I spend so much timeThose are lyrics from a song from the 80's by Billy Idol, Eyes Without A Face. I'm intentionally ripping those lyrics out of the context of the song because they speak to me in another context that others will probably relate to in one way or another.
Believing all the lies
To keep the dream alive
In this case the lies I'm thinking about are those of legalism and religion and the 'dream' I'm referring to, whether consciously realized or not, is the delusional and fruitless fantasy of self-preservation. I'm thinking of the lies that are preached and taught - and believed - to keep the dream alive of having people remain allegiant to any given church or ministry. Those who preach these lies end up believing them themselves, and it's all rooted in the protection and preservation of "their" ministry, "their" church, "their" institution, "their" cause. Manipulative lies are taught about "tithing, "hierarchy," "covering," "church membership," "behavior modification" (performance-based acceptance), etc, in order to keep the masses loyal to a certain leader or ministry.
Two thousand years ago, the Pharisees were a prime example of this, being hard nosed about keeping people strictly under God's law, and even adding myriads of additional rules, laws, interpretations and traditions on top of it all. And of course during the past 20 centuries, this has moved into the church setting. I fully understand that sometimes these legalistic lies are taught because the teachers and preachers honestly don't know any better, and are simply teaching what they themselves have been taught. But I'm talking about those who are caught in the very tangled web of self-interest and self-preservation, who purposely teach manipulative lies in order to "keep the dream alive," with the dream being the success and growth of whatever system or institution they've created and built.
This is also true in many other areas of life, such as in household situations and other family matters and relationships, finances, jobs and vocations, social activities and so on. Whatever the case, the pursuit of self-preservation is very often the root of the legalistic and religious lies that keep people in bondage and keep them from experiencing the freedom for which Christ has set them free.
Not one to remain stuck only on criticism of the system, I offer up a solution or two to all of this, and I look for input from others as well! My main focus would be to keep on remembering that we were bought with a price, and that we are not "our own." Our "ministries" are not our ministries. They are the work that God Himself is doing in and through us for the good of everyone, not for our own individual self-preservation and self-centered success and prosperity. God didn't "purchase" us so that He could keep us in chains but so that we'd be free! This is also our "ministry" to one another. It's not about building "a ministry." It's not about coming up with ways (lies and manipulation) to keep people faithful to US so that OUR dreams stay alive. It's about building one another up (edifying) and ministering to (serving) one another!
Any thoughts? (including additional criticisms, solutions)?