THERE IS LIFE AFTER EXPULSION
J. Grant Swank, Jr.
Believe me. There really is life after being slaughtered by the religious regime.
There surely is. God sees to it for his faithful servants. Check the Scriptures to discover past survivors' worth before the eternal throne.
When ministering within a denomination, we can become so engrossed in the work that we conclude--unrealistically--that that space is the prime, if perhaps the only, space.
The world "out there" existed before your denomination and it surely would continue to exist even if your denomination were dissolved tonight. Yes yes yes.
Now that ample time has passed since no longer being attached to my previous denomination, I have had plenty of new days to discover fresh venues. They were not always come upon immediately nor without pain. But they were come upon.
Further, when looking back on the denominational entanglements, the obligations, the wasted time in endless meetings and sessions, the countless memos and phone calls and letters and such having passed through the mail and cyberspace, I now see how I have been set free free free!
At the time of severing ties, I did not have the emotion to come upon freedom's sense. There were too many other feelings vying for my attention.
But time--that divine gift for healing--has opened up such a new awareness of soul release. No more this and that from the "church heads." No more bowing and scraping. No more tolerating the religious politicos. No more answering to persons' egos who considered themselves into some sort of power. No more no more no more.
Instead, in the place of all that bureaucratic oppression has come sweet freedom. Sweet sweet freedom.
Freedom to serve Jesus directly. Freedom to work for the kingdom without wasting time in others' agendas. Freedom to preach and teach without impingement from the ecclesiastical system.
Freedom to consider myself-in-Jesus as an entity not having to answer to some denominational profile. Freedom to spread my wings in witness, new friendship building, and seeing through creative ministerial challenges.
There is truly life after leaving "the previous."
Others? Have others experienced this same fresh opportunity for individuality before the Father? Of course.
Start and finish your appraisal of the aforementioned by going again to the Gospels. There stands Jesus--an integral part of His Jewish faith but very much separate from that establishment.
He worshiped in the temple but was not subject to the temple clique. He said His prayers, but frequently on the hilltop. He ministered, but with no obligation whatsoever to the chief priests and scribes. He taught, but without any reporting in to Jerusalem's religious elite. He healed, but
with no checking in with the religious rubric of the higher echelon.
Jesus ministered, not through the system, but in spite of the system. Jesus ministered, not by way of the establishment, but directly by the Father's nudging.
No wonder Jesus could say to His own: "I set you free--indeed." His freedom was self-experienced; then it was related to His own. It was a personal thing with Jesus. He daily lived out His own liberation from the Jewish powers-that-be. His freedom was in being a love slave to Father only. In that also was His pastoral exhilaration.
Likewise, in that is our exhilaration. There is that legitimate high which comes from having daily direct ministerial contact with the One upon the eternal throne.
After all, such is our Protestant championing rally cry, is it not? Then let us who have been set free from the system live out to the full our heritage.
In so doing, we will be in league--surely so, more than we had ever thought possible--with the Savior Himself.