Christians Reinventing Themselves

I recently received word that a local Pastor who is publicly quite critical of me, recently wrote,

“Someone mentioned Shawn McCraney to me a few days ago, and I said, “It’s about time for Shawn to reinvent himself again.”

And then he posted an update on our latest iteration in the faith which is frankly not a reinvention at all!  The assumption of his comment, however, was quite clear – reinventing oneself is looked down upon in the faith to the point that those who do are someone seen as inferior to those believers who never change from what they see as truth.  The pastor who penned and published this comment oversees a church in the State of Utah that revers the Ancient Paths of religious history and he naturally extol what he sincerely believes is a godly virtue in the character of being a disciple of Christ – unchangeableness.

I can’t help but believe that this view is but a by-product of religiously minded people thinking that the principles of the faith are absolutely static, unmoving and that every tenet of truth historically held ought to be rigidly accepted once and never challenged again.  If I am correct in this assumption, then it seems that those who adhere to such nonsense seem to sincerely believe that they are following in the footsteps of a God who also never changes or reinvents Himself and that this is the natural call on all who truly love and seek Him.  Further inspection of scripture suggests something very different and I would like to post three rebuttals to what is, in my estimation, and insidious mindset.

The first response I have in the face of the view that Christians ought to never change or reinvent themselves is to ask, “Does anyone on earth know everything?”  Of course the answer is no and therefore the conclusion is, “then everyone lacking total knowledge has room to change or reinvent themselves.  That’s right, even in the faith.  Where I once had the traditional notion that the Nation of Israel was, from its establishment through to the arrival of its promised Messiah was honorable and unitedly devoted to God, recent historical revelations, combined with new insights from the sacred text prove otherwise.  In the face of this information, I shifted in my view of them and their purpose and changed, just slightly from my former assessment of everything including the circumstance and setting of Yeshua the Messiah coming to offer them salvation.

The trouble with creating a faith that does not move with newly acquired information is it values “tradition” over newly discovered facts – which is why my first rejection of static Christianity over dynamic stands as follows: human beings are not omniscient and that very fact tacitly suggests that we are in a constant state of mental, emotional, physical and yes, spiritual flux.  Any individual, government, religion, or corporation that claims to “know everything,” is misled in their certainty.  All living creations have an indeterminate need to constantly change as a result.

The second resistance I offer against static Christianity is the fact that scripture repeatedly speaks to the fault of immature Christians failing to mature.  Spiritual maturity comes when people choose to put away former (inferior or short-sighted) notions and move on to better things.  This cannot happen if and when a believer is unwilling to let go of former ideas and to embrace the new.  In the Book of Hebrews chapter 5 the writer stridently accuses his audience of failing to mature.  He brings up the name, Melchizedek and says,

Hebrews 5:11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

After making a case for the need for change and maturity, chapter 6 of Hebrews opens up with,

Hebrews 6:1-3 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.

Now, it is obvious that the writer is NOT suggesting that the immature believers leave the principles of the doctrine of Christ in the dust and to forget about it, but there is a call to “go on to perfection.”  That demands changing oneself.   Even reinventing oneself.  I mean, if Paul says that he “dies daily” (which suggests that he also, “rises daily,”) we have to admit that change, reinvention, growth and maturity are, in fact, the call on the life of every believer and not stasis.  The scripture is replete with words and phrases that speak to the principle including,

“Milk before meat”

“Babes in Christ”

“Roots and branches”

“Putting off and putting on”

The third, final and most impressive resistance to static Christianity is tied to what governs the lives of believers today – the Holy Spirit.  Yeshua plainly said to Nicodemus in John chapter 3:8, saying,

“The wind blows where it wants, and you hear the sound thereof, but cannot tell where it comes from or goes, so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

That last line, “so is everyone that is born of the Spirit,” literally means that those who are moved by the power of the Spirit move according to it and its directives – we change, we redirect our forward motion and momentum NOT according to our will but the dictates of the Spirit.  Religious tradition says,

“Here.  Now. Repeatedly.  Unquestionably.  Without variation. Rotely.  Now repeat.”

The Spirit, however, in the life of an believer, says,

“Go where I say.  Change plans.  Alter courses.  Edit views.  Reinvent your flesh by my controlling influence.   Nobody and no-thing can direct where you go or what you do – that is in my power.”

No, the traditions of Man are always calling for individuals and groups to conform to what has been established and to adhere and promote such without variation.  When we think about it, this “fixed-northern star” approach to the faith is from the minds of human beings wanting to control the thoughts, beliefs and movements of people through traditions, culture and dogmatic doctrine and practices.

We suggest that every believer ought to be reinventing themselves by the power of the Holy Spirt, new information and the need to humbly accept new views as new truths unfold.

Shawn McCraney
Shawn McCraney
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