lose sight of God, when suddenly they feel that mighty pluck of love jerking them back to reality, accompanied by an indescribable assurance of being unconditionally accepted. “It was never about how tightly I could hold on to Him – He had me firmly gripped all along!”

When this happens it is sometimes misunderstood by people to mean that it’s time to stop exploring and that God is somehow becoming insecure about all our “digging”. Those who still press on even further (now with a renewed sense of being utterly accepted by God, no matter what), continue their pursuit of truth with a bubbling sense of wonder and awe. The handful who reach this phase in their journey become fearless and nearly impossible to offend. They develop a deep appreciation for the world, for the wonders that God created outside the “Christian box” and most of all: a love for people of all religions, cultures and nations. They become totally “unplugged” from the system of man-made religion.

There is no doctrine, cult or power that can scare them anymore, because they carry within themselves the revelation of love, of having the DNA of God gushing through their veins; the knowledge of an inescapable unity with God. They have learned that they can never outrun Him and that even there, in their exploration of unfamiliar territory (even territory that was previously deemed as dangerous, anti-Christ and profane) He is still smiling on them, urging them on, encouraging them to seek out the“why’s” and the “how’s” and the “what if’s”.

Very often the rabbit hole leads them to the realization that God is not to blame for many things the Bible holds Him responsible for. Their conviction of God’s unchanging love for mankind is stronger than their belief in what the Bible accuses Him of. While the majority of Christianity are still trying to squeeze God into the Bible (because of the belief that everything written in the Bible is infallible), trying to continually make sense of all those countless verses that seem to contradict God’s nature and debating with others whose interpretation differs from their own, the unplugged ones are at ease with who they believe God is, trusting their in-built truth detector more than man’s interpretation of an ancient set of Jewish writings.

Those who choose to remain inside the “safe zone” never get to experience the thrills and also the perils of the wild personally; they prefer chewing on the succulent food that the zoo keepers keep throwing into their pen. Mostly, whenever those who are roaming in the wild beckon them to step outside of their zoo cage (the door has been standing open all along), they view it as an attempt to deceive them. They have grown in love with the zookeepers so much that they have forgotten they were never actually meant to spend their life inside a cage.

Sometimes people who never had an intimate relationship with God also embark on the journey of leaving the “safe zone”. Those who never knew the joy of standing blameless before their Creator, but always had their bliss robbed by insecurities and pressures to perform, often get lost when tumbling down the rabbit hole. There is no desire for them to return to the arms of the God who always demanded more from them. The rabbit hole, as unfamiliar as itmay be, is sometimes a preferred alternative to an angry God. The truth has always been there, since the beginning, but “Christianity” has discouraged and convinced its adherents not to look for it.

There’s a whole world of wonders out there to explore beyond the borders of “Christian Country”. There is nowhere we can go or nothing we can do to escape God’s love. That’s not to say to throw all caution and wisdom in the wind, but why not live a little? Why not ask yourself: “What if there’s more to God than what the church has taught me? What if God is much bigger than what has been recorded in the Bible? What if Jesus never came to save us from Hell, but to save us from the idea of Hell?” Start asking yourself why you hold so dearly onto your beliefs and why you get so angry when people challenge your beloved Bible and the practices and doctrines of the church. Ask yourself why you keep on going through the motions when God never required these “motions”from Adam and Eve – He only wanted THEM.

Happy exploring!

André van der Merwe


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